Sunday, October 2, 2016

In Which We Tour Two Lake Parks

Selfie of one--"Bike Club" ride Sept. 30.

Friday was cloudy and cool. Due to personal illness—I’ve been battling a severe cold that has kept me sub par for more than a week—I wasn’t sure if I would stick around for the Bike Club ride, but Friday, while not exactly feeling well, I felt better than I had for a while.

But, when 4:30 came around, there were no student bikers. Well, it was a cool day, with clouds, and my student biking buddies do tend to be fair weather bikers. So the bike club selfie consisted of a self portrait.

Trail around Cedar Lake Friday was ... open! Extra pond to the right.

I headed over to the Cedar River Trail, and aimed for Cedar Lake. I did not really expect to get there, because the Cedar River reached major flood stage this week, and the lake and its area were under water.

Surprisingly, the trail was open around the lake. You could kind of tell water had been there—the pavement was dry, but had an odd sort of sandy-mud patina on it—fortunately very thin and not wet.

At the north end of the trail—the “low” end—it was much damper, but even here it wasn’t muddy nor difficult to bike.

North end of trail--damper, but still easy to bike.

Well, the flood of 2016 turned out to be less of a deal than expected for this trail. Whew. There are homes and businesses dealing with damage, and among the great sigh Cedar Rapids sending up that this flood wasn’t a 2008 flood, we ought to remember that, too.

Anyway, Saturday we had a little field trip to Ames planned, to visit our son who is a math PhD student at ISU, and to harvest some seeds. He lives in an apartment complex near Lincoln Way, and has quite a stand of common Iowa milkweed growing in a ditch in front of his buillding.

Milkweed pod in ditch in Ames--with passenger. I left him alone--I was only after pods that were starting to split anyway.

This weekend, we decided, based on cell phone images he had texted to his mom, that some was dry enough to harvest. Audrey, my daughter, my grandson and I all piled into our van, loaded on two bikes and took off for Ames. We met Ben, had a satisfying lunch at the Café, rode our bikes around Ada Hayden Heritage Park (or walked, in the daughter’s case, or both rode in a stroller and rode on a bicycle in the grandson’s case) and collected some seeds.

The park is very nice. It belies those who say “prairies are ugly,” which is a line I heard recently, as the drying native grasses and flowers add a quaint beauty to the small lake.

Audrey and Ben (and my bike) on bridge at Ada Hayden Park. Looking across the lake (below). Pretty drying grasses and my daughter finishing her walk (bottom).

I’m not sure, due to location, whether Cedar Lake will ever be this pretty. But, Cedar Lake is what we’ve go in Cedar Rapids, and I’m glad the trail around it wasn’t damaged in the most recent flood.

So Friday and Saturday added up to two cloudy, cool rides around two very satisfying lakes.

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