Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shooting stars

Today, the trail was brimming. A cool front moved through the area and everyone piled out of their houses and onto the W&OD. Tonight though. Tonight will see quiet darkness for a few hours, then a show! The Perseid meteor shower should begin at about 11 and continue until dawn.

Hidden treasure: A side trail to a creek near mile 11, look closely in the dappled shade and you will see Cardinal Flower in bloom.

Meteor image from Southdown Planetarium. Cardinal Flower photo courtesy Southern Indiana University.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Little Friend

It was 87 F for my commute this morning. Over 100 F yesterday and didn't bother to cool down much I guess. Still, I would rather be out on the trail among the statuesque Joe Pye and stalwart Queen Anne's Lace than standing in a crowded stuffy train car or, worse, lugging a ton of steel around to get me where I want to be.

Today I saw a little friend. A honeybee. It was crawling on the trail at about mile 6 and I remarked to myself on how long it has been since I have seen one. I wished it strength and good pollinating and a healthy hive as I rode by. The rise and fall of the honeybees will be written in the deep cores when future paleontologists puzzle out the secrets of the Anthropocene.

Photo is copywrite Mark Cassino, courtesy FCPS.

Friday, August 3, 2007


The construction under the Sycamore Street bridge in Banneker Park looks to be almost complete. The trail in early August is showing signs of our severe drought: even the ragweed --- soon to be in bloom --- is hanging its leaves. The bunnies at mile 4 are venturing closer to the trail for tender growth. Four-mile Run is very low.

The trail is also showing signs of the high levels of CO2 in the air. Vines are rampant: Chocolate Vine (you wish! no, not real chocolate) at mile 10.5, Kudzu at the Gallows Road intersection, wild grapes over everything, prickly mile-a-minute vine cloaking even the hardy bamboo in spots. These are all encouraged to grow more aggressively by the greenhouse gas that is trapping heat in our atmosphere. Code Orange indeed!

On a positive note: the Sundrops are blooming mornings now. Striking flowers in the primrose family. Photo is from

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I ride to eat

The W&OD Trail Report has provided insights into the wonders of nature along the trail and reported on activity on the trail. This item begins reporting about food along the trail. One of the true reasons that I ride a bike is so I can rationalize the calories I take in. So why not share the information of where the best tasting calories are lurking?

This idea of food reporting came to me as I read the Washington Post on Wednesday. As you may know, the Post publishes a Food Section each Wednesday. Every other week Greg Kitsock writes a column devoted to beer. Kitsock in this week's edition reported on the change of ownership of the Old Dominion Brewing Co. He ended the column with:

"And there is no question that the Old Dominion crew can produce memorable beers. Recently, the brewers made a superb, limited-edition porter, deep ruby-red and full of mocha flavors with licorice and herbal notes.

The problem is, the porter is available only in the brewery pub, a 40 minute drive from Washington. Will beer geeks continue to make that trek?"

Greg, the brewery pub is a couple of hundred yards from the W&OD Trail. If the beer geeks won't make the trek then there is just more for the trail users to enjoy.