It was 64 (I think) degrees F at 6:50 this morning as I headed out on Rhododendron toward Homer Lake. Did not totally commit to the destination at that point; thought a trip to St Joseph on the KRT bike trail might be enough and played it by ear.
Stopped for a view of the oak grove across Main Street from the Dart plant (saw no foxes today)
and for a view of Weaver Park, where the cup plants seem to mostly have finished blooming.
Then rode and rode east on the KRT, first through the little “woods” just east of Walmart
and then on through the farm fields.
Noticed common ragweed growing rather far into the trail
and giant ragweed near Full’s Siding.
There were prairie plants here and there: prairie dock,
as well as cup plants and the occasional compass plant, but they were too far from the trail to photograph easily.
And there was plenty of common milkweed, this one still blooming and with its own monarch butterfly. Thanks
Didn’t see them exactly swarming, but saw several individuals on the way. Saw evidence of feeding on this plant
But did not see a caterpillar.
Saw a little mouse-like rodent (briefly, but how often do you see those?) on the south side of the trail.
The trail spun out before me and I enjoyed comfort of temperature, light, and movement. The present was an attractive place to be. The landscape and I communed. Joy, joy, joy, and more joy!
Got a shot of blue morning glory on the Salt Fork bridge
before riding straight across,–what a lovely part of the trail it is!–traveling high above the water.
At which point there seemed no reason not to head on to Homer Lake.
Turned into and around St. Joe and headed toward Homer Lake Road on County Road 2200 E, which was busy enough to have a center stripe, but encountered only a few vehicles.
Saw an impressively large, handsome horse with covered eyes.
Then turned left on Homer Lake Road, which had been recently resurfaced, perfect for a road bike.
The body parts were pretty much happy; the top of the right knee reminded me it was there and the ring finger of the right hand had felt a bit numb for a while but all else was happy.
And there was Homer Lake!
Dismounted Rhododendron to look for cardinal flowers (found one medium sized flower spike about half way through its bloom) and then my phone ran out of charge, which was at once frustrating and liberating.
Heard great blue herons and saw the edges of one or two flying away as I intruded on them as well as other waterfowl on the other side that I couldn’t identify.
It looked like goldenrod was overgrowing the place where there had been more cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, and great blue Lobelia. It takes some management to make a planting look like our preferred picture of nature, otherwise goldenrod takes over.
Was glad to have made it to Homer Lake.
On the way back stopped at Geschenk Coffee Haus for a Florentine egg and cheese wrap and latte,and to charge the phone and blog a little.
On the way back on the KRT stopped for a woolly worm that was crossing the road at what looked like full caterpillar speed.
saw more early goldenrod than I’d noticed on the way out. And got closer shots of prairie dock,
which seem to be more abundant along the KRT than any other place where I cycle.
There was Gaura,
again, a little far from the trail to get a close photo.
Checked a lot of milkweed plants and even saw a lot of frass on one,
but saw no monarch caterpillars.
Noticed a lot of partridge pea on the way out but it seemed even more on the way back.
Once I was back in town stopped at Walmart to pick up a “water-flosser” and julienne peeler.
Explored the pond behind the store, which had a path on one edge and also a chain link fence
Again disturbed a great blue heron.
With this visit to Homer Lake felt like I’d fulfilled at least the minimum requirement for a complete summer!