Sunday 8 April 2018. 30 Days of Biking Day 8. Trelease Woods, Weaver Park, and the KRT

It was a degree F warmer (23 as opposed to 22 this morning) than yesterday, under mostly clear skies and again with some wind from the north as I rode east on Washington Street toward Cottonwood Road.

Am so glad that 30 Days of Biking is getting me motivated to ride more (for various reasons my mileage had been dwindling), especially since the weather has not been a great invitation itself.

Stopped at Weaver Park, crossing the non-trail

to get to the alleged buffalo-wallow pond.

At the pond were the mandatory red-winged blackbirds and, alas, Canada geese, though only a few. They didn’t seem quite awake.

But also, a quick look revealed a mallard duck, a coot,

(more, I noticed, farther out) and a grebe,

which looked like it had just found something to eat, or perhaps some nesting material.

Saw no teals, as I have in previous years, and it was too cold for amphibian song, but was not disappointed.

Came back to Washington Street and kept going in the direction of the still-low but bright sun until Cottonwood Road and turned north, where the wind greeted me and introduced a bit of rigor to the ride.

Crossed the Kickapoo Rail to Trail (KRT) bike trail (which runs from Urbana to St. Joseph, paralleling the highway) US 150, I-74

and the Saline Branch,

going as far as Trelease Woods,

where several deer galloped within the fence. Did not see them jump to get in; maybe there was easier access on the other side. Then turned back, rode to the beloved KRT trail and headed west. Saw to the south a pond I hadn’t been aware of until friend asked if I’d seen it. Did not see waterfowl there but made a mental note to return and check again, Might have loved to ride all the way to St. Joe, but suspected my extremities would get cold and reduce the enjoyment of the ride, which is one reason I’ll welcome warmer weather when it gets here!And apparently made it the rest of the way home.


Saturday 31 March 2018. Slow Spring

This morning I got to see the dawn: purple, pink, orange, gold-yellow.

Saw the sun-disc at 6:47.

It was reflected in the front entrance to the yoga studio, where I attended to the first order of business, yoga practice.

This year the spring is coming very slowly, as if reluctantly. But the morning light, colorful today, is coming earlier, right on schedule.

After practice, the drama of the sunrise had faded, and the sky was filled up with grey, warm spring-weather-delaying clouds.

On the way home, noticed a pair (about 20 feet apart) of mallard ducks standing in front of someone’s house. Looking for a place to nest? Then noticed a cat in the window watching the duck(s).

Did not feel like suiting up to continue the bike ride in the rain so put Rhododendron away in the garage and walked to the local coffee shop to write.

Noticed the stump of a recently cut tree.

The sawdust was remarkably orange

Continued my observations au pied; it was so nice to see more color:


new bloodroot,

Scilla coming up among sweet gum balls.


purple crocuses,

pale lavender crocuses among ivy leaves.

I am grateful to witness how, slowly but surely, spring unfolds again.

Sunday 14 May 2017. Mother’s Day at Meadowbrook

This morning at 5:30(!) it was 61 degrees F under clear, calm skies as I rolled Shadow out to head to Meadowbrook Park.

All around me was business green, interspersed with the orange-red of poppies, the purples, blues, yellows, and maroons of irises, and the bright whites, pinks, and deep reds of peonies.

Though the bloom was further along than I expected.

A patch of irises in two shades of blue-violet bloomed Monet-perfect.


A little way down Race Street, the spruces that shelter the fall Amanita mushrooms were putting out pale green shoots: a promise of health and growth.


Caught another cluster of blooms in a neighborhood garden, including yellow irises.


At Meadowbrook Park, saw the sun come up!


Even caught the sun rising over McCullough Creek at the rabbit-statue bridge.


Was grateful to be there, like I used to do so frequently but lately have managed so seldom.

Not far from the bridge and after the path turned east, saw lots of tender green foliage and fresh, new spiderwort in bloom.


Blackberry brambles put out their white flowers.


In the recently-created little pond along Davis Creek was a trio of Mallard drakes, preening and grooming vigorously.


Stopped at the Freyfogle Overlook and found a bold tree swallow guarding its south edge.


On the way out stopped to photograph the long shadows around the “wonky Christmas tree.”


It was Mother’s Day, a day that brings up so much emotion on all sides: my Mom, my kids, their birth mothers, myself…. But my thoughts presently were unfocused, absorbed into the beauty of the morning.

Wednesday 8 June 2016. Home from Crystal Lake Park via the Boneyard Riverwalk

At 6 this morning it was 53 degrees F, the sky clear.
Rode to Crystal lake pool and saw a goose family. Apparently their recruitment still is strong, despite last year’s talk of goose management.


