Every Street in Town

I came up with an idea one day when my Dumb Filter was on the fritz — to walk every street in Cary. I knew in advance it would be dull, but it was something to do in winter when the forest preserves are buried in snow.

I hit a few areas last year, but I walked the vast majority of the town in the first three months of this year. I didn’t plan it out very well. I covered the neighborhoods closer to my house first and then had to walk many of those same streets over and over again as I made my way to and from more far-lying areas. It’s 3.2 miles as the crow flies from my house to the furthest spot, but the shortest path to that same spot on roads is 4.3 miles — which means that I had to walk 8.6 miles just to get there and back. But of course, I didn’t just walk there, then turn around and walk back — I strolled through the subdivisions near there while I was in the neighborhood.

Cary is in yellow. I walked all the streets marked in red.

By now you’re probably asking yourself, “Why didn’t he just drive across town and park and then walk the immediate area?”

Because that would have been cheating, that’s why. There are rules, you know.

  1. Every street had to be walked in its entirety.
  2. Every walk had to begin and end at my house.
  3. In had to circle every cul-de-sac (literally “bottom of the bag”)  so that I reached a point where I was closer to each individual house than to any other.
  4. On dead ends, I had to touch the curb (or snow pile) at the far end.
  5. You know those little bubbles on the sides of streets where they cram three or four houses into the space of two? I’m not sure what they’re called — I refer to them as goiters. I had to walk into and around them also.

In other words, I was thorough. My most frustrating moment occurred on the day I walked all the way west to Route 31 and hiked along the shoulder for a mile, then got home and looked at the map, only to realize I should have hiked for a mile and a half. I went back another day and walked the rest.

Looking back on the final stretch (yet another ticky-tacky subdivision) just after I completed it.

I read somewhere that there are 84 or 86 miles of roads in Cary. With all my backtracking down dead ends and repeating closer streets , I’m guessing I walked about 300 miles total. My “adventure” included separate walks of 15.5, 13.9 and 12.8 miles. There were four or five other hikes in the 8-10 mile range and a bunch in the 5-6 mile range.

I took this panorama from the spot furthest from my house, looking back at Cary. That’s Route 31 on the left and the Fox Trails subdivision in the right distance. There are no signs here, so I’m not sure exactly where Cary stops. I only know it’s somewhere in this photo. You can click to enlarge it.

Was it fun? Not really.

Am I glad I did it? … Let me get back to you on that one.

But I did it, and how many people can say that?

I decided early on to watch for those extraordinary things that make Cary Cary. I decided to pick the best of the best and share them with you. So for the next several days, I’ll be sharing with you The Cary Awards.

Can I have the envelope please …

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