Saturday, June 30, 2007

2007: A Banner Year for Turtles

This is the fourth big snapper I've seen this year, twice as many as in any previous year. Perhaps they like the swamp better without the beaver dam, with the water much lower than it was.

In the wetlands near Hartwell Avenue

Today: 10.5 miles. This year: 658.5 miles.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Chasing the Ghost of 2006

At the end of this week a year ago, I'd skated 630.5 miles. This year so far, 627. If the forecast thunderstorms clear up in time, I'll pass last year's ghost tomorrow or Saturday. (I'd have passed him already if not for this week's rising heat and humidity.) We'll trade leads through early July, then I'll leave him behind for good when he takes two weeks off to shuttle my younger son back and forth to day camp.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 627 miles.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Trail Conditions: Clear Sailing

Lexington swept their part of the trail and now the East Lexington Shoals (near Bow Street, behind Ixtapa) are just slightly sandy. Last Friday they were heaps of sand and gravel that blocked half the width of the trail.

Today: 20 miles. This year: 584.5 miles.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hang Up and Pedal!

I heard a bicycle close behind me as I was coming up the slope toward Bedford Street yesterday. I thought it was odd when the rider said "Hello!" very loudly instead of "passing on your left" and even odder when he mumbled something about "...riding my bike..." as he passed me. Of course he was riding his bike, any fool could see that. Only after he passed could I see he was steering with his right hand and holding up a cell phone with his left. Cycling doesn't really engage him, I guess, so he needs to talk about it as he rides.

To be fair, I should mention the phone-and-coffee lady, a skater I saw frequently near Lexington Center last year, never without a phone in one hand and a coffee cup in the other. And pedestrians yakking on cellphones are a fixture now, but they're slower and more stable than skaters or cyclists.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 564.5 miles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wear Limit? No Kidding.

Monday I noticed my brake was down to the marked wear limit. I figured I'd change it over next weekend. Tuesday the brake sounded like I was dragging an iron shoe across the pavement. Turns out the wear limit is for real - I'd worn away part of the mounting bolt.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Decals, Bricks, and Another Turtle

The passenger car at Bedford Depot Park has new decals, a visible sign of progress in its slow restoration.

Bedford Depot Park / Milepost X

This is the third snapping turtle I've seen this month, more than I've seen in any single year. Maybe the wet spring was good for them or maybe they're doing well generally. This one is draped with small water plants she must have picked up in leaving her pond.

West of Hancock Avenue

The masons rebuilding the passenger platform at the Lexington Depot are the most meticulous bricklayers I've ever seen. They've been putting down bricks for a week now and are about two-thirds done. The platform was excavated and then received layers of gravel, crushed stone, and sand. The sand is spread and leveled just a couple of rows at a time so that it's never walked on before the bricks are laid. The bricks are set one at a time, pounded down and squared with a mallet. The masons sweep stone dust into the gaps after every few rows to keep the finished bricks from shifting. The results are remarkably neat.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 530.5 miles.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Was it a rat I saw?

Yes it was, all palindromes aside. Our furry friend was running through the trees between the trail and the Hurd Field parking lot this morning at 8:00. I've seen plenty of mice, squirrels, and rabbits along there, even a possum once, but never a rat until today.

3 Bow Street in Lexington, vacant since the demise of Minuteman Cycle despite signs about PeopleFit, will soon be the home of Hadar Dental.

The traffic lights at Hartwell Avenue are flashing yellow today, like yesterday. The traffic cruises through like there aren't any lights at all, so be cautious.

Today: 14 miles. This year: 517.5 miles.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reid's Ride and More Turtles

Posters are up along the trail for Reid's Ride, a cancer research fundraiser. The third annual ride is Sunday, July 22nd, starting from Lynnfield High School.

Snapping turtles are still laying eggs near the wetlands. Watch for turtles crossing the trail.

Near Hartwell Avenue

Today: 13 miles. This year: 450.5 miles.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ambiguous Sentiments

Facing the southbound traffic over I-95

On the Grant Street bridge

Today: 21 miles. This year: 437.5 miles.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Snapping Turtle

Two days later, the flower petals are dust. Watch for them next year.

I met this snapping turtle near the swamp off Hartwell Avenue today. It might have been searching for a spot to lay eggs, something I've seen before at this time of year.

Today: 13 miles. This year: 416.5 miles.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Flowers and Fluff

If you've ever harbored romantic notions of strolling on a flower-strewn path, this is your week. Thunderstorms have stripped the petals from the trees and dropped them on the trail in thicknesses ranging from a scattering to solid cover.

Flower petals on the Hurd Field entrance

Cottonwood snow near Hartwell Avenue

Today: 21 miles. This year: 382.5 miles.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Happy Birthday, Arlington!

Arlington started its 200th birthday celebration last night with fireworks over Spy Pond. Most of the crowd watched from Spy Pond Field -- that's where the birthday concert and cake were -- but we enjoyed a close and unobstructed view at the foot of Linwood Street, just a few steps from the Minuteman Trail.

Fireworks at Spy Pond

Yesterday: 13 miles. This year: 361.5 miles.