Monday, August 13, 2012

Good Omen For New Trail Section

Monarch (and bonus beetle) on a thistle near newly opened trail section.  Good luck, I think.
The Queen came to visit today on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

The Linn County Trails Association,, announced it on their web site Friday, but I found it by accident this afternoon. Some, though not all, of the newly paved Cedar Valley Nature Trail is open north of Robins.

I recorded my entrance onto the new trail in video, and shot some photos

The trail is obviously “new,” with ditches yet uncovered by vegetation. I imagine the ride will be even more pleasant next summer, but bravo—more paved trail north is a good thing.

While out riding and shooting, I encountered a young woman out jogging with her dog. She stopped and chatted with me for a few minutes, wanting to know if I had passed the 4-mile marker.
Jogger on trail, she stopped to ask me about mile markers.
Maybe my vest was confuing.

I had not, but I think the reason is that the mile markers were probably removed in the trail project, a point I suggested to her. “Oh, we'll call it four miles then,” she said, and jogged off.

I went as far north as the bridges over Otter Creek. I'm not sure how far exactly that is, but I estimate I went a bit more than 6 miles north of Boyson Road (the estimate based on the fact that it took me 35 minutes to get back to Boyson Road, and I cruise along somewhere around 12 miles an hour on a trail).

There were some workers installing part of the railing on the north bridge at Otter Creek, and I decided it was a logical turn-around point.

As I was heading back, I spotted her—no, not the jogger lady, the Queen. She was flitting along the left side of the trail, and I stopped and unslung my camera, only to have her dart off. Not far, fortunately, as she stopped to drink at a thistle on the right side of the trail.

She was a Monarch. I've seen Monarch Butterflies this summer, but not has many as usual. I don't know if changes in their Mexican winter homes or the drought here this year accounts for that, but still, there she was (definitely she, no scent patches on rear wings which would make her a he). I was glad to see her. Seems like a minor good omen for the first ride on a nice new stretch of trail on an unusual cool summer day.
My point of turning around, bridge at Otter Creek.

It was a very unusual day, in this hot, dry summer. It rained overnight, and there was a greenish tint and wetness to this ride which I have not experienced much this year.

The drought has not completely lost it's grip, but at least we're enjoying a break now. May more cool weather and rains be headed our way!

Final, unrelated note—on my way from the trail to MMU, I passed the yield sign at the corner of Maplewood Drive and Wildwood Drive. It's one of the most inexplicable street signs in CR. Headed south on Maplewood, one does not stop or yield. Wildwood Drive, which comes in from the west but ends at the intersection, has a stop sign. So, why, headed north on Maplewood, does one encounter this yield sign? To whom does one yield? Traffic on the cross street coming from the west stops completely. If one were turning left from Maplewood to Wildwood, one would yield to oncoming traffic anyway.

There is a story behind this yield sign. It must mean something. But what?
Yield?  To whom?  Based on where this sign is, it seems to mean nothing.

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