Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bike and Hike

The term “bike and hike” typically refers to bicycles not motorcycles. Yet this is a great activity for motorcyclists as well. Andy and I have taken several hikes while motorcycling around this great country. In our own backyard, we rode to, then hiked up to a few fire towers just for the view. You have to plan this ahead of course, because you don’t want to be hiking a trail in your motorcycle boots. That has us making sure the appropriate footwear is in the saddle bag along with a light weight jacket, insect repellent, sunscreen and a bottle of water.

This week I took my pal Lee over to see Garwin Falls, which is close to home; because I know he loves waterfalls. That little trip to the falls had me thinking of the other falls in the surrounding area. On a whim, I went to investigate Tucker Brook Falls to determine if it would be suitable for a larger group of pals, some with joint and foot issues. I checked the temperature before I left the house which was 47 degrees, but the wind was gusting fiercely and when checking the wind chill factor, almost changed my mind as it indicated 37 degrees. I decided to select the Polartec Windbloc jacket and cap to keep the hair out of my face instead.

I selected an entrance point to the trail that turned out to be the long way in and certainly not suitable for people with joint and foot problems. The trail however was well maintained and easy going.  The noise of the wind and tree limbs knocking against themselves was quiet deafening and I startled when a big CRACK filled the air and a heavy limb came crashing to earth. I wondered a moment at the logic of hiking on such a day when it was so blustery, not to mention that the bears have just awakened from their slumber. Yet I saw neither man not beast during my entire hike.

Tucker Brook Town Forest has three trials, the white, blue and yellow. I kept to the white trail on my hike to the falls taking time to stop and enjoy the new spring growth or a strange rock formation. Every now and then I noticed the blue trail crossing my path. At intervals there are postings letting you know where you are and how far to any particular spot. After a considerable time hiking I was surprised to learn I was still a ½ mile from my destination. I reached the large footbridge and knew finally that my destination was not far off.

 Glacial Boulder Deposits

 Foot Bridge
With the wind so blustery, and the cacophony of sound it caused among the trees, I could not hear the waterfall until I was well upon it. Then I selected a large rock, from which I could feel the spray and sat quietly just for the joy of it. When I had my fill I turned back to the path. Not far from the falls, I spotted the sign to the other entrance. I will investigate this another day as I’m sure it’s an easy hike for others whose main purpose is to see the falls.

I began to retrace my steps along the white trail when I decided to practice my “walking meditation”.  As I focused on the here and now, being in this place, watching my footfalls and thinking only of the present moment, I realized I could hear traffic. I looked up and saw I was now on the blue trail. The traffic I assumed from the road that lead to the easy entrance. No matter, I had noticed that white and blue intersect and I continued on. Eventually I once again intersected the white trail and followed that until I saw the sign for the entrance I had used. I was tuckered out when I reached the end and chuckled to myself at the pun.

 This looked freshly fallen. No surprise considering the wind.


If you’re looking for excuses to ride, why not select themes for your trips. Waterfalls are fun, but there are other themes, like fire towers or historical signs and covered bridges. I’m sure you can think of a few, and discovering that great destinations don’t require a two week vacation is a bonus.


Trobairitz said...

Sounds like the perfect day, biking, hiking, and waterfalls too.

Thanks for sharing.

Debra said...

Another great story. Motorcycling has availed us of many adventures. I thank you for sharing this one.