Monday, June 6, 2011

Gettin' on my Bike!

Since I wrote last, I’ve made a world of fantastical discoveries! 

So Eugene has a good number of lovely hidden wonders that are slowly revealing themselves to me and the first that I came across was the Hendricks City Park. While the name sparks nothing in the imagination, I was told there was a rhododendron garden there I didn’t want to miss. So I hopped on to my Surly (aka the love of my life, aka my bicycle) and started down the hill toward Amazon. Well, my bike, which had spent the past week on the back of my Nissan Versa hatchback as we barreled across the country, was clicking and clacking. It did not sound happy.

After a quick adjustment, I was able to carry on although now I had Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life as my destination to give ‘er a look over. Nothing too ghastly, just that the derailleur needed some adjusting and the whole thing needed a good oiling. Five bucks later I was on my way, smoothly sailing.

I was delighted at the wide roads and the ability to take a residential bike route to avoid the busier roads. I went along looking from one side to the other at all of the cute houses and beautiful landscaping and carefully tended gardens.

After a few wrong turns, I found my way to the park. Surprisingly enough, the two dimensional map did not give any hint at the fact that the park was 800ft up! So I down-shifted and labored my way up and up and up. The foresty wonderland was beautiful, though not totally distracting. Breathing heavily and starting to sweat, I made it to the top of the hill and coasted down to the gardens. I parked my bike in a conveniently placed rack and locked ‘er up (I can’t decide if my bike is a him or her…somehow ‘er sounds right..). Then I walked through a winding network of pathways leading through a maze of rhododendrons. Many were past their prime but there was still enough in full bloom to take my breath away. I walked slowly and didn’t neglect to notice the tiny, delicate blue, white and pink flowers that covered the forest floor. All around were enormous dark fir trees that made for a stunning landscape. In the middle of it all was a large swath of grass where I resolved to have many, many picnics and reading/study sessions upon in the near future. I was enamored.

On Saturday, I enjoyed a long bike ride with my housemate Cathy. She was glad I got her out for the first time this season and so was I. She took me out on Fox Hollow Rd. which climbed higher and higher, out of the southern neighborhoods and up to the more forested landscape. There were farms and occasional houses and sometimes we were given a view of layers of hazy mountains, receding into the distance. The climbs were certainly do-able, but definitely had us puffing. I think, for me, the hardest part was the downhill. It. Was. Steep. I mean steep! And went on forever winding and twisting down and down and down. We were flyyying. I stayed on my breaks nearly the entire time while Cathy pulled far ahead. It was never scary, just a little nervousy, especially imagining how far one could fly were they to lose their bike for whatever reason out from under them! I was happy to grind down my breakpads to mere nothingness to keep from having to find out.

We were beat (but alive!) at the end of that ride! Such a great day.

Today I got up at 6am for a group birdwalk I’d seen a posting about that was held at Hendricks Park. I was the only one without gray hair in the group of about 15, which was of no surprise. It was a fun time, though, brushing up on these western bird calls and songs. I spotted a raccoon totally konked out, up on a branch high in a fir tree! It was the greatest pose: his butt towards us with tail hanging down and his body curled around to reveal his little face, eyes closed in a deep, deep sleep. Lil’ guy was tuckered! We saw hoards of cedar waxwings, feeding on Oregon Grape berries and the leader pointed out a Bushtit nest…the group was laid back and really nice, although I only talked to a few people. They were excited to tell me about all the upcoming walks I could come along on, I hope I can keep it up once classes start!

I biked to Vero, the café that Monica, Jarrod, Matt and I had tested out and had an iced coffee and a late breakfast of eggs, toast (homemade bread!) and jam, and fruit. I sat out on their brand new deck and read for a couple of hours in the shade. The weather was delightful. 

I got home and tooled around a bit before deciding to take a short jog. I went along the Rexius Trail to the trailhead that leads through the forest up to Fox Hollow Rd. It was a mile long and an elevation gain of around 1000ft! Definitely a huffer, but it was spread out enough that I never felt like keeling over. Only almost. The forest was beautiful and lush! I can’t get over the moss covered tree trunks and branches. I made it up to the road and took another trail back into the forest that went toward Mt. Baldy. I didn’t go all the way, just a mile and walked back, taking my time, watching and listening to the forest life. I can’t believe this is practically a stone’s throw away from my doorstep!

Topping it all off, I've had multiple amazing sunsets right outside my sliding glass door...
Imagine the pink to be multiplied in hot pinkness 100x..

1 comment:

I'd love to hear what you think, go on ahead and slap some words down!