One of the things about growing up in Canby Park was the nicknames for the various places we would play. Bear Canyon was sort of a crater in the woods near the train tracks. There was a huge rock sitting up at the top on the side. Bear Canyon was a place where we would ride out bikes down one side and of the crate and gather speed to zoom up the other side. If we went fast enough it was possible to get some air when you hit the top of the opposite side. Older kids hung out on the big rock and probably smoked pot.
If you went down the tracks towards Wilmington you would find the Lion's Cage on the west side of the tracks. It was the outlet for the storm sewers from the west side of Wilmington to empty out into the little creek that in turn dumped into the Little Mill Creek which dumped into the Christiana River. The Lion's Cage was a huge concrete box with one open side that had bars. Inside was three small platforms that looked like places a lion trainer would have the lions pose. In fact they were there to break up the flow of storm water in heavy rains. Kids in Canby Park all knew about the Lion's Cage and many of us had made our way through the storm sewers more than once. The storm sewer pipes were about 5 feet in diameter and ran for a long way. There were junctions and places where the sanitary sewer could overflow in the event of heavy rains. Imagine a eleven-year old kid wandering through the sewers. It happened in Canby Park.
Next was Clay Cliffs. They were just a place downstream from the storm sewer outlet where the water flow eroded the hillside revealing the large open face of clay. The water pooled there so it was a place to play in the water and to catch tadpoles, crayfish, minnows, and whatever else was unlucky enough to be found by us kids.
Indian Rock was a place on the Little Mill Creek where there were a bunch of rocks and some fall in the creek that caused the water to flow rather fast. It was a good place to sit and hang out in the woods and also to go into the creek to cool off. I remember more than once sitting in the fast moving water allowing it to flow right over me. One time we walked to the laundry mat on Germay Drive and bought a small box of laundry detergent for 25 cents, took it back to Indian Rocks, and dumped it in causing a huge amount of suds on the downstream side. It was probably not good for the environment but it was pretty exciting for a couple of kids.
If you went downstream from Indian Rocks you hit White Bridge. This was the nickname for the bridge where Maryland Avenue crossed the Little Mill Creek. The creek had some deep spots there and we sued to fish. One time Paul Schofield and I caught a catfish under the bridge. Paul and I also walked down the creek picking up soda and beer cans or bottles looking for eels. For some reason eels used to make their homes in these bits of litter. I don't remember what we ever did with them but I remember dumping out can after can and once in a while we'd find an eel.
Going the other way up the Little Mill Creek there was a deep spot where there were fish called mud suckers. My friend Mark Emory and I caught those and took them to an old man on Seneca Road who used to eat them. I can't remember the guys name.
Those days in the woods at Canby Park were pretty amazing times. Between parents not letting kids run the roads like we did back then and all of the electronics kids have today there is probably nobody doing those things we did. It was a special time and those days will always be a find memory. If I could do it all again I would in a heartbeat.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
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