Racing the sunset...again...and losing
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I headed back out to Monday's trail last night. Yes, that was the Union Canal Trail. Thanks for pointing that out. I started out heading toward the city and was very disappointed to find every old building neglected, abused and covered in graffiti. Even the display board explaining what the structures were is so paint covered that it's unreadable.
I continued on to where the trail joined a local surface road and returned to the trail, aiming for a landmark about 5 miles away. It was a very nice ride, except for the rude couple that risked causing a four bicycle, two pedestrian, two canine pileup, just to be first through the chokepoint. Still, it's hard to stay grumpy when the music in your ears is singing "Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy Name". My good mood restored, I continued along my way. It was interesting to see that the low area on the side of the trail (where the stagnant water collected) was what remained of the Union Canal. There remains one old lock. I'm sure it was restored sometime in the last 20 years or so. It doesn't look all that old. Neglected, but not that old.
I continued on, with an eye on the approaching sunset, realizing that there was no way I was going to beat it tonight. I reached my planned turnaround point and realized several things very quickly. First, the trail didn't end there. There will be more adventure on that trail in the future (Thanks Joe). The sun was just sinking below the horizon. Twilight would quickly be giving way to darkness, and I had left my water bottle sitting on my bike carrier. So, hot and thirsty I turned my bike toward the parking lot and rode as quickly as conditions allowed. It wouldn't do to run over a pedesdeian or flip over an exposed root or rock. It wasn't the fastest four miles I've ridden, but it could have been, if caution weren't required. So, 67 minutes after I started, I arrived hot, sweaty and thirsty in the near darkness back at my starting point (having ridden 10 miles along the way), just as the park ranger was beginning his sweep to let people know the trail was closed.
I greeted the rising full moon, let DW know I was on my way and headed home very satisfied with my ride. I'm definitely going to get a light for that bike now, though.