Monday, August 16, 2010

Blazing Star Trail

Or, how I wasted my day today.
An easy two mile ride from my front door, down Highway 13 and then east on Front Street, takes me to the Blazing Star Landing, the beginning of a paved state trail.  

The oppressive humidity and heat has broken and it was a blue sky 75 degree day. I was rolling like the wind. Later it turned out the wind was merely pushing me along to set me up to pay his price on the return run. Ol' Wind has been using this ploy on me for 40 years and I still fall for it. I should know by now, I am not that strong!

The first half mile from the landing snakes around a cattail marsh before climbing up the grade and running east, a straight line wedged between farm fields and a railroad right of way. After a mile, maybe a little longer, it goes under Interstate 35, takes a sharp right turn and heads south to Myre-Big Island State Park. 

The 1600 acre park is a mixture of tallgrass prairie and hardwoods, what the early settlers called "Oak Openings" and the Big Woods timber of the island - a mixture of maple, hickory, cherry and such. A mile after entering the park the trail crosses the road. I opted to turn right off the trail onto the road which swings through the tallgrass prairie, the flowers just starting to show themselves above the Little Bluestem and Indian Grass, and heads east to the islands - Big and Little.

The road crosses a causeway and terminates at a picnic grounds on Big Island, a 117 acre wooded island surrounded by the 2,600 acres of Albert Lea Lake. The computer says the park has eight miles of shoreline. Having walked and paddled every foot of it, that seems about right. Give or take.

The gloves say "Benson". It must be the Korean branch of the Benson tree. 

I kicked back a little and tried to nap on the Laurie Sather Memorial Sleeping Table before the return trip. No luck, it requires a certain mystical quality that only Laurie seems to possess.

It was a clear blue sky, dragonfly, bobolink, white pelican drifting with the wind day. A day for bicycles and twin fawns bounding across the path, standing white tails twitching, smug but nervous in the sun dappled underbrush. Life is hard. Life is earnest. Even for first summer whitetails. They escaped the cyclist. This time.


Anonymous said...

I know that wind. I don't have anything nice to say about it.


Margadant said...

75 degrees and no oppressive humidity? The ride was dictated by the highest powers -- verily, a day well spent.

jusvelos said...

sounds like a most enjoyable day..

Echelon 133 said...

Damn! And I was stuck in an office all day.

Matt Anderson said...

I kind of want to bike this trail now...or run it!

Gunnar Berg said...

Bring your shoes and Henry's leash next time you're down.

Gunnar Berg said...

Or your vintage Gary Fisher. I'll spot you 35 years and we can race to the picnic table.

Anonymous said...

This was great, Gunnar! We figure the nightly rides we take on this trail(or almost nightly lately) equate to about three solid weeks of vacation each year! (Oh, by the way, the trail goes under interstate 35 not 90)Didn't want to confuse any orienteers amongst your readership.