Before getting to the pool stopped to look at the bridge over the Saline Branch

beneath which the fairly high water rushed.

Then on the way back through the park liked how the morning sun came through the oaks.


At Broadway south of University Avenue caught a nice view of the Boneyard Creek in public works project I’ve tended not to like much looking from Race Street.


This was a much better place from which to see it, and it was fun to wind downhill along the creek and look into the water,

though some parts were almost a little scary.

Saw fish in the water,

mallard ducks, and when I came to the last curve before going up to Race Street saw a great blue heron fly away.

You might be able to see the wings of the heron in the upper right quadrant of the picture.

Glad I took the detour.


Sunday 1 May 2016. Foggy Ride to the Southwest

It was 53 degrees F at 6:35 this morning, with cloud skies and fog.

It was a morning just to ride.

Which turned out to be west on Windsor, with a stop at the City of Champaign Prairie Restoration Project.

img_5991 Looked for signs of lead plant but a cursory examination revealed only last year’s remains.

Rode on west and stopped where Windsor crossed Phinney Branch,

img_5996 which was full of rushing water.

Turned west on Duncan Road. Was a little nervous about riding in the fog with no bike lane, so got on the sidewalk. Until it ended.

Fortunately did not have far to go before arriving at Curtis Road with its marvelous bike lanes.

Saw a number of mallard ducks in the ditch and in flooded fields next to Curtis.

img_6003 They all were drakes. Made me wonder whether the hens were off laying eggs in protected areas.

Stopped at the crossing of Curtis over the Embarrass River for a shot of the high water and the very green banks.

Stopped a little way on to catch the tiny shoots of corn that recently had appeared.

Close to home, looked down Race Street to see a foggy tunnel and the path to the rest of the day.

Sunday 6 July 2014. White Prairie Clover

At 5:38 this morning it was 64 degrees F and cloudy, last night’s heavy rain still in evidence. Well, it doesn’t look like there will be a drought this summer; maybe there will be too much rain. Optimal conditions (which of course are not nearly the same for all organisms) are a narrow window.

Decided on a quick trip northward, at least to check the progress of the construction on the Boneyard Creek at Race Street and see what was blooming in front of the Lincoln Bindery.

Happy to report that things seem to be happening on the Boneyard at Race Street.

And was pleasantly surprised by a group of mallard ducks coming around the bend to the west side of Race.

They looked like they might have been a group of siblings, just recently fledged.

Rode though the dark woods on Coler to the little prairie-let in front of the Lincoln Bindery, where the purple prairie clover was doing well, as I’d observed at several other local sites. There was quite a bit of the white species as well, though it was well into the course of its bloom.

Compass plant was starting to bloom here, though there were few (compared to previous years) flower stalks.

The Baptisia were bearing large green pods.

Decided to head back and get in a longer yoga practice, so rounded the corner between Busey Woods and the cemetery and flew down that lovely hill, paying attention to the headstones on the hill to my left. Thought it would be a good image for my last thoughts: giddy flight, underdround the peaceful remains of those who’d already gone, and the soft green woods.

Saw a large group of Crystal Lake Canada geese on the usual corner, between the park and Jimmy John’s. Got a quick shot of them before heading into the rest of the day.


Wednesday 30 April 2014. The 30th-Day Ride to Weaver

It was about 3:30 pm when I got on Rhododendron for the last ride for 30 Days of Biking 2014. It felt colder than the phone weather ap’s 48 degrees F, maybe because of the north-northwest wind. Was glad I wore the glove-mittens.
Had wanted to make a slightly more spectacular ending to 30 Days of Biking but settled on a revisiting of Weaver Park.

Once again loved riding on the bike lanes on Main Street. Wonder how long it will be before I don’t think of them as “new.”

Stopped for a shot of the little grove of oak trees across from the Dart plant. 20140430-232348.jpg
Weaver Park looked empty in the wind as I walked Rhododendron through what I thought was a shortcut to the purported buffalo-wallow pond.

Next time will stick to the path even if the distance is a little longer.

Took a while of gazing out in the pond to see the ducks, at least a pair of mallards and also a pair or two of non-mallards (blue-winged teal, as I was later able to identify!). Also something swirled in the water close to shore but was not able to identify it.

On the way back took a photo of one of the bordering trees

and was surprised by a vulture flying low from out of its branches, then out near the pond and around a couple of times.

Felt refreshed with this visit to “wild” Weaver, a perfectly good finish for this year’s edition of 30 Days of Biking.

On the way home got a photo of a spring bulb garden I’d often admired.

And tomorrow will be the start of the National Bike Challenge!