Trail Tale I

The optimism spread by the illusory warmth of early March sunshine and trickling meltwater is amazing.  Our front yard (southern exposure) is free of snow, and the back yard is getting there except where it’s drifted up.  Across the street winter still prevails– there are still several inches of snow on the lawns, and the huge mounds piled up by front end loaders remain frozen hard most of the time.  The cold, insistent 25 mph breeze on an otherwise warm day like today suppresses the melt.

Still, having a good idea of what I would find, I went to check out the Washington & Old Dominion Bike Trail right-of-way at the start of my ride today.  It’s about three blocks from my house, and almost all my rides start there, wherever else they may wend.  I parked the bike and hiked the 70 feet or so to the trail itself.  On February 3 I wrote about the snow-blocked trail and the fallen bamboo.  That was four days before the two big storms.

Today, two and a half weeks after those storms, there were more downed and/or broken bamboo shoots, and also 8″ of snow where the right-of-way met the Trail.  Making a resolution to return in a day or two with a saw, I was on my way.  In the course of my ride on local streets I also checked the Trail where it crosses Park St. near the Vienna Community Center and where it crosses Maple Avenue.  At the Community Center it was clear going westward, but completely snowed in to the east, where it ascends a shady hill.  I was able to go perhaps a quarter mile past the Community Center and across Maple Avenue by walking the bike about three times.  Slightly west of Church St. I saw long reaches of snowed-in trail, and abandoned the quest at the end of the parallel road where there are many auto body shops.  Riding back along that road, the smell of lacquer was strong in the air.  Repainting body work from snow-related crashes, no doubt.

Verdict after one month: the trail is still snowed in so surely that it will take 3 or more days of 50° weather with no overnight freezing to open things up.  I don’t expect that for at least ten days.  I have never seen such a winter.  Thank goodness the streets and roadways around Vienna are fairly clear.  I may take a new, extended trek on one (Lawyer’s Road?) within the next few days.  Desperate times, desperate measures.

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2010.

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