Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hiking is swell in East Shreveport: try the Coates Bluff Nature Trail, which connects Montessori, Stoner Elem and Magnet High from 'behind' their campuses

Coates Bluff Nature Trail is Shreveport's newest hiking path. It skirts the bottom that was once the head of Bayou Pierre. On one side of the path, which is dotted with flouresecent tape markers, is a tree-covered high bluff. On the other side is a bayou bottom, some of it a pretty waterway and some of it dry.

In hiking it on Dec 26 we found solitude, appealing woods, varied trees and undergrowth, good markers and enough of a challenge to feel we were on an adventure.

We parked at Montessori School for Shreveport, followed the well-trod land beside the bayou until we got to the easily-spotted box of maps on a tree labeled Please Take One. We continued in the lee of the bluff almost one mile til we noticed a well-used path up the hillside, which had gotten lower. At the top o that small rise we saw Valencia Park, Magnet High and, in the near distance, the VA Hospital.

We entered the Valencia/Magnet field through a gate in the chain-link fence and walked to the Valencia Community Garden. There we saw greens being tended by gardeners under the tutelage of Deborah Coleman and Grace Peterson.

On our return we noticed a tombstone; there are historic cemeteries in the Coates Bluff/Olive St area that need rehabilitation. We hiked under and over tree trunks (there are round abouts, too) on our way back to the waterway that makes Anderson Island an island.

Elapsed time for the relaxed hike was about 50 minutes.

Members of A Better Shreveport are planning to hike the path - mid-afternoon - with trail founder, Jon Soul, on New Year's Eve. If you would like to join us, please see the A Better Shreveport blog for finalized arrangements. Or simply go and hike at your leisure.

It is an inspirational bit of terrain and an easy way to check in with Mother Nature. Highly recommended for those children, too.

See photos here.
And a 2-min video here.

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