Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's up? Tiger Lilies!

Apologies to Woody Allen fans for that groaner of a title.

But it is that time of year, when the tiger lilies are in bloom and looking spectacular along the trail.

The best I've seen are on the stretch of the trail that parallels Shreve Road. Regulars on that stretch will know where I mean... behind the house that has the lovely flowers all the time.

The saddest looking ones were the couple of plucky individuals that are lingering at the edge of the huge housing construction site near Cedar Avenue. One or two single flowers perched right on the edge of a landscape stripped bare. Progress? Growth? Sigh.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Graffiti on the Trail

I'm guessing most folks who ride through the Vienna area have already seen it, but someone spray painted that white concrete thing that has the date 1860 (I think) on it, near the town line on the east side, near mile 10.5. Until now I've really never seen any graffiti or vandalism along the trail (aside from the destruction of vending machines at Smith's Switch a few years back), so this was kinda shocking to see.

On a happier note, I got some nice pictures of the dogwoods on my way in today.

Wet! But beautiful...

Well, as you probably could have guessed, yesterday was a wet day along the W&OD. I rode to work about 9:30 or so, and it was raining pretty hard the whole way. With the added excitement of thunder and lightning... just close enough to make me glad I wasn't out there too long. There are lots of puddles on the trail, and a LOT of standing water in the low spots alongside the trail. And the various drainage ditches and small creek beds which are usually dry or nearly so are running high and wild.

On the other hand, the dogwoods are blooming and look absolutely lovely! And the peepers are loving the wet, as was the frog I saw hopping across the path last night on my way home. All in all, a fun day out there, once I got used to the idea that it was going to be wet. I was grateful for my fenders and Burley rain jacket.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

W&OD Trail Patrol Seeks New Members

The W&OD Trail runs through the communities of Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn, Leesburg, Hamilton, and Purcellville. The Trail Patrol is seeking new members to be on-scene ambassadors of safety, courtesy, information, and goodwill. All adult trail users--cyclists, walker, runners, skaters, carriage pushers, dog walkers, horse riders, or wheel chair users--are eligible to apply.

Four orientation sessions are already scheduled for 2008: The first will be held on Thursday, April 17 in Alexandria from 7 to 9 pm, the second will be held on Saturday, April 26 in the Ashburn Library from 2 to 4 pm. The third will be at the Raflo Park in Leesburg on Saturday, May 3 from 2 to 4 pm and the forth will be Saturday, May 17 at the Vienna Community Center from 10 am to noon.

For further information and signup please contact John Boone at 703-726-6993 or jmboone1@verizon.net.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Beautiful Day to Ride!

It's getting near that time of the year when riding on the W&OD is very enjoyable, as you can see from the photo of the grazing deer just off the trail near Hunter Mill Road. Between Vienna and Leesburg there were quite a few people out delighting in the sunshine and 40 degree weather. Okay, so you needed gloves.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clear with some icy patches

Well, much of the trail is clear, or has a clear path through the icy bits. A few places, particularly between Gallows and Cedar, are icy from edge to edge, but they are short enough that you can either carefully navigate it or walk it.

One thing to be wary of is that it's frozen enough that the footprints and tire tracks are solid bumps and grooves, and they will jar you and cause your wheels to go in surprising directions if you're not careful.

There is a chance of more snow this evening (Thursday), but not a great chance, so it might get trickier.

Also today I spotted a small flock of juncos and a young fox ducking into the brush. A good ride in.

The first photo is taken near mile 10, between Gallows and Cedar, showing both clear and covered trail. The second is a closeup of the nature of the surface in such stretches.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Snow again

Well, as you might guess, the trail is a mess after Thursday's snow. I rode to and from work on Friday, and most of the trail from Falls Church to Vienna is still covered. Friday morning was particularly messy when I rode in at around 9:30... a thick, semi-frozen-yet-slushy mix that made riding, even with studs, a challenge. I found that I was either getting bogged down by slush where other people had NOT passed, or had my wheels knocked around by bumps and tires tracks where they HAD. Ugh. The best thing I can say is that I certainly got my exercise yesterday morning! It actually took me about twice as long as usual.

The ride home was considerably better. Things had been packed down a bit more, and it was cold enough to freeze, so getting stuck in slush or snow was less of a problem by far. I still wouldn't describe it as smooth, but it's much better, and there are now some open patches of pavement. It's tricky sometimes at night, as you can't see what's coming quite as well, but I think that might actually have some benefit, in that you sail on, blissfully unaware of a hazard, and thus don't tense up, which is half the challenge to riding on snow or ice.

We're supposed to get a little snow today, and it's supposed to stay cold, so I doubt it's going to change a lot out there today. Be careful, but have fun.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bare Trees and a Fox

Not a lot of folks on the trail these days... mostly walkers and a few runners, at least by the time I'm on the trail in the morning (9am) or evening (7 or 8pm). And as y0u can tell, the leaves are basically all gone.

This morning I saw a pretty big, healthy-looking fox crossing the trail near where the den was last spring. He scrambled up the embankment and looked down at me... until I stopped to try to get a picture, when he vanished. I wonder if this is one of last spring's kits or their mom or dad. Pretty big, and I don't know how quickly they reach adult size.