Cooler air greeted us in the woods. Saturday, Kessy and I set out early Sunday, to try to beat the heat, and the bugs. As we saddled though, 7 AM seemed not quite early enough, and by the time we'd finished our pre-ride exercises my shirt was soaked with sweat. My legs and hands bother me more in the humidity, and as we readied I second guessed my decision to ride, but it had been a week, and well I needed the therapy to help those legs, and I felt like bird watching, too. I had talked it over with Kessy during Coffee Clutch and she was fine either way. Go or don't go. But I got the sense she really wanted to take me for a walk.
|Saturday leading the way|
A Towhee greeted us along the trail not 50 feet from the mounting platform. I patted Kessy's neck and told her it looks like a good sign for birding. Turning in the saddle I saw Saturday bouncing jubilantly behind. He loves his trail adventures, too. Before we reached the logging road we noticed several patches of big toadstools and a bunch of delicate bright yellow tiny asters. Stepping onto the logging road we were surprised by a momma turkey and her brood of at least a dozen exploding in a mad dash for cover. I wasn't really up to "sittin' a good spin," and was very pleased that Kessy kept her spook to a mild shutter step. I suppose she knew.
Kessy slipped into her, back massaging, running walk and we glided down the trail. Pure delight, but it does make Saturday hustle to keep up. I try to keep an eye on him and not get too far ahead. He loves it when we stop for prolonged bird spotting, uses it as a combination catch up time and checking out the surrounding territory. We stopped before long to marvel at an exceptional birding moment, a goldfinch, indigo bunting and chipping sparrow all in one tree and all singing at the same time! Later we saw a box turtle laying eggs!
It's two and a half miles to the double gates where the logging road forks. This morning even with frequent birding stops, and once to exam momma and baby bear tracks, we were there in 40 minutes. We usually go left, haven't gone right since February, while there is some beautiful riding over there a lot of trail is growing shut and we just don't go. But the county had done some logging back in there and I decided to go have a look at the damage.
It was about a mile along the deeply rutted logging road through tall pines until we came to the clear cut area. The last time we'd been here the way had been smooth, the logging road had been evenly covered in fallen pine needles. I always think it looks like war zone after a clear cut. Piles of debris, deep scars in the earth, and acres of bare ground, holes and mud. Had never seen anything like that in PA. Any logging I'd seen there had always been selective.
A few summers as a youth on the farm where I grew up as a foster kid they'd, "leased me out" to a local sawmill. I never fell any trees but helped to drag out plenty of logs with the horses. I remember that being a much kinder way of treating the forest.
We sat at the edge of the clear cut unable to immediately see where our old trail continued. Saturday romped about happily exploring the puddles and piles. Kessy was reluctant to brave the debris scattered expanse, but since we were this far, I wanted to at least try to find the trail connection, as this trail goes through some of the prettiest forest in our area, much of it lined on both sides with mountain laurel and always offers great birding. Finally I spied what I thought might be our old trail, but it was far across the messy field and I saw no safe way around the outer edge as the loggers had shoved huge piles of broken trees and limbs all along the forest edge. If we were going to make it, it would be directly across the clear cut...
-- Be sure to watch for tomorrow's blog for the rest of this adventure ... Excerpt – "I realized we'd lost Saturday. I called and called. No Saturday."
Gitty Up~ Dutch