Highland Park and Mt Hope Cemetery BONUS HIKE on Saturday 7/5/2014
Well, … given scheduled as a BONUS HIKE and on a holiday weekend in summer, given that the hike was a Saturday and not a Sunday, and given among some S/T hikers arising family gatherings, recovering from injury, car problems, and being pulled in other directions, and given some folks may not care for Shakespeare … probably a reasonable turnout for the Saturday 7/5 BONUS HIKE at Highland Park & Mt Hope Cemetery with a picnic after-hike social and optional viewing of Shakespeare in the Park production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ….
Our headcount was 8: 7 hikers in two hike groups and accompanied by 5 well-behaved leashed dogs; 8 headcount at social; 7 headcount and 5 doggie count for the Shakespeare production.
The shorter hike group spent lots of cemetery time, and less Highland Park time, and did a lot of viewing of epitaphs and cemetery arbor and scenery appreciating as well.
The longer hike group stayed exclusively in Highland Park, lots of arboretum observing, reached two separate overlooks, one northward to the city (the view very substantially occluded this time of year due to deciduous tree foliage) and another area overlooking southward from the vantage point of the summit where the Children’s Pavilion was situate until being razed in 1963. Also observed some of the last Iris in bloom at the Iris Friendship Garden, varied other blooming plants along the way including a few lilac trees (not bushes), and a walk thru the Poet’s Garden. And continuing on took in the scenes at the “sunken garden” at Warner Castle, as well as a brief street walk/exterior home tour of Reservoir Ave including the former home of one S/T hiker.
The social held in Highland Park in view of Reservoir Ave and hiker’s cars as well as with partial view of Highland Park Bowl, found no shortage of food or variety, as is our norm, with our culinary prowess in the group coming thru once again. Main course, pulled pork which received warm reception (pun intended), as did our other fare. Some hikers provided multiple pot-luck fare to our bounty. Tables for food provided by our esteemed Hike Assistant, and all brought our own chairs for comfort.
Shakespeare followed, … and we all had benefit of chairs, as well as some myriad blankets, coats, & pants on a slightly cooler than seasonable day & evening, … truly all experienced “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” being it was neither hot, nor muggy, nor buggy”. And, all 5 of our accompanying furry friends were on good behavior.
In discussion at intermission and afterward, were some additional thoughts spurred for a future hike. One idea being, a similar 4PM hike in a subsequent year, only this time a three hour hike (instead of just two hours), with the social held in Highland Park Bowl proper at 7PM, and allowing us to socialize and enjoy fine food and libation as the Shakespeare production starts. Then come time for intermission, back to the cars go the food and tables. And then following the end of Shakespeare back to the cars go the chairs, blankets, etc, and the hikers head for home. A three hour hike lends more time to see more of the area, and there is much to see at Highland Park & Mt Hope Cemetery.
Other possibilities, … 1) a Spring hike on the Sunday immediately preceding Lilac Festival before droves of festival goers trample the grounds at Highland Park (perhaps best as a hike if the year seems to be an early Spring season), 2) an Autumn hike in November on the first Sunday of Regular Big Game (gun) hunting season, for appreciation of fall foliage colors which hang on longer in the city that in rural areas and to provide a hiking locale away from the vollies of firearms wielded in the arms of deer hunters. If foliage has fallen, so much the better view. 3) Further possibilities for Autumn hiking season on that first Sunday of Regular Big Game (gun) hunting season would be Genesee Valley Park which would be about 1-2 miles or so shorter drive than Highland Park although lacking the elevation in Highland Park, or Cobbs Hill Park (containing another city water reservoir) which has hills and vista points. All these are about 20-25 miles as the crow flies from Hemlock Lake.