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Professional Crastinator
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I had the night off, so after fixing some fajitas I decided to ride off my dinner. That means fatbike, sandals, minimal riding gear, and a chill pace.
Impulsively, I ended up at East Rim Ph. 2. This is not a place to "send it" if you are wearing sandals and riding a fatbike with minimal gear. Oh, and the sun was setting.
I parked in the valley and made the climb to the trailhead while a parade of vehicles loaded with bikes exited the park. As I passed the parking lot there were 5 cars left. Near the trailhead a guy was pushing his bike with a flat tire. He declined a patch.
Right off the bat, the forest was already dark. My vague memory of the last time I rode it suggested that there is nothing in the way; just wide, flowy, downhill "single"track for the first ~2 miles. So I sorta just let off the brakes and rolled on down.
Hitting the stone jumps in the dark, regardless of what kind of light(s) you are running, gives the illusion that you are jumping off into a dark, black chasm. It took a little convincing of myself to commit. Fortunately, my trail memory served me well and there are no chasms to speak of.
Reassured, I continued to not brake (much). The fat tires were underinflated for the resulting g-forces and complained loudly. In one heart-spiking moment, both tires folded under. ...and snapped back.
"OK, cowboy," I told myself. "Time to dial it back."
Now it was just the humming of tires, with brief moments of silence as the tires left the ground here and there, all the way to the bottom.
Then it was 2 miles back up, with a few ledgy rocks that'll bust your toe if you mis-time it.
The pace was much more relaxed now as I realized what poor condition I'm in. It gave me a chance to enjoy the nighttime world that continually greeted me just outside my little bubble of light.
Fireflies were emerging.
Raccoons.
One of these (I think)
Brown Organism Bird Beak Adaptation

Lots of toads and frogs.
And not that many bugs.
And then I actually saw another rider; headlight meandering through the dark as if lost. But no - he's on the trail. Even though we were traveling the same direction on the same trail, his light would be suddenly impossibly far away, and then immediately close. I guess my trail memory wasn't that good. Eventually he paused at the base of yet another steep pitch, and I went on ahead. We were within the last 1/2 mile, so I stopped for water at the trailhead to make sure he came out.
From there, I descend a deserted road and I see what looks like a very nappy looking pale deer walking in the road. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) pops into my head, but I soon realize that it's a large sheep that had wandered from the local farm. I herded it back to the farm, but there was no one around to take charge of it so I left it wandering by the barn as the dogs, sheep, and who-knows-what else loudly inquired of my intent.
Beyond that, the road is abandoned, and drops steeply into the valley. It's washed out and rutted, with a narrow corridor down the center between the encroaching walls of greenery, and a really bad low side.
Once back in the valley it's a short ride back to my truck on crushed limestone amidst flashing fireflies and with the rush of the Cuyahoga river right next to me. (and one long, wooden boardwalk that just sounds cool when you ride on it at night)
Wayyy better than sitting home watching TV.

-F
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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45,126 Posts
Cool Woodcock photo. Interesting birds in that they hang in dense forested areas and fly straight up and can maneuver through and between trees with ease. Take note of the location of their eyes on the skull. On top so they can fly straight up and away.

Edit-From wiki: Woodcock have large eyes located high in the head, and their visual field is probably the largest of any bird, 360° in the horizontal plane and 180° in the vertical plane.

And tasty too, my dad used to hunt them.

A nice photo and a prime candidate for this thread.
Glad you lived to tell the tale. ;)
 

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Great write-up, wayyy better read than watching TV!
I've got a few of those birds in my woodlot, I know people hunt them but I can't imagine that they have much meat on their bones!
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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45,126 Posts
Great write-up, wayyy better read than watching TV!
I've got a few of those birds in my woodlot, I know people hunt them but I can't imagine that they have much meat on their bones!
Yeah, amazing tasting birds but it takes two per person for a meal.
 
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