Today I had two firsts. The initial first was biting ants. I was starting my new build for the day when all of a sudden my left hand started burning like I had put it in nettles. When I looked down my hand was covered with ants and each one was more pissed than the last. I guess they had the right since apparently I had just ripped up their home. I didn’t do my Karma any favors as I started swatting them off my hand. By then they had found other suitable parts of my body to gnaw on. After brushing myself clean I made quick work of finishing the build. I added to it on my return trip after the ants had settled down. The next first was surprisingly enough bike tourists/campers. For as long as I have been hitting the trails this was the first time I saw bikers complete with packs and bags. I would have thought that many people would use the trails for touring in light of how dangerous the back roads have become. When I was in high school, along with my friend Dunk, I did quite a lot of touring and would like to try it again someday. Even back then it was dangerous and there were times that the wind from a passing truck would almost suck you out in front of another passing vehicle. Maybe people feel the trails don’t offer the same adventure. At any rate it is something I am going to start watching for. I wish I would have had a chance to talk to them. Other than that it was business as usual. The Tiger Lilies were in full bloom. They are one of my favorite flowers. Tripod had been knocked over. I have to believe it was deliberate because of all the builds Tripod is the most stable. There had been a wind storm here last week with gust of sixty miles an hour. I was surprised how many of the large ones, including Tripod, had survived. Part of my philosophy is the value of impermanence but it still hurts when one of the large ones get knocked down. I spent a little time finishing up yesterdays build. Except for a little tweaking I think it is finished. It was a beautiful day and coming home was tough.
I got out early this morning but because of the nice weather the trail was already busy. As I have stated before, stealth might not be as important as it used to be but I still like to keep the building on the down low. Because of this, there may be several ride offs before completing a sculpture. Today’s build had three. Fortunately I was by a cross road so when I would see people coming I could ride down the side road for a ways and then ride back and continue working. I never know how far I am going to get on a particular build before it just doesn’t pay to continue. The sculptures become an ongoing project. There are few builds that are ever finished since once they are close they usually get knocked over. Tomorrow if today’s build is still standing perhaps I will continue to work on it.
No camping trip to Mauthe Lake would be complete without a little cairn building. To be honest this particular trip dealt more with kayaking and you can read more about that at: http://onionriver.blogspot.com/ I had forgotten to bring my camera so Eileen provided all the pictures. We had chosen to stay in Mauthe’s Residence Teepee because of the forecast of storms. We figured two layers of cloth between us and a storm would be better than our little two person tent. As it turned out we had a little rain but it never did storm. When we first arrived we headed out on the bike trail. We had to be careful to not go too far since I had just popped my tire and although I had replaced the tube I was still running on old tires. The last thing I wanted to do was get way out on the trail and have a flat tire. It was also a very hot day and we have run across other people who have complained of horseflies. As long as you kept moving they weren’t too bad but once you stopped or even slowed they were all over you. Around home it is mosquitoes. I did manage to rebuild one cairn that I had built last year. All the stones were still there. We really thought we would come back to build more but there is only so much time and it ran out. We determined that when we came back in July we would spend more time building. I built one more cairn at the Teepee. It was hard to find stones but we found enough to make one last build.
“Very Interesting, but not funny” the immortal words of Artie Johnson come to mind when describing this morning’s ride/walk. I had taken almost a week off after doing something to my back last Tuesday in the Weight Room. I had been doing curls when all of a sudden a sharp pain coursed through my lower back. It is getting better though so I headed out. Most things were still up but to my surprise “Tripod” was knocked over. Even though it is not the original, which was taken in the “Great Purging” by the railroad last summer, it had existed through the winter and spring. It is “interesting” that it was down shortly after I had made some modifications. Things didn’t get real “interesting” until I had made it to Oostburg. I had just turned around when I spotted a baby Bunny. I decided to stop and photograph it. As soon as I was about to leave I heard a loud hissing noise which turned out to be my tire going flat. There I was about five miles from home with a flat front tire. I started walking it and realized that at four mph it was still going to take over an hour to get home. I tried jogging but with a bike next to me that was very cumbersome. I didn’t want to ride the bike with the flat and ruin the rim but I also didn’t want to ruin my day walking the bike home. Finally, I decided to remove my pack from the back rack and sit on that. That took most of the weight off the front wheel. It probably looked goofy as hell but I was able to limp home a lot faster than walking. To be honest, whenever I met somebody coming down the trail I slipped off the backend and walked it. Did I mention my sore back? This position, folded over the seat, made that kind of “interesting”. But all in all improvising is what adventure is all about and although it wasn’t the most fun I ever had on a bike ride it was definitely one of the more “interesting”.
Today’s ride was somewhat abbreviated. I had a lot of work to do at home and it was supposed to start raining. I rode out to make sure everything was still standing and it was. I did do one rebuild on a concrete build I had done earlier in the year. Tomorrow we hope to go kayaking so I probably won’t get out on the trials again until Thursday when I think I will go south.
It was great being back on the trail again. It is a little wet and the mosquitoes are intense but it beats going to work. I wanted to work on “Tripod” and give it back its badly missing dangler. I have few hard rules when building but I do like my dangle pods to hold one black and one white stone. I guess it’s sort of a yin yang thing. I am not sure I have the perfect rocks but they will do for now. I also decided to add an Inukshuk to my “Mast Build”. It survived having rocks poured around it and winter without going down so a little ornamentation is warranted. Across the road from it I built my first new build of the season. I may do more to it if it survives but for now I am pretty happy with it. I also did a little work to the original “Dangler”. It really only needed a little straightening after winter. It was a great day and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
Day 8 (6/12/10)
Eileen and I went for a quick ride. It is Saturday so the trail is busy. We wanted to get out and enjoy my first day off from school for summer. Soon after getting on the trail we were startled by a little snake. When Eileen rode to close to the snake it jumped at her tire. It was funny because in spite of its size it made both us jump. I decided “Tripod Build” really needs to have its dangler replaced. I kept my eyes open for some wire or something that I could use to tie some stones under it. Further up the trail I came across some old wire that would do the trick. I tried to do some work on it but there was just too much traffic. I will have to save it for Monday. The wild roses are in full bloom and the trail is looking quite striking.