Sunshine Project – Update on Two Participants

Through some interesting circumstances I can give you an update on a couple of sunshines. Or at least I can tell you if they’ve left their locations. I would not have had these particular experiences if it hadn’t been for the Sunshine Project – maybe that’s what I’m trying to say.

Today I decided to go for a run in the Pennypack Wilderness Area, the location for Day 84. I had gone here often before my illness but I haven’t run here for more than two years. After dropping off the sunshine, I couldn’t get the spot out of my mind. The weather was great today, so I decided to try things out.

I started at the sunshine location. This sunshine is gone! But the lost keys are still there, though the gloves are no longer around anymore, either. Made me smile.

Not too long down the trail, I saw a man who I know from the Pennypack Rail Trail in Lorimer Park. Quickly – because there are a lot of Pennypacks around – the Wilderness Area is a private foundation with a rough trail system; the Pennypack Rail Trail is a county trail. The rail trail has an older section in Lorimer Park and a new section that runs along the Pennypack Creek on the bank opposite from the Wilderness Area. There is also some land that is under the township’s jurisdiction. See what I mean about all the Pennypacks? I wonder how they keep it straight. But for those of us on the trails, well, we just enjoy ourselves, no matter where we are. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t follow the geography I mention – all you have to know is I kept on moving along the trails!

Anyway, this man told me the new section of the rail trail had just opened. I had no idea. And I was so excited! We’ve been waiting for this addition. I will have so much to explore!

I will not go into much detail on the new trail except for how it affects the Sunshine Project. I am sure it will be a subject for later. I continued along until I reached one of the bridges leading from nearby roads to the park – there are a couple of substantial stone/concrete car bridges that used to lead to active roads along the creek but now just dead-end into the trail system. This bridge allowed me to cross to the new section of the rail trail.

I ran along the new trail. I passed some park employees who were doing work on one of the former rail bridges on the trail. I stopped and we had a chat about the new trail.

Bridge decking extension rail trail 4-2-15 small

I ran all the way to the Bryn Athyn Post Office, also a site of a sunshine dropoff. Remember that this post office used to be a station on the abandoned rail line – I had not realized the sign from those days still hangs from the former platform area.

Bryn Athyn PO rail sign 4-2-15 small

This sunshine is still in place. it’s been there since January.

You may remember these views – the car bridge crossing the Pennypack Creek, and the post office itself.

I ran all the way to the connection with the older part of the rail trail that comes from Lorimer Park. I think this bridge will get some railings soon and probably a new deck.

I turned around and made my way back. To return to the side I started on, I crossed at a car bridge and I saw some Bryn Athyn College students doing some kind of work along the bank of the creek (I knew who they were because their school van was parked on the bridge!) Remember that I left a sunshine on their campus as well.

Since I was back on the Wilderness side, the trail was much rougher. Not paying attention, I tripped and fell. I came out of it ok, but my running tights had a big hole in the knee. I resolved to keep my mind on my exercise and promptly was diverted by this enormous root ball from an overturned tree right by the trail.

I also noticed the many stone wall remnants – from the various buildings and purposes that this land has been put to over the years. The forsythia arching over the wall in the one section that I noticed, well, I feel that if I came back next week it would be a mass of yellow blooms.

After all this adventure, I made it back to the car in one piece (though not without having splashed a lot of mud on my ruined leggings…). I passed on the information about the new section of the rail trail to a man walking with four kids and a dog – he told me that he ran the trails regularly (without the kids and dog) and we had a nice talk about the trail system until the kids got impatient and I realized that it was lunchtime already!

Thank you, sunshines, for giving me the idea for this outing. I had been afraid to run here for some time – just didn’t feel able to face it – but coming here with the Project gave me the courage to try, and I am so happy that I did.

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About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

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