Sunday, October 26, 2008

Taking a break on a warm day

Rain lashed the house overnight as a 60 mile-per-hour gale raked the treetops while we slept, vividly dreaming. Morning's gray-filtered light revealed surprisingly small pieces of tree debris for all the rushing noise the wind had made.

The clouds lifted as we ate breakfast. The day warmed rapidly from the mild 40s of the night to something in the neighborhood of 60. After a bit of this and that we headed out for a quick jaunt.

Pine River Road runs close to the river from which it gets its name, but you only see it twice: once at the bridge on Elm Street shortly before you turn onto Pine River Road, and again from a hill overlooking the flood plain back toward the Green Mountain massif.

The Hausberg in autumn gold

To add a couple of miles to the loop we went across Route 16 toward Center Ossipee so we could take Annie Nichols Road over to Dore Street. It's a short diversion, but Annie Nichols Road runs beside Beech River, which is both a pretty and an interesting stream. Beech River starts at the Beech Ponds on a ridge north of Wolfeboro, flows down into Garland Pond in a large wetland complex and continues through the glacial till of the valley floor through Center Ossipee to join the Pine River.

The cellist loops back under the railroad line to see what's holding me up. Conveniently, this puts her in the frame for the shot I wanted. Beech River is on the right.

Just past the railroad underpass we turned right on Dore Street. Along there we saw the homes of successful bowhunters with deer in various stages of disassembly hung out front. A dog charged noisily at us from an overgrown side yard, but must have been chained or fenced. A child giggled at the thought of us dismembered. We pedaled sedately through the balmy afternoon.

From the village of Center Ossipee we dropped down to pick up Route 25 east. We caught the tailwind there, too. It booted us about four miles down to where Green Mountain Road comes out opposite 153 north. We turned there to close the loop. The hilly contours and surrounding forest kept the wind from hindering us, so the tailwind we'd enjoyed was basically free.

To avoid a nasty wall, we peeled off to the left on Winter Road, a more gradual climb along a small stream ravine. It's barely more than 100 yards and well worth it. On Winter Road some friends passed us in their VW van to drop some friendly harassment. They turned left at High Watch Road. We wondered if they were going hiking up there or if they'd made a wrong turn.

Several miles farther around the mountain, we saw another friend of ours, standing in her front yard with her Airedale, so we stopped to chat. She had her pets out for a romp. Her smaller terrier and one cat came to join us. As we talked, we saw the van with our friends in it. They had made a wrong turn. For some reason, people don't realize they need to cut further back to the right to regain Green Mountain Road after Winter Road. Several people have told me they went left at that next intersection. Fortunately the paved road peters out into a logging road, so they don't drive all the way to Maine before figuring it out.

The sun keeps sinking. The weather keeps trying to turn cold. Riding days must get fewer and fewer or at least more logistically challenging. Even the warm days are short. Grab what you can get.

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