Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An Epic Walk

Frustrated by my failure to get into downtown Madison (the public transportation link between here and there is minimal and set up for people whose bedtime is 8:00pm), I decided to find a way to walk to the Epic headquarters, another nut I am determined to crack.  Consulting my resources (google maps + map my run) I found a different route, and after equiping myself with running shoes and an ipod, I set out Monday evening after dinner.  This route describes a large circle on the perimeter of the housing development, becoming ever more sparsely-housed until I got to "Northern Lights Way" where there was a  walking/bike path and Epic in site at the top of the hill. The bike path appeared to lead straight to Epic.  I had achieved success, I was sure.

The Epic headquarters is an imposing site:  a collection of beautifully designed buildings made of mixed (and expensive) materials, with massive walls of windows, all reflecting the setting sun as I approached. Soon I was level with Epic. The buildings were only a hundred feet away.  I could see its employee's cars leaving the underground car park.  I could not get anywhere near the facility, at least not in a civilized way.   I COULD have waded through a brambly drainage ditch, gotten soaked to the knees and  bitten by something, then hiked across a field and up the staff driveway, blundered into a building where I wasn't allowed, got lost, and  firmly escorted from the premises by security, burrs on my pants, water dripping from my cuffs and leeches adhered to my ankles all the while protesting, "But I'm a trainee!"

I didn't want that to happen so I continued along the trail  and eventually came to the road that leads to the  training building.  A side trail paralleled this road.  Success at last!  It was getting dark but I hurried along the side trail which passed a corn field and the Epic Farm.  The facility was long past me now, but this road loops around and approaches from the south.  And then, disappointment.  The walking trail ended abruptly.  The road had a soft shoulder, just wide enough for a walker, so I continued to follow it, and after a little way I finally entered the Epic grounds.  A sign at the entrance says--I am not making this up--  EPIC INTERGALACTIC HEADQUARTERS. 
(Image stolen from the internets because I neglected to pack my camera cord.)

By now I was clearly trespassing--I wasn't sure how much unsupervised wandering by trainees is tolerated, especially at night--but I continued up the drive. If challenged,  I would say I was from Florida, a trick I learned from my sister, who lives in Florida and has discovered that society doesn't expect much from Floridians thus allowing them to get away with all sorts of naughty behavior.

There was now no shoulder and I could see it would be hopeless to try to walk this way in the morning, with all the hotel shuttles whizzing past.  I was defeated and there wasn't much point in going on, not to mention the fact that I had walked well over three miles and it was now dark.  The trail through the cornfield was decidedly spooky.  It seemed like just the sort of place where one could expect to be abducted by aliens.  And if aliens were going to visit the Earth, wouldn't they choose the Intergalactic Headquarters?  Suddenly I felt faint and dizzy and I remembered I had felt faint earlier that day in the grocery store, and now my walk assumed a new, sinister character.  There was no one around, and really, what could I do but keep walking, which is what I did and the faint feeling left and I got back to my hotel safely. 


  1. So I know this comment may be a little late (just read of your adventures walking to the Epic Campus) but there is a pretty easy way to get there. So, if you take a right off the highway onto Epic Way (or whatever it is)and follow the black top path down a hill then back up, passing the shuttle entrance along the way, you will eventually come to a spot where the black top ends and you have to cross the main road again. Once you cross the road and walk up a small hill, you will be at the back of campus near the employee parking area. From there you can continue straight and will come out near the Andromeda and Heaven buildings. That's the easiest way that I know of. You're probably on your way back to Charlottesville, if not already here, in which case this post is no good. At least not until your next trip. Hope you had fun!

    Northern Lights Rd to the Staff Parking Area.

  2. Thanks Collin! I'm still here (return tomorrow) and I found the way you describe after doing the campus tour, and it's a good thing because I totally missed the shuttle. That Northern Lights trail is a great route for running too.