The “Snakey Path” was a dirt path that ran through an empty lot that was on the East side and behind my (maternal) Grandmother’s house.  The path (and the lot it was in) ran all the way from the end of Hudson Street, parallel to Main Street and through to Borton Avenue in Essexville, Michigan.

As you can see in the map below, a rail line used to run through the lot; but it was pulled up long before I ever graced this planet with my existence.

My understanding was (and still is) that the Snakey Path got its name from the abundance of garter snakes that lived there.

My sister and I had no fear of garter snakes.  In fact, we thought they were very cool.

I am sure the snakes thought we were fucking annoying, and just wanted us to leave them be so they could proceed with their snakey lives.

Because our Grandmother’s house was right next to the Snakey Path, we were very possessive about it.

It was ours.

Sure, you could ride your bike over the path, as a shortcut, but don’t even think about hanging out along the path.

Actually, we weren’t too thrilled about you using the path either.

The path was great.

Dry and smooth, and surrounded by grass and weeds that were mostly taller than you were.  Well, at least, if you were a kid, which we were.

From time to time, we would decide the general public should not be using what was clearly OUR path.

So we would booby-trap it.  Digging “pits” (really more like deep dips) in the path – covering them with sticks and leaves.  Or putting up barricades on either side of the blind turn.

I know this led to at least one bike crash, but I guess it wasn’t that bad because no ambulance was ever called and we didn’t find a body later.  (Yes, we looked.)

It was great because we could either hide in the weeds or sit in our Grandmother’s backyard and wait for mayhem to ensue.

But then we’d get distracted or an adult would find out what we were up to and made us dismantle our traps, and the Snakey Path would go back to being safe to traverse again.

And then we grew up.

And sometime during the 40 years since I left Michigan, it got developed.

Yup.  No more Snakey Path.

Where do kids go now if they want to catch a garter snake?

Or try to kill other kids when they try to ride their bikes through YOUR private wilderness?

It must suck to be a kid now.


This is a very old map (it’s not easy finding an Essexville map pre-development of the Snakey Path) – but red line shows where the Snakey Path was!

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