Capital 2 Capital Trail Day 1

So, I must apologize. Yowl identifies as female. I mis-gendered her yesterday in my post. Today, I return with apologies to Yowl.

She is ready for a bike ride!

Meanwhile, the storm that brewed and stewed last night never came. I don’t think it even rained, although it might have done so, but only a little.

We ran the AC all night on a fairly high temp (around 74 degrees) with the fan going on Auto, so that the white noise of the fan running (instead of stopping and starting) would lull us to sleep. Not that either of us needed much coaxing.

Stayed asleep until around 7 and arose to have tea and coffee – we started in our “nook” under the Big Front Window, and finished up outside in the breeze in the screen room. Although it was humid, the general feel was grand.

We heard from our fearless leader, Alan, who has been primarily responsible for putting together this informal ride, that due to forecast weather for tomorrow’s trek from Williamsburg all the way to Richmond along the trail, he thought we might postpone until Saturday. Evidently, the forecast for Sat. is much nicer. We have no set plans, so we responded to his email that a postponement would be fine with us. 

Around 10 we saw some clouds building up, and thought we might go for a bike ride. The rain came before we had set off, and we debated for some time about whether to head back to bed for a nap or hit the Capital Trail. We decided to ride.

Ride: Always a good choice.

The rain was not heavy or any problem at all – in fact, it felt great, as the temperatures had risen, even though the sun was behind the clouds. We set off toward Jamestown, approximately a 7 mile journey.

It is so totally lovely to be riding along a nicely-groomed, completely paved path. It is truly a touring bicyclist’s fondest dream to have this type of infrastructure. With the sprinkles, very few people were out using the path, so we were able to meander side-by-side for most of the way. 

Got to Jamestown (mile zero) and looked at some maps and some historic markers (you might remember that we’d done the whole tourist thing at Jamestown just a month or so ago) and turned around. We had passed a couple of side trails that looked interesting, so we decided to explore the one called the Powhatan Creek Trail, that left the Cap2Cap heading through a cornfield.

The Powhatan Creek Trail winds through deep woods.
One of several deer seen along the Powhatan Creek Trail.

It was really a neat trail, entering the woods after the cornfield, and skirting some suburbs and housing developments. We saw numerous deer, some nice cypress swamp, bridged several wetlands, and then got ourselves throughly lost. Our hope that the Powhatan Trail would circuit back to the Cap2Cap was dashed when we ran out of trail during recess at a public elementary school. 

Of course, we never retrace our route unless there’s no option, so we pressed onward and found ourselves back at Rt. 5, at the Five Forks intersection (Ironbound and Rt. 5) with no Cap2Cap in sight. 

We rode the shoulder westward along Rt. 5 (toward Richmond) until we got to Jamestown High School, which we remembered as an option along the Cap2Cap, and in pretty short order, we found ourselves on familiar ground again. As we paused to assess what the heck we thought we might have done (think a triangle’s hypotenuse), a serious raucous was happening among some blue jays just off the path ahead of us.

I think Jack might have been a bit perturbed as my attention was stolen from his hypothesis about our journey by a Cooper’s hawk emerging from the raucous area, with 4 jays following it, as it carried what I have to assume was a baby jay in its talons, across the trail and across the road. Wow.

From the school, it was just 4.5 miles back to Chickahominy Riverfront Park, and by this time the sun was shining fiercely, and all moisture on the ground was evaporating and rising into the air, which our lungs, preferring oxygen to H2O, didn’t much appreciate. It was most definitely lunch time, so we beat a quick retreat back to Roomba, and spent the afternoon fighting off squirrels and lounging in the screened-in porch. 

I have never seen such bold, brazen “wildlife” before. First, one was investigating the handlebar bag on Jack’s bike. 

View from the screen room.
Pesky creatures.
Exhibits no fear.

That made Jack remember that he had some energy bars in his kit bag, left inside the car. No problem unless the energy bars include chocolate. So he got up to chase away the intruder, and then went to the car, opened the back gate, and took the energy bars into Roomba to stay cool. Thinking surely the squirrels would not get into our car, he left the gate open to keep the interior of the car a little cooler. 

Lo and Behold! A slight rattling noise alerted us, sitting no more than 5 feet away, that the devil in a gray suit was inside the car, escaping with a baggie of trail mix from the FRONT SEAT! Who knows how long it had been rummaging around in there . . . 

It decided to have another try, after Jack retrieved our trail mix from its grubby little paws. 





THWARTED!

You just cannot leave a thing lying around with these obnoxious squirrels as neighbors! I really REALLY want to bring my hawk up here and teach the local tree rats a quick lesson in survival. Of course, I have no doubt that many camping tourists through the years have thought how funny, cute, and special it was to get “up close and personal” with the squirrels by hand-feeding them or leaving bread or peanuts lying around so they’d come closer. I just hope they don’t chew their way through anything on the car or, goddess forbid, on Roomba.

We spent the rest of the afternoon until dinner time with fans blowing on us in the screened room, watching the osprey out over the river, reading our books and snoozing (when we were not chasing squirrels away). 

As the day cooled and the campground filled up with weekenders, we began thinking about dinner. After a nice shower, Yowl and I returned to the screen room and electric fans, and we readied for chow by having a chilled, frosty beverage as the Brie warmed and the lamb burgers rested in the spice rub Jack had coated them with, in anticipation of grilling. 


All this while a young groundhog visited – the same young groundhog, I’d guess, that Jack saw getting chased by some of these very aggressive squirrels yesterday.


Which reminds me: as Yowl and I were walking back to the screen tent earlier today, we saw a couple of adult bald eagles harassing an adult osprey carrying a fish. I have to guess that the baldies wanted to poach the fish from the osprey. But the osprey was faster and more agile than the lumbering baldies. The whole group disappeared upriver so I don’t know how the contest turned out.

These guys were hanging out at the Roomba site today, and the final photo is a neat looking river edge around a bend from us. Breezy evening with solar and LED lights in the screen tent. G’night all –


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