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Jessica Art Blog

Hidden Valley

by Bookwyrme , September 23, 2008—01:43 AM

Topics: Bartlett Park, Huntington Beach, trees

For some time now, I have been eying the strange mass of tangled trees and shrubs by the side of the road near our house wondering what they are and why they are locked away behind a battered-looking chain link fence.

Finally, I took the time to walk back behind the strip mall in our neighborhood and found a a tangled mass of trees, grass, and dust that is threatening to haunt me.

Bartlett Park is a strange little place, caught between park, wilderness, and wasteland. Local BMX bikers apparently love it, calling it Hidden Valley and taking some care to pick up the trash and broken glass that is often left lying around there.

Or so I am told.

When I visited with friends this weekend, it was a mess of broken glass and uncollected dog poop. The former made walking difficult, particularly since two of us had unwisely worn sandals. The latter made breathing difficult, particularly since all of us needed to.

And yet.

Yet the park is full of strange, twisted trees that beg to be admired. The brightest dragonflies I have ever seen darted through the grasses, and we heard, though did not see, a number of small birds. These were wisely staying out of sight because there was at least one small bird of prey in the vicinity--falcon or hawk I do not know, never having quite lived up to my resolve to learn bird names.

And yet.

Yet the park was full of people. A small handful of them may have been drunk. The rest were just there to walk, bike, and bird watch.

And yet.

The park is a contradiction, and a wilderness wedged in beside two of Huntington Beach's busiest streets and a strip mall.

I've been trying to learn more about this strange place, said by some to be a birding mecca and by others to be a place of disorder and drunkenness. The city has, on occasion, proposed development, a playground, a golf course, a senior center. It has also been told that there are rare archeological finds down there.

I don't know, myself, what to think (Except, please, not an exclusive, lock everyone out golf course or housing complex!), but I will be watching this new-old find of mine.




  Jessica Greenlee ( homepage )

09/26/2008 * 14:08:16

Hey, that's incredible! Glad you enjoyed the description.

I'm still trying to find out what, if anything, the city has decided to do about the park.



09/25/2008 * 01:33:47

Hey, I can't describe how odd & lovely it is for me to randomly come across your blog entry... I was last in Bartlett Park on November 2nd, 1984, the day that it was dedicated to my uncle Ted Bartlett (my father's uncle, really).

Tonight for some unknown reason I did some searching (which it's never occurred to me to do before), seeing if there was anything came up online with my uncle & Huntington Beach.

I can't believe that you were just at the park yesterday, taking the portrait of that tree, describing your walk in a way that makes me feel like I am there.

Thank you so much! (Now I'm going to go read your post titled 'Serendipity'.)


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