The difference a trail makes: the area south of the bridge over the Little Elkhart River

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 Every time I ride the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail over the trestle bridge spanning the Little Elkhart River in Middlebury, I’m reminded of how bad the area south of the bridge looked before it was turned into the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. I remember it as something like a dump, and I’m amazed to see how much better it looks today with the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail on the east side and Krider World’s Fair Garden on the west. They make an inviting and pleasing place to visit or ride through. 

I’ve mentioned the transformation of the area south of the bridge to many of my riding companions over the years, but when I looked for a photo of the area to prove my point, I couldn’t find any in my Pumpkinvine picture collection.

Then today while scanning some old Pumpkinvine slides, I found one from 1989 that shows the area. The slide is indexed as “Looking south from Middlebury bridge.” You can also identify the area from two details in the photo. On the near left you see the railing of the bridge, and on the right is the windmill in Krider Garden. The area doesn’t look as junk-filled as I remember it, but keep in mind that it was another six years before the Pumpkinvine was built in this area, so it could have gotten worse in that time. 

It is also important to note that this view of Krider World’s Fair Garden is prior to its renovation. It was not in good shape in 1989. Together the new Garden and Pumpkinvine result in a striking transformation of this Middlebury area.