The peak of the day was definitely a skating trip to lake Johnson and round it. However, before that could happen, I had to have a breakfast, do grocery shopping and take some rest.
As for breakfast, I probably was hungry but felt tired even to eat – after some thinking I decided to have a turkey sausage, particularly as I brought some bread back from the lab. Let’s just say that my stomach was busy digesting much longer than I ever thought.
I took bus both to the Food Lion and back home, and M was my traveling and shopping companion. I have a feeling I was talking a lot while waiting for the bus and being on board. Is it possible to develop a talking-deficiency when one is alone and awake the whole night? I have not had any time to properly plan my menu for the upcoming week; the only meal planned was chicken and for obvious reasons, I was not really interested in this one. I therefore got some highly universal stuff and I am curious to see what happens if mixed together. I also bought another package of bagels that can be used well as an emergency food. Or a nice snack, so I stock myself prior my departure as there will be no more bagels in the Czech Republic.
Surprisingly, the shopping was done well by noon. It should have been a great news but instead, I was worried about half a day ahead without any need to go to the lab. How strange to have so much free time after being there seven days in a row. In spite of little sleep and messed circadian rhythm of mine, my skating enthusiasms has not abandoned me, and encouraged by Mrs. C and Mr. R to go to lake Johnson, I knew this would be my plan. Having worked on my first bagel from the fresh batch, I had little over an hour long after-lunch nap. I set to go for another skating adventure pretty much immediately after waking up – there were some not too optimistic clouds out there and the forecast chances of rain were few tens of percent in not too long.
Equipped with Mrs. C’s hand-written map and having passed the trail in her car only a couple of days ago, I did not struggle too much to get on the trail. It was just annoying to break all the time and stop entirely way too often, so I would not hopefully kill myself before reaching the lake. Once I was on the trail, my life got significantly easier – the only obstacles were some mud on the trail and one road crossing but it was not busy at this time of the day.
In not too long, I was standing at the lake’s shore, having to decide whether to go to the left or right. I was not given any instructions for this part and for some reason turned left. There, the adventure started! It was the most hilly trail I have ever been too. I probably would not have enough time to admire the lake (especially when going downhill) but I did not have to worry about it at all. There was nothing to be seen. Neither the Scenic Loop had any reward in form of breathtaking view for me. All I could see were trees, trees and a dense cover of trees. Eventually, the downhills reached the point when I had to give up as I thought they became too dangerous.
I somehow managed to return back to the fatal fork and gave a try to the other branch of the trail. And there I got it! Beautiful view of the lake! Yet, it took a while to my level of epinephrine to drop down. The early passage of the trail had slopes on either sides of it and there was absolutely no railing. As a result, to end up in the water, it would only take me a short ride downhill and there would be absolutely nothing to stop me. The chances of this actually happening were probably not that low as I was disrupted by the beautiful view of the lake and woods around it. I continued around the lake that way and soon I ended up in the wood again, however, this time I could see some of the lake most of the time. The best part was going across a wooden bridge traversing the lake. There I joined several fishing people. While they did not seem to catch a fish any soon and looked little bored, I admired the beautiful scenery.
The bridge eventually went back to the woods and it did not take too long until I decided I wanted no more downhills. It was a shame not to finish a whole circuit but on the other hand, it was a chance to go across the bridge once more. Before leaving the lake Johnson area, I took a short rest where I thought the view was the best – and that was the dam without any railing or any other kind of safety barrier. There I finally realized how tired and hungry I was. Some of M&Ms Mrs. C gave me the other day turned out to be great fuel for the way back.
Lake Johnson Trail was undoubtedly the busiest of all the trail I have been to so far. It probably helped a lot that it was Sunday but I am pretty sure that it must be a favorite location any day, probably all year long. There were lots of people running and walking, sitting at the shore and enjoying the nice weather, as well as people walking their dogs. In fact, it seems to be the place with highest concentration of dogs which adds one more reason why I may go skating on my favorite Walnut Creek Trail few times more before coming back. But I will be back one day! The lake was too beautiful not to do that.
In terms of awesome skating experience and feelings of smooth riding, the very last stretch of today route (the section of Centennial Trial from Avent Ferry to Varsity Drive) was definitely the best (and also the shortest) part. The asphalt there was as smooth as velvet and I would swear there was absolutely no friction between my wheels and the trial’s surface.
It was a big and demanding skating experience today. When crossing a main road not far from my temporary home I almost did not make it in the limit – even though, normally the signal would give me enough time to cross and return back afterwards. The fried chicken leftovers I had for my supper could not taste better.
All the skating struggle was definitely worth it. Besides the view, my other rewards were a flock of geese and ducks, and a lonesome heron or some of its relatives silently and majestically standing in the water near the shore. I so wished I had had my camera with me. Impressed by the scenery and wildlife round the lake, I plan to come back – for photo-shooting purposes this time. And I will stop on the Centennial trial, too – aiming for pictures of black and white dragonflies.