The Mianus River (that’s My-ANNE-Us, by the way) is not a mighty stream. Few people outside of southwest Connecticut and a handful of towns in neighboring New York will have heard of it, unless perhaps from crossing its estuary in Greenwich on Interstate 95. The river is only 20 miles long. Even so, when I thought about making it the subject of last month’s “Taking a Hike”, I imagined several walks spread out along its length. In the end, I took two, and really only had space to write about one – Mianus River Gorge Preserve .
I will certainly revisit the Preserve. It’s a pity it has now closed for the winter. I suppose I could enter anyway. What would stop me? Well, shame, I suppose; shame at ignoring the wishes of the stewards of the gorge because my own needs are more important. This brings me to my second walk, the one at Mianus River Park, six miles south of the gorge as the crow flies.
At the entrance to the park, the sign pictured to the right was posted. As I walked, two things struck me about the dogs at Mianus River Park. First, they were everywhere. I was one of a few pooch-less walkers. I met a guy with a mountain bike, and felt like saying “Heh, man, you’ve lost your dog”. One woman – no exaggeration – must have been walking a dozen dogs. The second thing I noticed was that almost none of these dogs were leashed. I assume their owners either do not accept the reasons listed on the sign, or do not care about them. If it were otherwise, they would have been shame-faced when I met them. They were far from it.
I feel conflicted about dogs and trails. On the one hand, I like dogs and I like the idea of their running free (the only dog I ever had, 40 years ago, certainly did at times). On the other hand, dogs affect hikers and they affect nature, especially when present in such numbers; and the numbers seem only to grow. A subject to come back to.