Saturday, May 13, 2017

May in Minnesota

It's been another cool spring, but in the last couple of days the leaves have started to pop out on the trees and the spring ephemerals are blooming everywhere. It's hard to get too far down a trail, or road, without noting another species of plant. A variety of frogs can be heard singing whenever you pass a pond or low, wet area. Friends discovered a mass of frog eggs in a garden pond and were able to witness them hatch out into tadpoles. It's a lovely time of year to be out playing in the woods.

Today's run was short, only an hour and a half (tapering for the Spring 50K next Saturday).  It was a brisk morning with a bit of an east breeze but I quickly warmed up on the run from Enger Tower to the Highland & Getchell trailhead. There is a lot of climbing in this section! On one short ascent in the Piedmont area we were surrounded by a carpet of violets, mostly the purple variety with a few white ones sprinkled in. Marsh Marigolds are evident near almost every stream and ditch, always a cheerful sight.

After the run I met a friend to walk on Park Point. We took the nature trail from the end of the road, stopping to see if the tamarack were blooming. It took us awhile to find the flowers, but eventually we spotted one, and then another, and... well then it became obvious how many there were!

We spotted a lot of elderberry bushes with flower-heads just emerging as well as starflower (also just putting forth flowers) and a couple of trillium (most likely nodding). I remember seeing wintergreen in the pine forests in the past but was unable to locate it today. We also spotted a mystery plant, possibly a member of the bleeding heart (poppy) family?

After the walk I suited up and got the TW200 out for a ride. This is a fun little motorcycle and I have now ridden it enough to be getting a bit more comfortable with it's idiosyncrasies and how it handles. It is about 200 lbs lighter then my R65 and quite nimble. It is geared quite low so when riding on the streets I find myself quickly shifting up into 4th gear.

I headed up the hill to Skyline Boulevard and then west to the gravel section just past Magney-Snively Park. The road was recently opened and it looks like some more loose, chunky gravel was added. I figured that would be a good place to get more comfortable with how this bike handles.  I puttered along enjoying the views from the overlooks and cataloguing the wildflowers blooming along the road (large-flowered trillium, blood root, marsh marigold, and wood anemone). The woods are full of wild leeks (ramps) as well.

I stopped at the Bardon's Peak Overlook to take in the view and warm up my hands. Temps were in the high 50's today and that is a bit on the cool side for motorcycle riding for me even with a really nice pair of insulted riding gloves. I hung out taking in the views and warming my hands on the rock walls. Once circulation was restored it was time to finish my ride.

Bardon's Peak overlook
Sadly the weather looks to be turning cool and wet again so I brought the TW back to the airport to store it under cover.

All in all a pretty fun day. And topped off by a nice video chat with my daughter and grandson (now 11 months old, walking, very interested in books, things that spin, and a redhead like his mother).

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