Bryan, hope you are feeling better....
It was just Jim van Leer and me on this evening's ride. It was my first gravel ride on my new Salsa Warbird that has a double front chain-ring: so much more knee-friendly than the single that Glenn kindly accepted back as a trade in.
Jim, riding a Specialized gravel bike, had just ridden over 7 miles from home on Coddington and had come up the formidable Bald HIll School Road hill, so I sympathized with his wish to avoid climbing up Downey or Leonard and to get home before dark. So, we just did the easy 10-mile loop, south on Braley Hill Road and then back north on Shindagin Hollow Road.
Somehow the northbound road seemed a tad winter-battered, but I did see some large clumps of Japanese Knotweed just starting to emerge, as if to provide some helpful foreign invasive vegetative clothing just to dress things up a bit. The beaverpond looked forlorn and vacant but for flowing water and dark wet soil. The Hemlock trees on either side of the road as we climbed Shindagin Hollow Road seemed to be holding their own against the woolly adelgids, but perhaps the handlebar view simply misses the on-going damage?
After Jim turned off onto Bald Hill School Road, back at the parking area, I walked my Shiba Enu and heard a pair of Great Horned Owls calling in the woods perhaps only 100 yards to the east. Closer at hand, at a few minutes before 7pm, Robins and an Ovenbird were singing. A Serviceberry tree was in bloom, possibly a Smooth Shadbush (Amelanchier laevis) or the Common Serviceberry (Amelanchier arbora), both native species.
Ride safe everyone, John
John V Dennis, PhD
Cayuga Lake Environmental Action Now (CLEAN)
893 Cayuga Heights Road
Ithaca, New York 14850, USA