Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Awesome View of 408 Spur on I-20

December 3, 2015
By Saeed Qureshi
Those motorists who take a detour from I-20 to 408 spur must bear me out that a wondrous spectacle of captivating natural scenery opens up before the eyes. The green and salubrious hillock around which the exit spur road circulates is a treat to the eyes of the beholders.

The thick forest starts at the end of the detour link road branching off from I-20 and extends on to the both sides of the 408 spur as if it is a part of the Switzerland hilly slopes. Mythically one may say that this forest could have been the abode of the proverbial gods that used to reside in inaccessible valleys and mountains. On the higher altitude both sides of the spur are laden with thick forest studded with tall pine trees.

As an ardent lover of nature I am immensely fascinated and rather captivated by the serene beauty of this unique valley. This spur that winds through a breathtaking beautiful valley is not very long. Yet it offers a natural phenomenon on both sides that enlivens the soul and uplifts the subdued spirits.

The slopes on the mountains are studded with trees that are very old and must be treated as relics and preserved. The trees in wild jungles decay on their own and are reborn and the same process is taking place here. But this reminds one how in the past this short strip would have been replete with eye-catching and wondrous facets of the virgin nature. This forest adds to the grandeur of this natural resort.
While ascending you may look towards the right side and you will see a valley as charming as it is mysterious. Surrounded by the thick cluster of tall trees there is a lake down below with sparkling water like a glittering jewel. This is a different lake from the spacious lake that covers large on area on the eastern periphery of the city of Grand Prairie and over which more than a mile long bridge links the Baptist University with the city of Grand Prairie and joins with the 408 spur. This road in Pioneer Parkway and is also called 303 spur.

The landscape down below around the lake and surroundings is simply panoramic. Near the lake there is a small naval complex that might have been operational in the past or may be is still functional for maritime purposes. And there is a huge and imposing complex of the Dallas Baptist University that too adds to the majesty of the valley. The Pioneer Parkway runs through the naval complex and the university compound. Also situated nearby is the National Cemetery.

After dusk when you are descending to join the I-20 Highway, you would witness yet another mesmeric panorama. A sea of lights interspersed on a vast land of Arlington and Grand Prairie dazzles the eyes of the motorists.One would wonder if these sprawling cities could be the most lighted and glittering in the entire state of Texas or even the whole of the United States. 

This spectacle keeps commuters so engaged that for a while one tends to forget that he or she was driving on a winding road ascending and descending both the ways. One may come across one or two odd forlorn coyotes in search of food. There might be other animals in the forest and the wildlife department should preserve these animals from being killed by the speeding vehicles or die of hunger.

Alas the serene and virgin beauty of this wonderful two or three long stretch of the spur better be called a valley, has fallen victim to the prying eyes of the real estate builders. During the past few years the chaste beauty of this valley has been sullied and woefully tarnished by construction of two eyesore complexes. One is an apartment complex and the other is a church building both built by denuding a part of the thick forest. These look ugly spots on the fair landscape of this charming valley. But I would wish these buildings were not there.

There is a lurid possibility that in due course, more commercial buildings might emerge on both sides of the 408 Spur and thus this three miles segment of a natural resort would lose its serenity and beauty. The commercial lust and greed is swallowing this delightful eye treat for the travelers.
City fathers must do something urgent to save this valley as a natural heritage and further construction should be banned along the spur in order to retain its natural and pristine beauty.

The portion of the spur that turns into loop 12 is now dotted with commercial buildings, gas station and apartment complex. In the past this tract too must have had a forest on both sides of the Loop 12 and as green and unspoiled as a part of the 408 spur now is. 

There are still one or two ranches or farm houses on the 408 spur where farming is being done even now by some left out residents.  This gives one a feeling that this place should have been a farmers’ village in the near or in the distant past.

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