Thursday, May 30, 2013

Along The Trail: Plazas, Pavement, Berry Pickin' and People

Two Rivers Park Plaza
Work continues on the plaza in Two Rivers Park. Trees have been planted and benches installed.
There may come a time when we complain about over development of the River Trail. Even now, peak time crowds can be vexing and I enjoy the solitude that exists along much of the trail system. That said, adding people-friendly features like the plaza space, walkways, benches and the sundial-topped mound being built in Two Rivers Park will broaden the appeal of the River Trail system and build support for more!
The sundial is not yet in place, so this cheap substitute will have to do. The shadow here indicates the time was precisely 5:35PM. Adjusted for DST, of course.
The man-made high ground creates a new point-of-view in the otherwise flat Two Rivers Park.
Early Morning Observations and the NLR Trail Machine
A good way to see new things on familiar ground is to change your routine. I spent last Thursday evening changing out pretty much the whole drive train of my Cannondale. I then woke up way too early Friday morning, so I decided to head down to the river for a test ride. I ride early on summer weekends, but my weekday rides are mostly after-work affairs. This particular morning was sweet; the smell of flowers reached me all along the way, scissor-tail flycatchers chased bugs, I had my first indigo bunting sighting of the season, I stopped to snack on some tasty mulberries, and life was good!
It's not hard to tell who has been eating mulberries. The purple fingers are a dead giveaway. Stop and enjoy! It's easy to spot the trees. Just look for the berry-stained patches of trail.
I also spotted the elusive big-ass truck-mounted blower that keeps the NLR trail clear of debris.
This rig was pretty neat. The sheet metal elbow swept back and forth under control of the driver in the truck, blasting the trail clean with a powerful stream of air from the blower mounted in the bed.
Another thing that I noticed on my early ride was that the demographic was noticeably and decidedly female. In fact, I would guess that 70% of the runners, walkers and riders I saw were of the girl persuasion. I didn't draw any conclusions, but I did wonder....
Are men more likely to sleep in or less likely to be saddled with weekday after-work child duties?
Are female athletes more ambitious about getting out and getting it done?
I'll leave deeper conjecture about this gender disparity to folks with more time on their hands.
Blacktop and copperheads: River Mountain access is open and snakes are out
The topics are not really related, other than by the fact that a dead copperhead was handily positioned in the photo below of the repaired entrance to the Two Rivers Bridge parking lot near River Mountain Road. Along with the crowds of people along the trail, copperheads and the more frequently seen cottonmouths and common on the River Trail. Watch your kids, dogs, and feet!
I speculated that this poor guy crawled under the rock and absent-mindedly raised his head, resulting in a fatal injury.
The street work is complete in this area, but the contractor will be back to add a sidewalk from the launch ramp parking area to connect to sidewalks to the bridge. I also learned that some electrical work will require a one-day closure of the parking lot at some point.
Another trailside amenity from Pulaski County
This small plaza at the foot of the southwest BDB ramp will provide nice views, benches, and perhaps some shade. I say "perhaps" because I can't remember if this spot is to get a gazebo or just benches.
There is always plenty going on along the trail!

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