Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sweet Breath of Spring

Sweet Breath of Spring is a bush honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima --- great Latin name!). But today, it was in fact the sweet, warm breath of the season that charmed me on the W&OD. Another beautiful long ride out to test my lungs and legs and let my mind spin slowly for a while.

Sound of the day: The toads were calling along Difficult Run. There is nothing that quite says springtime like the call of a toad. It is a clear, rich, musical "Breeeee" at a pitch that a human can imitate quite easily. Here is the URL where you can hear American Toads:

Adrenalin Rush of the day: A Black Ratsnake slipped across the trail just as I rode by --- narrowly missing my wheels. Coluber constrictor. Coluber means "snake" and constrictor means... you don't want to be a mouse around this specimen.

Wildflower of the day: Bi-colored Birdfoot Violet. This was a good test of my peripheral vision. There were only a few clumps of the birdfoots, all on the lean clay soil exposed on the north side of the trail just west of Sunrise Valley Drive. Some were unicolor (pale violet), but the bi-colored ones were much showier, and I clambered up the steep slope --- to the astonishment of 'serious bikers' passing below --- to photograph them.

Runner-up Wildflower of the Day: Trout Lily. I had to take a little side trail off of the W&OD to find these. It is located on the north side of the trail about Mile 11, and runs through a little stream valley. The Trout Lilies were surrounded by Spring Beauties, another lovely little spring wildflower. Trout Lilies get their name from their leaves, that are speckled like a trout.
The sweet breath of spring blew me gently home.