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Travels With Nellie: Tierra Verde Lake Park

I've decided to add a new series to the blog, "Travels With Nellie" "Nellie" as in "Bly." As in, we go on adventures together. Nellie is a type of walker called an "upright rollator." I have a collection of central nervous system issues that leave me prone to falling. And, walking while continually trying to not look drunk can be exhausting. So, over the past twenty years as my symptoms have increased, I've used a variety of assistive devices. Nellie's the best of the lot. (Forearm crutches, aka. "The Mighty Sticks of Power", kept me from falling but were tiring to use. Trek poles -- no name, alas -- were less tiring, but not study enough. Nellie is, as Goldilocks would say, just right.)

"Travels With Nellie" will be about places to go walking with a rollator. Or, with a walker, stroller, wheelchair, scooter, crutches and/or picnic. Or, just for the heck of it. I'll be talking about spots mostly in the Phoenix, Arizona area, but if my travels take me farther afield, you'll be the first to know.


Today, I had a wonderful walk at Tierra Verde Lake Park in Litchfield Park. Litchfield Park is full of history. Paul Litchfield, an executive with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, founded the town in

1916 as an operations center for Goodyear and its workers. Much of the surrounding area was used to grow cotton for the manufacture of products especially needed during the two World Wars. And, yes, I do sometimes see the Goodyear Blimp fly by from my home about eight miles to the north.


The area features a beautiful, sprawling resort called The Wigwam. When it was first built, it was just far less luxurious housing for Goodyear's executives. Now, it's a haphazard collection of buildings and modifications from different eras and is a wonderful place for a staycation or an intimate dinner. I attended a seminar there once. In order to get to the meeting room, we had to travel down a hallway with several turns, detour through a bar, scoot down a narrow aisle past some tables and eventually emerge next to an entrance by the pool. Yes, the layout makes no sense, but that's part of the charm. You just can't rush in those surroundings.

Tierra Verde Lake Park is in the center of town. A 6/10th-mile path around the lake shares the view with nicely integrated houses and condos. Walking past people's patios reminded me of linear bike trails I rode back in the 1990s. The slower pace allows you to pick up details otherwise missed. Today's walk included getting up close and personal with one "neighbor's" hibiscus bushes in full bloom and a magnolia tree at least 70 years old. If you visit and would also like some traditional desert in your day, Kiwanis Desert Park a block to the south features some impressive boulders and mature cacti. All opportunities for a pleasant -- and accessible -- stroll.


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