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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Berry Scouting

I took Lil Blue out for a spin along the Snoqualmie River Trail, Duvall to Carnation.

It was super early to beat the heat and I pretty much had the trail to myself.  The air was almost chilly to start

Along the way I noted the bounty of Blackberry, always present in areas like this.

I think it is going to be a banner year.  Many berries already dark and needing just another week of hot sunny day to convert those sugars and loosen up.  The forecast is for a good solid week of no rain, so first pick should be next weekend.

After first pick, which will go into flavored vodka making, there will be waves and waves of berries to come on.  Today I note plenty of green and red berries, enough to make a long season

Birds were everywhere and Robins lead the way.  They gorge on these berries and I saw some evidence that Coyote were here about as well.

Peter Rabbit was plotting his attack on the bounty too.  Cottontails dashed and darted across the trail.

I peddled into Carnation and stopped for a decaf (aren't I wild ) before beginning the five miles back.  Along the way I could feel that point where the rising sun had burned off enough fog and it was the start of another warm day.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Meet Little Blue

A new toy and option for getting out and about.

This is Little Blue, a Dahon Vitesse folding bike.  Seven speed weighs slightly less than 30 lbs.

They say you never forget how to ride a bike.  I have not ridden since I was a kid, when I use to ride everywhere on my 1 speed, coaster break bike.  Aside from a brief ride on a bike at the beach, nothing.  But it does appeal to me in a somewhat limited way.  I am not full of the courage that road bikers have, nor the athletic ability of those mountain bikers.  No for me a paved bike path is just my speed.

I took my first ride today.  Part of the fun is figuring our where to adjust the seat and handle bar height to.  Next is how to sit in the saddle.  I am a horsewoman and have sat in many saddles, good and bad.  This one is going to take some getting use to.  Finding where the sweet spot is will take time.  There is always an option to try a different type.

I drove to Woodinville, the town north of me and headed south on the Sammamish Slough trail, back to Redmond.  I was going to head north but my neighbor encouraged me to try the southbound track first.

It is a pretty trail down the valley.  There are several truck farms and small properties on one side of the slough, the other side is more light industrial and there is a large golf course.  Most of the way, these are hidden behind trees and shrubs.

The trail is popular and I really wished I had a sign on my back saying Olde Fart Beginner.  The speedsters race up from behind (on left on left) and the joggers and strollers are always present.  I made several stops on my way south to enjoy seeing and hearing birds

There was a large encampment at the soccer fields.  Tents, cars from all over the western US and shouts and yells.  I thought at first a soccer tournament, but as I got close I saw that they were throwing Frisbees.   I asked one woman " Frisbee soccer?"  She was a bit aghasted that I did not know "Ultimate Frisbee"

The whole of the area was ringed with tents.  It looks like they are set for a fun, long weekend.

Other people were out having fun.  This looks like a good team building activity.  I could get with this.

I was surprised not to see kayaks and only these two paddle board riders.

A popular trail gets attention and along the way there were a lot of very nice footbridges and some public art.

So a two hour round trip is under my belt.  My first impression , I would have rather have jumped on a strange young horse.  I felt pretty much out of water.  Like riding a horse, you do better if you keep your eyes up and ahead.  Balance comes to me better when I have something to push against when peddling, so I explored learning the gears and what suits when .  The smaller wheels react pretty quickly to a change of balance and I had one brief panic when a speedster snuck up behind me.

I could feel it in my hands and wrists (numb) and now feel it a little in my shoulder, so conditioning into this is vital.  I raised my handlebar height on the return leg of my ride so I will start out higher next time.

I am hoping Little Blue can come with me and explore some areas not so easily reached on foot or by car. There are some nice trails in eastern Washington that go along old rail beds and get you into some interesting countryside.  There is , of course, the 14 mile trail at Long Beach half of which covers some real gain as you climb up to Cape Disappointment.  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bonjour Swaledale!

While much of the world is busy watching the World Cup, a little corner of England is saying " Bonjour " to the Tour de France.  The first  leg of the race is in Yorkshire running from Leeds to Harrowgate.  They will head north into Yorkshire Dales National Park and be running south down the Swaledale.

During my journey on the Coast to Coast Path last year, this leg through Swaledale was one of my favorite.  Starting with a lovely hike up and over Nine Standards Rigg and a stay at the wonderful Keld Lodge.

The hike down the dale was chosen so I could divert to Muker to visit Swaledale Woolens, where I was forced to buy a hand-knit sweater.


The dale was a lovely and picturesque as you would imagine starting at the ruins of Crackpot Hall

and through fields and across a ton of stiles of all shapes and sizes.  This was the path to Muker.

I ripped my favorite hiking pants on this style, the day-lit gap is not more than 6 inches

Everywhere there were sheep of the most friendly temperament

Here is a map of the course.  I hope it is a lovely day and that I can find a glimpse of the race, simply to relive some of the beauty of what I remember as one of my favorite part of the trail.