Less than half a mile south of Princeton’s campus lies the Delaware and Raritan Canal. Stretching dozens of miles through central New Jersey, it serves as an area of respite from the bustle of everyday life.
I have fond memories of my first adventures on the D&R Canal. On my first day at Princeton, I ran 800 meter repeats alongside the canal enclosed between Washington Road and South Harrison Street. Unbeknownst to me, there existed even greater adventures beyond this superficial boundary. The forested pathways that wind alongside Carnegie Lake and end at Kingston Road soon became familiar running trails. And beyond Kingston Road, the canal stretches even farther north, snaking east of Montgomery and ending who knows where.
Princeton is known for its beautiful campus, but it cannot match the natural beauty of the D&R Canal. Gentle waterways accompany the adventurer, as do the ever-changing leaves that sway in the spring and crunch in the autumn. And if one desires company, there is bound to be a fellow nature-lover walking the trails to the north or south.
To me, the D&R Canal represents freedom and calm. It’s both a training ground and a refuge, not to mention a place where serendipity is no stranger.