A Riverwalk to Remember, Pt. I

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Across one of the primary bridges near downtown on the Riverwalk, I found this view on a recent hike. I’ve taken at least one other photo of this particular angle of the Eno from this location, but it was at a different time of day, when the declining sun skewed the exposure on my phone and rendered the river more obscure than it was in person. With the morning sun at my back, this western view of the Eno was much more gratififying to me personally for the level of detail that was preserved on the whole. It should go without saying, however, that I love the Eno at any time of day.

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Before reaching the Exchange Park Bridge (barely visible in the top left background), I stumbled across some swampy bottomland that bordered the edge of the Eno. There wasn’t as much forest in this area because of the proximity to downtown, but it was a pleasant haven from the traffic passing on the bridge not far from where I was. The sun was shining from the southeast and bathing the area in morning light, which produced the halo of light in the top left. Without a word, I stood and soaked in the warmth and beauty of the place before taking this photo and continuing down the path.

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By far the most creative of all the graffiti on the underside of the Exchange Park Bridge is this image of a receding staircase fronted by prison bars which have apparently been broken out of. When I saw this for the first time, I literally stopped in my tracks, momentarily convinced that there had to have been some extremely innovative architects who designed this bridge when it was built in the early twentieth century. On closer inspection, of course, I relieved myself of this misconception. Now, however, I look forward to seeing the underside of the Exchange Park Bridge on my hikes simply because of this graffiti’s mindbending creativity. And when I recently heard a little girl ask, “Daddy, where to do those stairs go?” I couldn’t help but smile. Where do they go indeed?

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East of the Exchange Park Bridge is the Interstate Bridge, which leads from downtown to I-85. (It’s not on the interstate, it simply leads to it.) It’s not nearly as picturesque as the Exchange Bridge, because it was built more recently and hasn’t had time to accumulate the artistic wealth of graffiti.  But of course neither of these structures comes close to rivaling the river which flows beneath them, which is unfortunately littered and polluted in this area due to its proximity to a commercial center. Still, even when it’s straddled by an ugly concrete bridge that has all the character of a plastic grocery bag, the Eno is amazing.

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