This Saturday dawned with a blissful five hour preview of Spring.
I was up early and had the house thrown open entirely, every window and every door, before the big hand was on the eight. Around 9:30am, having lounged about the house for a few hours and enjoyed a few cups of coffee, I decided to fire up the compressor and put some air in the bike tires. You know you’ve not been riding your bike enough when every time you want to haul it down and go for a roll you’ve got to inflate the tires. By 10am I was bidding the family farewell, my headphones already on my ears and my helmet in hand. I hit the road with a vague idea of a two hour loop I wanted to do.
I always try to go somewhere new. This morning I rode alongside a large undeveloped ridge northwest of our house. I was riding through neighborhoods and along developed trails, I kept looking at that ridge, all green and full of trees. It was blocked from the subdivisions by a high wall, but I wanted up. I decided to ride the length of the wall. I did this for maybe a mile, not long, and found a way around. Through a No Trespassing sign and around a gate and I was on a dirt access road, obviously intended for future home construction as there were completed drainage systems and buried sewer lines with manholes. Didn’t look like there’d been any work done for quite a while though.
At the top, after one huff and puff of a ride (where, I admit, I hopped off and walked for a while it was so steep), the dirt road followed the ridgeline into the distance. I was rewarded with perfect solitude and some amazing vistas of town, city, lake, and forest. I rode leisurely along the ridge I stopped near a big oak where the view was particularly impressive. That’s when I saw that someone else had been here before me, and had a great idea. They’d built a series of sitting platforms into the oak with castoff wood. There was a crude ladder leading up, and footholds nailed in along the way. I felt like Tom Sawyer, and thanked the resourceful teenagers I imagined laboring on the thing out loud.
I dropped the bike and climbed up to take the perch with the best vantage. I brought my water bottle and my music and just sat there swinging my legs. I sent a few texts to a few friends, sending pictures of my explorations. The ride was so awesome. I saw a turkey and a coyote and “found” a waterfall and the treehouse thing and a charted a whole new awesome loop-ride I can do on another day again. I made it back to the house just a little more than two hours after I’d left. Now I want to go again. Bring Keaton, maybe a sack lunch. A little secret wildnerness (well at least a few acres worth) in the middle of suburbia.
It rained the rest of the weekend. Goodnight.