A little atmospheric river last Wednesday morning wasn't going to stop an intrepid band of 14 members of our Piedmont Recreation Department's Walking on Wednesdays group from getting out and enjoying our weekly walk. Piedmont Post columnist Will Adams was also there to talk with us about interesting home designs along the walk. It was raining, but nothing we thought we couldn't handle. The group has a mantra of "we walk rain or shine," but not in thunder and lightning. It is a good thing that we are the "Wednesday Walkers," and not the "Tuesday Walkers" because the day before there had been serious thunder and lightning in Piedmont. Early morning readers of the Piedmont Post read about the damage the recent storms have caused around the city. They learned that the prior day a flash of lightning had blown off the top half of a sequoia tree in the backyard of a home that borders Crocker/Bear Park. The Post article also told of flooding that had turned Witter Field into Witter Lake and other water damage around the city. However, as we assembled, Claudia L and Pricilla W reported they had passed Witter Field on the way to the Exedra and the water had drained. It was back to its usual self, so a walk to Witter was scratched. There was no lightning forecast for the day, and we thought it would be interesting to go see what had happened at Crocker/Bear Park. Off we went, but a quick walk over to see the strong water flow in Bushy Dell Creek at the top of the Piedmont Park was the first thing to do. We quickly came to it and enjoyed the rushing waters. After a few pictures it was off to Crocker/Bear Park.
We went up Highland Avenue to Sheridan and Wildwood Avenues, and then to Crocker Avenue. There we could check out the progress on a new garage that is being added to a home Albert Farr designed in 1906. The wet weather had shut down work, but Will Adams and the walkers were pleased to see there are curved top entrances to the three garage openings that match the Farr-designed arches on the front of the home. From the garage construction it was a short walk up Crocker to the park. As we approached it, we could see the top of the lightning-struck sequoia. When we reached the corner of Hampton Road and entered the park the extent of the damage to the tree was more clearly visible. The top half of the tree was gone, and its trunk had been torn open, exposing about ten feet of the tree's core. The remaining branches looked like they were a very large Charlie Brown Christmas tree. On the ground, just inside the park's wall, were tree chunks that could have filled a fireplace. The tree was badly damaged, and testimony to nature's power, but thankfully no one was hurt. There was light rain, but we were not ready to call it quits for the morning. We continued out of the park and went up to King Avenue. Going up King we noted a home that had been remodeled in a contemporary design. Will Adams provided design comments, and appreciated the use of wood and different levels of depth in the home's exterior that provides visual interest. We continued up to and then down Farragut Avenue, and admired more beautiful homes along the way. At Crocker, we stopped to talk about a Julia Morgan designed home on the corner, and noted the owner has built a new home next door in a similar design that matches Morgan's concept. The rain was still coming down lightly, but we decided not to push our luck any further. We retraced our steps back to town center and the Community Hall parking lot. It had been about an hour, and almost two miles. No one had gotten really wet. We had seen some effects of the strong, recent rains and we had a renewed respect for Mother Nature's power. We will continue to walk, rain or shine, but for sure not in lightning storms.