This was the last weekend of the year, I was hoping to get in some miles, so we left in the early afternoon on Saturday. It was about 35-40 degrees, and we easily warmed up climbing the hill out of Cascades Park to the golf course. We rode Kinser Pike across the highway to Bottom Road. We were heading to Muscatatuck Wildlife Rufuge, about 24 mile out and back, following the Bean Blossom Valley north towards the White River, winding through some of Monroe county’s best farmland.
About halfway up Bottom Road, we were startled to see a big bird sweep across the road in front of us, and as we spotted the white tail and black body, we knew it was immature eagle, as the head was black, not white. It seemed the eagle flew from a perch in a roadside tree, and may have been eyeing a dead squirrel in the road. I threw it into the roadside, eagles shouldn’t have to compete with cars for space.
When we got to the wetlands, we ate some snacks and listened to the various ducks and geese on the ponds, and then suddenly a fully mature bald eagle flew up from wetlands and landed in a tree. We confirmed the sighting with my monocular, and watched him for a while, he flew back to the water, and then back to a tree again, apparently fishing.
On the way back, Jojo spotted 2 more bald eagles across a field they flew up into the trees as we rode by. His eyes are much sharper at a distance, I just could not see them in the trees. We passed the hillside where we spotted a murder of crows on the way out, the hundreds of birds we had seen were now gone. We climbed the hill with no real problems, I think it is easier to climb in cold weather, heat is the biggest problem I have in summer, you just can’t escape it. With the cold you can always peal off a layer, or hat, or gloves and get some relief.
When I started out to the BBC in the morning, the snow was untrammeled as I traveled through the Music School and past the frozen bikes in the racks there. The Old Crescent was still and cold, the squirrels must have been in their nests staying warm. Eileen and I had a late breakfast with Tim and his girlfriend Sarah at the uptown. I went back to the office, and finally got on the road about 4 pm.
With all the snow, I knew I would not be traveling fast, and so decided on the short loop through Cascades and Griffy Parks, which I rode many times when I first started recreational riding in the late 90’s. The roads were wet, and sometimes gritty, but I did not slip once, and quiet snowy hills were really beautiful in the sunset.
Here is an album of photos from the ride.
I sometimes like to ride off-road in the park itself when coming down Cascades Rd., and today was one of those days. I was surprised by the volume of water flowing, the waterfall has been just a trickle for months, but today it was full.
Route: Up Walnut St. to Cascades, down the long hill to old 37 and then up Overlook to Audebon and Old 37 again. Old 37 to Bethel Lane to Headley Rd., Headley through Lake Griffy, up the hill and across the Bypass to Fee Lane. Distance: 10 miles
Nature notes: I saw a large (50 or more) murder of crows flying around the ridgetop, obviously looking for a place to sleep. A small wedge of Canada geese came in and landed on Griffy Lake just after the sun went down. and the sky was a deep blue fading into sunset yellow. Rabbit tracks were everywhere in Cascades, but no other mammal prints were evident.
Here is a pdf
It rained all weekend, no real chance to ride! I turned 60 on Monady, and I wanted to make a long trip to Nashville and back, but no go. So when the rain finally stopped on Monday afternoon I went and rousted Jojo out of his house where he was on the get-ready to put in floor joists. But he agreed to come along for a couple of hours, so we headed west, then south to the Clear Creek trail for some easy riding.
It was cold, mid-30’s and overcast, with everything damp and cool. It was beautiful, and quiet, no one was on the trail, no birds other than crows in the sky. We made it down to the bridge at Church Rd., then we came back north on the cinder path of the old Clear Creek path, got to Winslow Rd. and cut over to Rogers and back to the westside.
We were out about 2 hours, and made about 15 miles, far less than the 40-50 miles I had planned, but we just did not want to miss a week, no matter what the weather, so this will have to do, it was good to be out.
It was in the 30’s today, but we had to get out early as I had a gig in the afternoon. We started at Jojo’s about 9:30am and headed west and then south to the Clear Creek Trail, which we rode to the end at Church Rd. We rode this across 37 where it becomes Fairfax, and rode right to and took it up the hill to Harrell, and from there to Stipp Rd and the lake, then up Schwartz Ridge to old 446 and home.
Though it was cool, we worked up a sweat on the hills. When we stopped at lake, we soon got cold in the wind off the water, but Schwartz Ridge hill soon fixed that. I guess that because of the cool weather, we pretty much hammered for the whole trip, none of our normal lollygagging and rubber-necking mother nature.
We saw a few dozen gulls feeding at the lake and maybe a I heard a hawk. The water was still really low, with wide mudflats where there is usually a couple feet of water.
Distance: 25 miles
Weather: Cool and cloudy