Canby Park was a neat place to grow up. We had a park with all of the park things like swings, monkey bars, and see-saws. There was a blackball court and a baseball diamond. The best part however was the woods. The woods had everything a kid could want, trees to climb, train tracks to walk, a great creek, and places with neat names like Indian Rock, the Lions Cage, and Bear Canyon. We lived in the woods during the summer. We would leave in the morning and be gone all day. We built a number of forts. One was an amazing treehouse that was built between four trees in close proximity. It eventually was two stories and had a floor carpeted with rugs found in the trash. The county parks department tore down the treehouse after a while.
We had a number of Tarzan swings on limbs that hung out over hillsides. Because of the falling elevation of the hillside and the arc of the swing we would swing out to dangerous heights. It was something our parents would probably knothole allowed if they saw. I know I would have stopped any small child from swinging out so high. It was just crazy.
We also had an underground fort that was really not much fun. It was a hand dug hole that we built a roof over and covered with leaves and dirt. It was unto build but we really didn't dig down deep enough to make it comfortable. But for a little while we felt like Hogan's Heroes with out secret entrance and underground fort.
There was also the county storm sewer system. We could slip into the storm sewers and walk for a long way underground. The storm sewer eventually connected to the sanitary sewer but there was a separation between the two. We knew the sanitary sewer had poop and stayed out. The place where they connected allowed the sanitary sewer to overflow into the storm system and the local creek during times of heavy rain. We never were down in the storm sewer during those times. The storm sewer dumped into the creek through a place called the Lions Cage. It was a large cement cage that we found our way into. No cage could keep the Canby Park kids out!
Bear Canyon was some sort of man-made hole that had a giant rock near the top and steep walls. Not too steep but steep enough that you would be able to speed down one side on your bicycle and zoom up the other side.
The train tracks ran right through Canby Park woods and they were perfect. There were two tracks, one was the Reading RR and hardly ever used, the other was the B&O's Market Street Branch and saw a train each way daily. A very slow train that was could easily hear coming. Our tracks were perfect. Sometimes if the train was long enough and we were near a curve where the crew could not see us we would hop the train and ride for a little while. Super dangerous and I would never allow a child to do this but it was a different time.
Indian Rocks was a place in the Little Mill Creek that ran through the woods where there were a lot of big rock that the water flowed over. Some said one of them looked like an Indian. We used to like to go in the fast-running water to cool off in the summer. There were also slow parts of the creek where we could fish and catch crayfish, mud-suckers, catfish, and ells. My childhood in the Canby Park wood was the idyllic carefree time of childhood innocence. I'll write more about Canby Park.
It was those childhood days I tried to share with my own children when I took them to various creeks to catch fish, hike in the woods, and walk on the train tracks. Someday I would like to do the same with grandchildren.
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