Jojo was out of town, and so I headed out alone about 3pm and headed north on Old SR 37. Bean Blossom Creek at Dolan was still quite high, I could not see the bottom at all. I rode on, making good time, and turned on Anderson Rd, riding the easy 3-4 miles to Bean Blossom Rd., where last year we found a yellow lady slipper about this time in May.
I started up the hill, from 630 feet amsl in the valley to 920 feet amsl on the ridge, nearly 300 feet of climb. I usually climb slow but steady, still, I did not spot the somewhat rare yellow ladyslipper where it had been last year. At Forest Road turned right and headed northwest to the ranger station to fill my water bottle and to my surprise found a ladyslipper by the side of the road. I backtracked a few hundred yards to the Tulip Trace Trailhead, there were several cars parked, but no one was on the trail.
I rode the ridgetop eastward and a mile later, after passing a few houses, I was heading downhill. I was at the aptly named Low Gap Road, it peaks about 75 lower than the ridge on either side. I took a picture of a Dryad’s Saddle, and then headed up and east along the trail. I knew there were roads, or at least wide trails all the way to Bear Wallow Hill Road, I had seen them on Google Earth, even with the roadmap layer turned off. I was the only person on the path for most of the the four miles of forest and ridgetop pasture I passed through, though I did see a mom and 2 kids hunting for morels, I don’t know where they came from, there were no cars for miles around.
I followed the edges of the wide pasture, which were unused except by the birds and deer, and eventually found my way to the hard gravel of Bear Wallow Road. I was happy to have gotten back to “civilization”, the gravel road was so smooth and wide compared to the forest road. I headed north down the hill, and ended up in the White River bottoms north of the forested hills. I took a left where Bear Wallow ends on Downey Road. I took Downey over to Low Gap, and headed back into the hills. I videoed C.F. Sheiffer’s sculpture garden as I headed gently up the valley, and before too long I was back at the top of Low Gap at Tulip Tree Trace.
This is a great ride downhill, quiet and peaceful all the way to Anderson Road. I then pedaled back to Old 37, up Firehouse hill, and home to cool brew.
All in all this was great ride. I rode at least 40 miles, climbed 4 big hills, spent about a third of my time deep in the forest, almost got lost, and did not bonk, even at the end. I doubt I averaged over 10 miles/hour, but I just don’t worry about that anymore, my joy comes from being outside and away from civilization for a while, and I only found 2 ticks when I finally got home.