The Gaia Walk is the main core and thread to touring and understanding Windgrove. It is a 1.2 kilometer trail through most parts of Windgrove that is a scaled tour of the evolution of life on earth. Each step you take is 500,000 years. It starts 600 million years ago and ends up at “Today”. This post is not an attempt to document the walk. As noted, these posts are a dump of photos taken during my residency and augment the existing extensive photos of Windgrove. However, many of the themes I am trying to visualize hang off of the Gaia Walk. We have to start with it. If you want to understand more, check out the Windgrove website – search for “Gaia Walk” in the search box and peruse the posts in order. Or you can just read the damn sign that starts off the walk….
The Gaia Walk is positioned to start after touring the Peace Garden and the Peace Fire. The Peace Fire was created as an eternal flame for peace on April 6, 2002 and burned continuously for six years. Formally extinguished on April 6, 2008
The walk meanders between overviews of the Southern Ocean or Roaring Beach and dense thickets of recently planted trees. Along the way are numerous benches designed by Peter Adams.
All the while as you walk the trail, wooden markers remind you of where you are in the in the history of life on earth. There are more than a 100 of these markers that let you track the scale of life’s history. In the following case, you are at 215 million years ago and the first mammals have just appeared on earth. This marker is at the location of the Sunset Bench at Sunset Point.
Aviva Reed was commissioned to create 12 panels marking the major periods of life on earth. These were printed on aluminum and are permanently installed along at the path at the correct locations. (More on these in a later post.) Basic trail maintenance involves trimming the relentlessly growing vegetation, vigilance on protecting fenced in areas from animal invasions, and cleaning the illustrated panels.
As you spend the 1-2 hours walking, you can’t dismiss the local flora and fauna -and the roar of the ocean that is undiminished by the noise of cars or air traffic. The sereneness is undisputed.
When you reach contemporary time, there is the Today sculpture, which echoes the Earth and Womb sculpture of the Peace Garden at the beginning of your walk.
And for you nerds out there, here is a map of the Gaia Walk and its two adjoining trails.