Another summer is gone, and autumn is upon us. I don't really have a 'favorite' season, but there is so much to love about fall - the cooler temps, the color and smell of the leaves, the undergrowth dying back so that you can see the contour of the land. But there is that one big drawback - it's dark for more than half the day.
And that drives me nuts. I have a bag full of bright lights - and I use them - but there are just a lot of things you can't do in the dark (like paddling whitewater) and many places that you're not allowed to use in the dark. So it gets a lot harder to get out as often as I'd like. But in Ohio most of the state parks allow night time use of the trails for legitimate park purposes, and there are some counties that allow night use of their rail trail systems, so there are some recreational possibilities still left for those of us who feel the need to get out there.
|Perfect conditions for a bike ride.|
|Gotta watch where you ride at night - drop off ahead, trail turns right.|
|First tire tracks.|
The paved trails also occasionally attract frogs, maybe because the pavement is still slightly warm. And these guys just totally freeze when the light falls on them. That means I have to keep my eyes peeled on the trail, because I'm not too fond of the idea of flattening frogs under my tires. But it does give me a chance to get a good photo now and again.
|What'choo looking at??!?|
|Spotted his eyes reflecting my lights on Little Beaver Creek Greenway.|
The first thing is reflectors, usually the amber ones that come on bike pedals. Beginner mountain bikers often don't realize that not only are these reflectors useless in the woods, but they also have a tendency to break off and end up in the undergrowth along the trail. There they stay, hidden - until someone goes out with lights on for a night ride. Then the lights pick them up, so every now and then an amber sparkle lets me know that another 'rookie reflector' is littering the trail.
|That amber sparkle.|
|Picked up off the trail, and headed to the recycling bin.|
|No reflections from these guys eyes! Salamander on West Branch State Park mtb trail.|
I'm going to finish up this post with a short gallery of night riding pictures from the last couple of years.
|Sunset fades over West Branch Reservoir on the drive into the trails.|
|On the return leg of a Little Beaver Creek Greenway ride. That downed tree wasn't there on the way out.|
|Twilight over the lake, but black as night in the woods.|
|Riding up to the tunnel mouth on Sandy Creek Trail, with the reflectors inside visible.|
|Night riding in the a snow squall.|