Friday, December 2, 2011

Blue Skies Fill You With Joy - Part 2

Briefly I debated whether to ride the trail at Tims Ford or ride the roads.
The trail is a long out and back and (unlike the base) has no bailout points along the way.
No.............I was not in the mood to try such a big undertaking, or to take on such an extensive time and energy commitment, and decided to ride both the roads around the park and some of the paved trails instead.
I headed briefly down the road and turned right, following the sign leading to the golf course.
It has been a long time since I rode on the paved surfaces at the park and when I looked to my right and then my left and saw that there was lake on both sides of me, I quickly decided that I had made the right decision................
If you click on this picture you will see when it is larger what is not immediately obvious in a picture of this size.
Located behind the tree is the center of the picture is a deer.
I saw many during my ride yesterday while out at Tims.
They are very skittish - ready to run and then bolt for the woods at the briefest of disturbances.
While heading towards the golf course a handful ran across the road directly in front of me, gone before I had even begun the thought of digging my camera out of my jacket pocket.
At one point I saw two deer (one a doe and the other this years fawn) running along the side of the road to my right, barely still in the woods.
They ran along the tree line ahead of me and then the fawn crossed directly in front of me and was quickly lost in the trees.
I stopped riding for a moment waiting for momma to do the same thing but she did not.
I waited for another few minutes and looked deep into the woods on my side of the road for her but did not see her.
Hopefully, surely, they quickly met up with each other again when I decided to move on..............
It had been so long since I rode this way that I could not remember how far of a ride it was to the golf course.
As I was riding I saw a rutted out dirt trail on my right and on the spur of the moment pulled the bike off the road and headed in.
I did not get very far before I stopped, compelled to take a few moments to take in this scene of the lake.
I dropped my bike in the middle of the trail, walked down the steep embankment and stood by the shore greatly enjoying not having to share this moment with anyone else.
Relishing the blueness of the day..............
After climbing back up the embankment I picked up my bike and rode only another short distance before stopping again.
Yesterday I was bought and paid for.  A slave to incredibly calm blue sky and blue water............
My bike leaning up against a tree at the top of the embankment.............
After riding only a short distance I realized that what I was on was in fact a fairly short trail and that I was all too quickly coming to the end of it.
I stopped when I came to this.
The remnants of some unknown structure from the past............
While inspecting my surprising and unexpected find I looked up and my first thought was "well, I guess I found the golf course".
For 15 minutes I had been riding and bushwhacking and picture taking feeling as though I was deep in the woods a million miles away from everyone else in the world.
That feeling quickly faded as I took in the concrete structures and the putting green and then looked over to my left and saw the golf carts.
For a moment I felt extremely disappointed, and had to remind myself that I was in fact wandering around a very small state park located within 10 miles of three different towns in different directions.
I was not at Fall Creek Falls, or the Savage, or Big South Fork or any of the other parks where you really can find isolation and back country.
I sighed inwardly.
And then mounted my bike and headed back down the short trail to again pick up the paved road..................
The road dead-ended at the golf course.
I have seen the sign a million times over the years promoting the fact that this is a Jack Nicklaus designed course.
Which I imagine is a big deal to those who play golf (and golf is a very very popular activity in this part of the country).
I have only played golf twice. 
Rather, I should say that I have only dug a lot of holes in the grass twice and quickly decided that I would rather spend my time searching for white and orange orienteering flags in the woods as opposed to small white balls in the woods.
The clubhouse............
Rather than riding all the way up to the clubhouse, I instead veered onto the grass that circumnavigated the course.
Riding around the outside of one section of the manicured course to one corner I again leaned my bike up against a tree and again bushwhacked down to the water............
I did not spend a lot of time by the water, but instead snapped some pictures, climbed back up the embankment, grabbed my bike and happily headed back the way I had come, all the while greatly enjoying each quiet adventure after another.
Once back close to my starting point I rode a little further before again turning off and heading towards the parks rental cabins.
The last time I was here was...........I don't know how many years ago..........when I was warming up in early December before a six mile organized trail run.
I did the run annually for a few years because it was an event located so close to where I was living at the time and because I loved the simplicity of it.
I was deeply involved in adventure racing at the time and the logistics involved with that sport are awful.
The travel, the time off work, the accommodations, the sheer volume of gear required, the finding team-mates, coordinating schedules, the last minute purchases, the packing and on and on and on.
And that was before you even got to the start line of the race.
In comparison running a six mile trail run only a few miles from my house where I could be home by lunch time and napping by mid afternoon seemed like a breeze.
It was run mostly on paved trails which I did not care about.
And I was the kind of endurance athlete who gets stronger with each passing hour so pushing hard from the onset and then pushing hard for six miles was just not a strength of mine.
As is the case with many female endurance athletes in particular, I felt stronger 18 hours into an adventure race than I did in the first hour.
I ended up volunteering for the December trail run the last few years, preferring to help with it rather than to actually run it.
The last time I was in the area of the cabins was while warming up for one of those runs...............
The view from the back of the cabins...........
As has been the case so often in the past couple of years, looking at this tree I was again reminded of how little I actually know about nature.
An interesting and beautiful tree and I have no idea what it is............
I had stashed my camera deep into a side pocket of my jacket and was getting ready to turn and walk back up to my bike that I had leaned against a post in front of one of the cabins when I heard them.
They abruptly broke the silence I had been walking in and the stillness I had been relishing in inside the recesses of my usually too-fast-moving brain.
I turned to look at them, and when I first saw this beautiful flock of geese they were almost directly overhead and flying in their perfect V.
I made a mad scramble for my camera, eyeing these guys the entire time as I fumbled to turn it on, hoping that I could catch them in flight before they disappeared from sight.
Their V was beginning to break but I did manage a picture of them just in time...............
There are actually two sets of cabins at the park.
The first set is the picture above, and they are located on a point overlooking the water and in a large and wide open space.
The second smaller set of cabins are located adjacent to the first, down a paved side road closer to the boat ramp.
There are fewer cabins, they are located in a beautiful wooded area and they also overlook the water.
If I had my choice I would shoot for a cabin in the woods...............
I missed out on so many pictures of deer but managed to catch this guy who blends so perfectly with his surroundings.
I was riding down the small paved trail looking at the cabins and heading towards the boat ramp when all of sudden I saw him.
Usually these guys are on the run but he was standing very still staring at me, and watching me intently.
Not running.  But very ready to run at the first sign from me of ill intent.
I stopped and looked at him while straddling my bike, smiling inwardly.
As I slowly reached for my camera in my zippered jacket pocket and then slowly climbed off my bike he began to move and I hurriedly snapped this picture before he disappeared.
One more brief interaction with nature.
One more brief, sweet, honest, simple interaction with nature.............
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order............John Burroughs

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