Scenes from the Rail Trail: April 20, 2014

It was a gorgeous day today–sun shining, birds singing, temperature finally warming–so my boyfriend and I decided to leave our long sleeves at home, get on our bikes and hit the Rail Trail. Since this was recreational riding and not my usual bike commute which by definition requires that I have to exit the trail and get to work, we went the entire length of the trail, a full twenty mile round trip. Woot!

I’m so glad I brought my camera.

The area is finally starting to wake up from winter. There’s still more brown and gray than green in lots of areas, but the grass is coming back up and buds are poking out. Flowers are blooming. Birds are back. And the light…oh, it’s strong and yummy. The light around here really can be extraordinary. When I would drive to the job that I hated (that shall remain nameless), I consoled myself that I would at least get to watch the pearly pink morning light play along the hillsides as I drove. Anything that keeps you from deciding to hit a telephone pole to prevent going to work, know what I mean? So glad I left that place. Moving on.

So. Today, along the Rail Trail. Here we go.

Hello, rolling hills of central PA.

Hello, rolling hills and old, gentle mountains of central PA.

You want barns and rustic-type buildings? I got barns and rustic-type buildings.

Serene, by the water. Sigh.

Serene, by the water. Sigh.

Here’s a squat little shed I always feast my eyes on when I ride past. I think it’s owned by the family that runs the local buggy repair shop. Buggy. Repair. Shop. Because that’s where I live.

I think they keep mini-Amish people in there.

Home to all manner of buggy parts, I suppose.

Meanwhile on the same property, someone is getting their greenhouses up and running. I love the ghostly fade of the flower pots under plastic.

Some body snatchers are being grown there, perhaps.

Suspicious. Think they’re growing some body snatchers in there? #aliens #knewit

And, cows, if you just go upstairs, all the food you could ever hope for will be yours.

HAY! HAY! HAY!   Ohhh, I crack myself up.

HAY! HAY! HAY!
Ohhh, I crack myself up. And, probably, only me.

And in a perfect blend of non-rustic and rustic…  I get a bizarre kick that it looks like the slide is sliding right into the buggy. Like, play nice, kids, or we’re sending you straight back to the 1800s, without supper!

Buggy, meet modern play set. Play set, meet buggy. Go.

Buggy, meet modern play set. Play set, meet buggy. Go warp time.

You can also see all kinds of birds. This banded fella is the ominously named killdeer. I felt relatively safe being around it, as there is nothing deer-like about me. By the looks of him he’s all small and delicate, but looks can be deceiving, no?

I LOVE MURDER (so long as what I murder is deer).

I LOVE MURDER (so long as what I murder is deer).

Today, I also saw the less ominous-sounding, amusingly named white-breasted nuthatch which, on some level, could be a euphemism for the house I grew up in (you know I love you, family, and please still invite me to things).

He's got to be hatching a nut somewhere near by.

He’s got to be hatching a nut somewhere near by.

Truth: if anyone asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing with my spare time, my answer wouldn’t have ventured anywhere near, “Riding a bike, photographing birds.” Damned weirdo life.

It’s a little bit like this.

IMG_0215-001

Which way do we go, George?

But man…the journey’s unexpected side paths are what keeps it all interesting.

IMG_0210-001

We go that-a-way.

And I often feel like no blog post of mine is complete without a moment of total nerdery, so…

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”    — JRR TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

Which is, of course, awesome. And not a shabby way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Advertisements

Scenes from the Rail Trail: April 2, 2014

Yesterday was the first day I was able to bike-commute this season (for the record, yours truly ain’t no cold-weather biker) and all I have to say is…YAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!  I enjoyed my ride to work (and home) so much I even dreamed happy dreams of it when I went to bed last night. That is a totally true story.

The hardest part for me in my quest to get to work along the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail is in the actual moving forward. Not because I have problems riding my bike but rather, because it is so damn pretty. I have a hard time not hopping off my bike every ten feet to take another picture and look at another gorgeous eyeload full of central PA scenery. Everything was fresh and muddily, wetly new. Some flowers were out, and some bushes and such were still in their gray and bare winter tatters, with the occasional bud peeking out from under things. With that in mind, less talky! More looky! Welcome to Scenes from the Rail Trail–2014!

This guy was there to greet me almost as soon as I got on the trail. Could be vaguely creepy…cue the spooky organ music in my head!

Welcome. Mwah ha ha ha ha!

Welcome. Mwah ha ha ha ha!

How about a little winter aconite (or eranthis, if you prefer?) to brighten up your early spring ride?

IMG_0003-001

Hey there, one of the first blossoms of spring. Lookin’ good!

Meanwhile, down the road a piece…

Did they photoshop their farm into the landscape just to make sure it looked photogenically perfect, before building?

Did they photoshop their farm into the landscape just to make sure it looked photogenically perfect, before building?

See what I mean about wanting to stop every ten feet? I’m telling you, this is with considerable “I have to get to work” restraint exercised.

Soon-to-be parents get ready with a snug new mud nest.

IMG_0007-001

Welcome home, kid.

