Paula Steele 
Member since Jul 17, 2012


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Re: “My Search for the Secret

I am a 47 year Mom, photographer, and I have a curious teenage son, who along with his equally curious teenage cousin who was visiting here from Indiana, bugged me until I gave in and drove them out to Niles Canyon, "in search of the infamous Secret Sidewalk." I used my detective skills, yes, I was once a highly trained public servant, but it only took reading your story, and driving out to my old neighborhood (I once owned a home off Mission and Mowry) and followed the signs to Old Canyon Road. Once there, we drove to the dead end, parked legally, ducked easily through the hole in the fence, ignoring any and all signs, incurring no interruptions nor altercations of any kind with neighbors, home owners or well, anyone for the better half of our day trip. We used a perfectly good trail, did not climb up any steep hills or jump through any hoops whatsoever. We eventually came upon a fork in the road, and took the left fork of the road, the one that just looked nicer, and I, being the photographer and ex-cop, deemed it the right one, the safer one!! Within a bit, we happened upon two male travelers, hobo types, friendly and minding their own business, looking for a campsite, and at that point, we looked to our left, we saw a sign along the railroad tracks that said Dresser, and we looked to our right, we saw a rather vacant looking area, except for piles of bricks, and that apparently is where the old brick factory once was. I took some cool pictures out there. If you then walk to the very back of these brick mounds, you will find the RR tracks again, continue towards the RR track tunnel that has graffiti on it, and to your left, in between the tunnel and where you came out from the brick area, is a small trail, we had to hop over a small stream, and bam, you run up this thin trail, and you at at the very end of the SECRET SIDEWALK!! Nirvana! It is pretty cool once you reach it, because this is what you set out looking for, and then you find it. Turns out, that trail we followed, the tracks we once on, the entire time, the secret sidewalk was above us!! We figured this out on our way back, because as we looked down, we saw milestones that we had passed on the trail below us. Still, it was so peaceful up on the secret sidewalk. No one was there today. We passed a homeless encampment far below us. I took a lot of photos, mostly of the two teens, and then of the surrounding environment. I love the bridge with all the graffiti. Great for photos, just don't fall. It was a very different view of Niles Canyon, of Fremont, that is for sure! However, when we got to the end, that was it, we hit a serious dead end. That's when you heard the dogs barking above, and the homeowners making noise. I was left to jump down an 8" wall. I managed that. It was the 20" mountainside I had to navigate down that I did not manage so well. I slid, fell to my bum very hard, slammed my right elbow to the ground and slid in rock and dirt for some distance, trying with all my might to conceal and cover my camera, which is my livelihood, from any damage. I was in so much pain and unable to conceal my tears from the boys. It took a bit to compose myself. But heck, I'm old, and I don't do pain well, not with my disabilities. Still, I'm glad I had the experience. It wasn't some hippie thing for me, more of a photographic journey, and to do something cool with two teenage boys.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Paula Steele on 07/17/2012 at 5:19 PM

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