Today, I had another alcohol injection for the neuroma in my foot, which meant I had to miss my carpool to get to the doctors this morning. But that also meant I didn’t have to be restricted to a 45 minute lunch break. Belle Isle, in the James River, is almost a four mile round trip walk, not feasible for 45 minutes. But if one can take a hour and 15 minutes for lunch, and work late to make up the time, it is very feasible to not only do the walk, but spend about 20 minutes sitting on the rocks as the river roars by just feet away. It is my favorite spot in the City of Richmond. I am sure that the men imprisoned here during the Civil War in a horrible and brutal prisoner of war camp would be amazed that people voluntarily come over to the place of their torment and misery. But it is popular with the lunchtime running, walking, and biking crowd.
So I packed my running shoes, a tee-shirt, and spare socks, brought a little pack and my camera, and hit the streets and then the trails around Belle Isle for a little mid-day break from work madness. Sitting on the rocks eating my simple lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a banana, and a pear was like eating in a five star restaurant. It was so beautiful there, and with temperatures in the 70’s and a nice breeze, I had to force myself to return to work for my 1:00 meeting.
Here are some photos from my hike. Although great blue herons, osprey, and an occasional eagle can be seen along this hike, the only wildlife I saw today was a grey squirrel and some Canada geese.
Looking downriver, it is clear that you are near a big city. You can see the Robert E. Lee Bridge with the suspension bridge underneath for pedestrians.
But turn to the left, in the exact same spot, and look upriver, and you could mistakenly think that you are nowhere near civilization. I once brought a friend here, and he could not believe the remote feeling so close to the downtown.
My lunch spot was feet from this rapid, part of the Hollywood Rapids. Talk about a table with a view. Are you jealous?
Across the river is beautiful Hollywood cemetary, one of our traditional last training runs for Team in Training.
This inviting trail makes a loop around the island. Other than needing to get back to work, I could have stayed here all day.
Another view of the wild James River after hiking a little ways up the trail. I think that the James might be the longest river in the United States that is entirely within one state.
This sign reminds us that things were not always so peaceful and beautiful here. This six acre spot on the south end of Belle Isle was once hell on earth for thousands of Federal prisoners during the Civil War. Many hundreds of them never saw home again. The sign says that both sides in the war deliberately mistreated and underfed prisoners to break their will to want to serve in the army again if they were released.