Bay City’s River Walk--Nature's Sanctuary
BC RW sign
Vanessa Grumbley

Do you ever wish you had a sanctuary where you could go and think? My sanctuary is where I can go to get away. It is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful Downtown Bay City and to observe different things. Sometimes I go there to walk, so I can enjoy the striking scenery while I am exercising. Every time I set foot in the place I'm filled with peace and serenity.

BC RW bridge

As I make my way through the Veterans Park south entrance, the "River Walk" sign greets me. There are two paths that fork before me, and the Community Center stares at me as I walk past. I admire the midnight blue of the Saginaw River east of me. The "River Walk" is filled with a plethora of people, causing the park to be busy with walkers and bike riders. Runners breathing heavily and the rumbling sound of roller blades sweep past me. It is a perfect autumn day and the leaves are starting to fall, a chilly reminder that football season and winter will be upon us. I look up at the auburn trees and see the leaves falling. I manage to catch a leaf and admire the vibrant colors of the leaf with its velvet texture. The leaf colors consist of burnt orange, raspberry red, and golden yellow. I smell the leaf and the scent of maple comes to me, bringing back childhood memories.

BC RW duck

I make my way south to the fishing pier, by the Boys and Girls Club, and see people sitting in lawn chairs with their fishing poles waiting for a fish to bite. This is the last warm bite of the season before ice fishing starts. I observe the speed boats on the river going at a fast pace. As the growling quiets, the wake meets the shoreline. The unpleasant smell of the fish from the river and the sugar beet factory fill the air. There are seagulls flying in the sky squawking. A duck is floating in the water, quacking, and I can picture the duck yelling "Aflac," just like the duck in the commercials.

As I continue walking again, I come up to a bench and bend down to read the memorial on it. It reads, "In Memory of Hugh Hanson from Past Employees." I then admire all the different buildings that downtown Bay City has to offer. The buildings I notice most of all are the F.P. Horak Building, Jennison Place Condominiums, the Delta College Planetarium, the Double Tree Hotel, and City Hall. The orange and red Planetarium really sticks out like a sore thumb, and it reminds me of a camp fire.

Suddenly, I am startled by the clock bells from City Hall, which sound like church bells you would hear after a wedding or Sunday mass. Along the path, I notice a two-story white house with paint chipping. It overlooks a garden of all different shades of pink flowers. I approach the house and see that there is an article about it on a stand. I read and find out that in 1837, the house was constructed by the Trombley Brothers, Joseph and Mader. It is Bay County's first wood frame house. The house has been preserved today, much as it looked in the Trombley brothers' time.

BC River

Continuing along the path through the sanctuary, I come across a row of weeping willow trees with branches that hang down, creating a flowing umbrella of shade. Weeping willow trees surround the river banks, and the breeze makes the leaves sway back and fourth.

As I stand next to a unique weeping willow tree, I notice that Independence Bridge is busy, with a number of cars racing over the bridge to get to their destination. When the sun goes down... the mood starts to change; I stand watching the sunset as red and orange fill the sky. With the sun going down comes the coolness of the night time. As the night time approaches, the "River Walk" starts to calm down. People are departing and other people are arriving to enjoy what this sanctuary has to offer at night. I look up at the sky and am in awe of the bright full moon.

The full moon brings a sky plastered with stars. The Big and Little Dipper and Venus are just some of the stars I can see. As I continue watching the stars, I enjoy the calming night breeze. Since the park is quiet and peaceful, I can hear the varsity football game from Central High School. The broadcaster is giving a play-by-play of the game. A loud noise from across the river startles me, and I realize that it is coming from a bar which has a band playing outside. I come to the conclusion that when I come to the "River Walk" I am also getting entertainment for free. I can enjoy the entertainment and still have the serenity that this place has to offer.

The "River Walk" is my calming retreat, where I can acquire peace and tranquility. It is a pleasant place to go and relax. I can go to the park and enjoy myself and the beautiful outdoors. When I set foot in this place, I am getting entertainment and a view of the buildings that Downtown Bay City has. The history that surrounds Bay City is included at the "River Walk, my sanctuary where I go to get away from everything and enjoy the natural world.

The written and visual works in Mid-Michigan Remembers-Stories about Us were chosen on the basis of their quality, diversity, community interest and appeal. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the College. This space is provided as a service by Delta College.