While fences do make good neighbors, they also make for interesting shadows when the light is right.

IMG_0010-001

I’m not really sure why this stretch of fence is here, except to provide for fun photo ops. Thanks, random fence builder people!

Thanks to everyone who responded to a previous post (and on Facebook), I now know that this is an exploded milkweed pod. Which looks golden and awesome, glinting in the morning sun.

Is that Medusa's face I see..?  Whew! Nope, just the weird milkweed husk.

Is that Medusa’s face I see..? Whew! Nope, just the weird milkweed husk.

And finally…we begin with birds, we end with birds. Robin Redbreast is ready for his closeup, Mr. DeMille.

Damn paparazzi.

Damn paparazzi.

So yay! A return to warmer weather and fun on the Trail! Can’t wait to see what else there is to see there.

Scenes from the Rail Trail: October 20, 2013

In the interests of full disclosure, this particular post looks beyond the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, mainly because I rode my bike elsewhere, and so, elsewhere is from whence the pictures came.  While the Rail Trail is great–and I mean great, I love that I get to commute to work that way–it’s still just one route, and as I am getting more confident on my bike I’m looking for different paths to ride, different sights to see.  Still within the greater Lewisburg area, of course, because I haven’t yet reached the point where I’m all, “Honey, let’s get a bike rack for the car, hit the road and pedal our way around new and exotic lands.”

Never say never.  But I’m just not there yet.

Anyway.

This past Sunday was beeee-yooo-tiful.  A little chillier than I’ve ridden in before, perhaps, but gorgeous and sunny.  George and I hopped on our bikes and were out into the world.

A hilly world.

We live in the middle of lots and lots of hills.

Like this one.

This was a long, loooong climb.

This was a long, loooong climb.

Don’t think for a minute that I didn’t want a nap as soon as I got to the top of this hill.  But then I was rewarded.  I got to feast my eyes on this

Corn. Who knew?

Corn. Who knew?

And this

Pheasant Ridge Road. Looking all...ridgey.

Pheasant Ridge Road. Looking all…ridgey.

And I got to meet this li’l guy.

Does anyone else see this and immediately cycle through all the grasshopper's lines from "A Bug's Life"? Or is it just me?

Does anyone else see this and immediately cycle through all the grasshopper’s lines from “A Bug’s Life”? Or is it just me?

Down the road a piece, we came across this

Set designers were hard at work that day, giving me photo-ops.

Set designers were hard at work that day, giving me photo-ops.

And this

Cornflowers + willow + pond = totally scenic spot for a rest.

Cornflowers + willow + pond = totally scenic spot for a rest.

Before going here

Ever forward!

Ever forward!

And back to the Rail Trail.

Which had its own set of beauteous charms. Like this…furry…white…whatsitsface plant.

I have no idea what this is called. Anybody? Anyone?

I have no idea what this is called. Anybody? Anyone?

I don’t know what it is but I sure think it’s pretty!

This is my favorite corn field along the Rail Trail.  Don’t know why.  Just love to feast my eyes upon it.

IMG_0042-001

It’s so picturesque but yet, it’s begging for a horror movie to be made in it, no?

And then

Fuzzy thingies!

Fuzzy thingies!

Or

Ooh, menacing clouds!

Ooh, gloomy clouds!

And then there’s…ummmmm…

I have no idea what these are.

I have no idea what these are.

In all seriousness, if anyone wants to school me on what plant is what, I’m happy to learn.

And finally…

A picture of a few late-season black walnuts, hanging on to their tree.  The Green-Hulled Menace of the Rail Trail.  Because really, when they fall from their branches and whack you right on the arm, they frigging hurt.

I want to wrap this tree in caution tape. But that would ruin the photo. :)

I want to wrap this tree in caution tape. But that would ruin the photo. 🙂

Yes, it’s true.  I really like it here.

Scenes from the Rail Trail: October 6, 2013

While I’ve normally only ridden the Rail Trail as far as work–which is about 12 miles round-trip–today, I totally went for it, going the extra 4 miles to the end of the trail and then back.   So, if the maths work like they’re supposed to, that means I just successfully completed a 20 mile bike ride, which is the first time ever I’ve ridden that far.

Feeling slightly badass.  But ow.  But still.  🙂  Woot!

Speaking of “ow”, I have to say that while I’m really enjoying my bike I’ve endured some bizarro injuries I never expected to have.  Last week, a bug flew like it was targeting me, directly into my eyeball.  Which, you know. Pain!  Plus it’s just weird.  And then today?  I was absolutely walloped by a falling black walnut.  They’re surprisingly dense, and it hit with some serious impact.  Welt, bruise, the whole nine.  I developed a whole new appreciation for that Wizard of Ozapple-hurling scene.  Those walnut thingies hurt!

I confess, I don’t mind having a reason to think of The Wizard of Oz.  Only one of the greatest movies ever and I would love to have a flying monkey of my very own. Anyhow.

Occasionally, during my dazzling feats of athleticism, I stopped to take pictures.  It’s extraordinarily beautiful around here so I submit that I had no choice; judge me if you must.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See you ’round the trail!

No more posts.