That is Really Dumb!

The girls and I were taking a walk at Lady Bird Lake when I took this picture. You can’t really see it, but there are cement braces just at water level connecting the vertical beams holding up the bridge. A couple in a canoe had stopped, stepped out onto the brace and pulled the canoe up with them. Then they were hanging out, talking. It was interesting to see them there. looking like they were sitting on water, suspended and defying gravity. They are like Tom Sawyer too, exploring the city and finding adventure, even if it is just to relax under a bridge in the middle of a lake…

This was a good spot to stop and watch the fish. We were under the Lamar bridge, where the trail was right next to the water. We saw minnows, one really big fish and we were looking for a turtle, but hadn’t seen one yet.

I love Lady Bird Lake. I love that the same trails are shared by walkers, bikers and runners, each looking out for the other and sharing the trail. I like seeing couples walking slow, taking time to watch the row boats and canoes, sharing the trail with super-speedy runners who seem to be training for the Olympics. There are babies and high school kids, grown ups and seniors and about a zillion dogs. There is a trail etiquette that may not be written down, but is pretty well understood. Slower traffic to the right. Don’t stop suddenly without looking behind you first. If your two-year-old stops in the middle of the trail and sits down to collect acorns, you need to help her find a spot with acorns to the side of the trail.

So, when I heard “That is Really Dumb!” I assumed the runner, who was whizzing by super fast, was talking to some one else. Maybe a fellow runner was giving him a stock tip and he replied, really loud and fast, “That is Really Dumb!” But the really loud and fast part made me think twice. That would only make sense if he was talking to me.

Really? I thought. Maybe I made you slow down just a bit because my kids are on the trail? Maybe you couldn’t keep your exact super-fast pace because we wanted to stop and see the fish? Hey, buddy! We all share this trail! If you want to train for the Olympics, maybe this isn’t the best place for you!

Later, the girls and were coming back from our walk and going back under the Lamar bridge. I decide to think like a runner while I go down the trail, to see if I can see what the runner was talking about. Hmmmmm… the trail is wide, then gets narrow just before the bridge. And, because of the curved cement supports and the downward slope, there isn’t good visibility for the trail ahead. So, he was merging with other folks and then didn’t see the 2-year-old and the baby in a stroller just feet from the water until he was pretty close.

I don’t like that feeling that I get when I might be wrong. It sucks.

All right. I will have to amend the unwritten etiquette in my head. No stopping under the Lamar bridge. We’ll have to find another place to watch the fish. We know the best place to watch the turtles is across the street at Butler Park. And there is a good place to get close to the water near Twin Gardens, on the north side of the lake. We’ll explore more and find more places, sharing our time with the walkers, bikers and runners along the way.

UPDATE – The Trail Foundation wrote down the etiquette after all, here it is.

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