Sunday, June 2, 2013

We Saw Things!

Two weeks ago, Chris accompanied me to the Lower Trail for the first time. I rode my bicycle 23 miles and he walked eight. No sooner did we arrive home after that morning's trek than Chris was pulling his old GT Timberline FS out of the shed. He thoroughly inspected it and determined that he would be able to get it ride-ready for about $100 in parts. It needed an entire new drive train - front and rear derailers, new chain, new crank, etc. Two weeks later, we packed BOTH of our bikes into Chris' truck and left the house at 8 AM this morning for our first bicycle ride together in several years. (The last time was probably nine years ago on vacation in Ocean City.)

We drove to the Mt. Etna Station on the Lower Trail and started riding at 8:51 AM just as it started to rain. Around the first bend from the Station, Chris saw a snapping turtle laying eggs!

As many times as Chris has told me he's seen a snapping turtle on the side of the road while riding his motorcycle, I've never seen one "in the wild." Momma Snapping Turtle was laying eggs on the side of the trail. I didn't think that was the wisest of choices until I read about the mating/nesting habits of Snapping Turtles:
Mating occurs from March to November. The nesting period for snapping turtles is usually three weeks (mid-May to mid-June). Snapping turtles dig nests in loose sand, loam, railroad beds, plant debris or sawdust piles. Clutch sizes may vary from six to 100 eggs in each nest, but individual snappers usually lay 25 to 50 eggs. The incubation period depends on temperature, usually requiring 60 to 90 days. (Source: Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission)
We continued south on the trail through Williamsburg. Just past the Grannas Station, Chris saw another snapping turtle!

Another Momma Snapping Turtle laying her eggs. I have to believe that Chris noticed both of the Snapping Turtles because they were on his side of the trail...that and he's very observant!

Between the Grannas Station and the Flowing Spring Station, Chris saw a snake!

I was tooling along the trail and Chris said, "Snake!" I looked down and realized I was just about to run over it! I swerved to the left, stopped, and got my camera out of the CamelBak. I ID'd it as a Black Rat that had very clearly recently ingested a mouse or chipmunk as it was quite full in the middle. 

When we reached the Flowing Spring Station (the southern end of the trail), we proceeded beyond the end of the trail to enjoy a very brief road ride before turning around. We stopped at the pavilion at the Station to get out of the rain, stretch, and have our snack. Chris had a peanut butter chocolate chip Clif Bar; I had an apple pie Lara Bar. I'm a huge fan of Lara Bars - all natural ingredients and usually only five or six of them! You'll have to forgive the fogginess of some of the pictures - it was 3,000% humidity!


Chris' rehabbed ride!

Out of the rain for a few minutes.

I don't know why, but I love this picture, LOL!

Conquering the Lower Trail!
Ready to roll again.

We spotted this bird nest in the corner of the pavilion.
That bird is smart! Cool and dry all the time!
On our way back, it stopped raining and the sun came out! We passed the second Snapping Turtle again. She was still hard at work laying eggs. We stopped at Grannas Station for a bathroom break.

Grannas Station

Our bikes


My new bicycling buddy and me!
We reached Mt. Etna Station 0.88 miles short of 25, so we continued north for 0.44 miles before turning around to head back to the truck. Along the way, we took some action shots of each other.

When we reached the truck, we'd ridden 25.05 miles! We headed home to get cleaned up and then hit the road again in search of lunch and tractors. This weekend was the Spring Show of the Nittany Antique Machinery Association at Penn's Cave outside of Centre Hall. Unbeknownst to us, Sunday afternoon at 3 PM isn't the best time to show up to see things. We were under the impression that it went until 5 PM, but apparently lots of folks leave early on the last day. There wasn't much to see. But what we did see was pretty cool!

The Spring NAMA show is the "small show" anyway. Admission is free. The fall show (admission is $5 per person) is the one to see. Friday evening, they have the old steam tractors participate in the tractor pulls and the sparks make for quite the light show! The Fall NAMA show will be September 5 - 8, 2013. With any luck, we'll be able to get to the show and see LOTS of tractors this fall.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like snakes...but nice work getting out and about under your own power. Keep up the good work.