Posted by: Sally Ingraham | April 11, 2008

Bats, Eagles, and the Road Surfer

I am addicted to distance.

With 13 miles (the equivalent of a half-marathon) officially logged on my new pedometer, I feel that I am well on my way to becoming a long-distance athlete. I am looking forward to a summer filled with all-day hikes, from one side of MDI to the other. This, I feel, will be the summer that I hike every trail in the Park, and perhaps my feet will trip happily down most of the roads as well. No dream is too small, after all. 🙂

Spring Thaw WaterfallMy roommate and I left the house yesterday at 10:30 in the morning, and turned our faces up to the amazing spring sun, reveling in it’s warmth like it was something we had never seen before. Then we began our “monster walk”.

We marched up the Eagle Lake Rd., and slipped around the gate onto the Park Loop Rd. An hour later found us tromping up Cadilac Mt., via the road that I have only ever driven up. Walking it was a whole new experience. We kept up a good pace, but had to stop several times to check out an impromptu waterfall tumbling the spring thaw down the rocks, and two bald eagles spiraling up on an air current from Eagle Lake.

Near the top of the mountain (at about mile 6) we met another human being. He was walking down the road from the parking lot at the summit, wearing knee and elbow pads, straw-hair sticking out from beneath a helmet, a long-board tucked beneath his arm.

“Are you going to ride that down?” I asked.
“I sure am!,” he said. “Er…you’re not rangers are you?”

We laughed and relieved his fears. He showed us how his board worked, and then we parted ways, shouting best wishes back and forth. How I wish we had then had the presence of mind to run out to the Bluehill Overlook and watch the Road Surfer cruise down Cadilac. Ah well…I’ll have to leave it up to my imagination.

We took a token photo at the top of the mountain to commemorate our first assent of the season, and then went tearing down the North Face trail, only slipping and sliding down the last remnants of ice in a few spots.

Back on the Park Loop Rd., we walked out toward Great Meadow, collecting more miles and soaking up sunlight. Coming back in towards town along the Kebo Golf Course, I looked up saw a small bird flying very erratically – for a bird.

“Is that a bat?!” I exclaimed.

It flittered closer to us, and then there was no mistaking it. My roommate, taller than me by a foot I think, ducked instinctively as it flew above us, circled round, and made another pass. I think I ducked too when it came around. It was just too weird to see it, tiny and delicate and FREAKY looking. What was it doing out in the daylight?

The abundant robins began terrorizing the bat, and it zipped off into the woods, leaving us mildly unsettled but pleased with ourselves and the exciting day.

Ledgelawn St. has never seemed so long as it did yesterday afternoon. The last 1/2 mile of our “monster walk” really drove home to me the reality of what I have taken on in the Avon Walk. If it had been the actual walk, I would only have been a third of the way into the thing. Good to know!

Bald EagleBut for yesterday, 13 miles was an accomplishment in itself. As I yawned my way through my shift at Reel Pizza last night, I felt nothing but satisfaction, mixed with a great deal of delight.

It is amazing how every time I go out for a walk, something interesting happens – whether it’s bat sightings, eagles swooping between mountains, or road surfers eagerly doing the thing they’ve been waiting for all winter. Every time, something cool.

I think that’s pretty neat.

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