Saturday, November 14, 2015

Last of the Fall Riding?

I went out for what will probably be the last of the Fall rides, a briskly-paced jaunt up PA 944 and to the top of Waggoner's Gap. This is one of the better rides in the Central PA area, with the asphalt in great shape for when you want to "bump it up a notch". Or two.

You will also see a lot of bikes out here. One of the things I do like about this area is that there seems to be a higher awareness of cyclists. It might be that there are more of us. Or the proximity of Harley-Davidson. But whatever it is, I am glad we have it, especially in light of the stories I hear from other areas of the country.

There are a lot of decaying structures near me, barns and buildings that have long outlived their usefulness. If you look, you can still see how remarkable they once were. I love the metal roofs that still inhabit the landscape.

Yogi Berra once said, "You can see a lot just by watching". As I cruised past a field, I looked out and saw half a dozen turkey hens, and a big gobbler, who seemed blissfully unaware that it is November, and it might be a good time to be less obtrusive. RUN! FLY! Get AWAY!

After the zip through a good section of 944, I took a turn up to the top of Waggoner's Gap.

There is a pull off at the top, and a short hike brings you to the overlook, looking south over the Cumberland Valley. There is a similarly dazzling view from Pole Steeple in Michaux State Park.

I spent some time chatting with these birding chappies. There is a significant hawk and eagle migration that occurs in this area of the state, with the birds rising on the natural thermals and looking for the plentiful rodents that make up their diet. Birders from all over come to count hawks and eagles; these guys saw a bald eagle and several golden eagles, with a total of nearly 125 birds.

And this is why it's worth the trip.

There is something special, something important that happens when we journey to the high places. There is room for contemplation, and space for our souls to expand. I am always grateful for these moments.

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