Being a full-time student for the past five years slowly and surely reduced the amount of the free time and made it difficult to devote myself to my two biggest passions. Today, I got plenty of roller blading and a decent amount of photography time, too. Thank you, Raleigh!
ALL TIMES SKATING ADVENTURE
I was really impressed by the Neuse River Trail last week, so I decided to return. However, this time I took a bus (two buses, actually, as I had to change once) to save me some miles and hopefully allow me to spend more time skating along the Neuse River. The bus ride worked out rather smooth – I did not miss “my” bus stop this time. However, had not I been to that neighborhood earlier, it would have been more adventurous. The total time was about an hour and the ride gave me a chance to see a bit of Raleigh downtown once more as well as a somewhat remote neighborhood.
I put my skates on in the Worthdale Park as there were some nice rocks just inviting me to do so.
From there, I took the somewhat familiar path to the very end (ehm, beginning) of the Walnut Creek Trail that I am fairly familiar with by now. About half a mile from where the Walnut Creek Trail disappears and the asphalt under ones feet or wheels of any size becomes the Nuese River Trail is a tricky yet beautiful combination of a wooden bridge, downhill and a sharp turn. This is how I captured it:
Having finally reached the Neuse River Trail (well, it did not take so long and it was an enjoyable ride providing me with opportunities to see some more unusual plants in the wetlands), I again faced the same dilemma: Should I go to the left or to the right? A week ago I had taken the left turn and liked it, so I did the same today. I crossed several bridges and occasionally, I even could see the river. My pleasant ride, however, came to an end mere three miles later: construction work ahead – detour. The detour meant gravel and up the hill. As far as I could see, it did not seem any better, so after a minute of thinking whether to take my skates off and walk some, I turned back, determined to explore what the other stretch of the trail would offer me.
Indeed, there was quite some! Several more bridges and nice surroundings, although I never saw the river again. Later on, I reached the Anderson Park where so far excellent signage worsened. I had no idea whether it was the end of the trail or which of many paths I should take to add some more miles to today mileage. I never figured out if it was the end of the Neuse River Trail but all of the park paths met at one point on the other side of the park. There, I had two options again.
I eliminated the trail that was rather narrow, right next to the road (without a barrier of any sort) and a promise of some serious downhill. The other way to go (other than give up again and return) was the Crabtree Creek Greenway. I liked it very much – it was decently hilly and of a perfect difficulty – not too flat and straight (i.e. perfect to get tired of constant speed and constant direction), yet not too hilly with too sharp turns (i.e. a chance of killing yourself). Once the trail disappeared in deeper forest and the above mentioned criteria were not so true any more, I turned back. It will take me some time to get back home and it is getting “hotter than hot” anyway.
On the way back I ate my peach (a product of the US) that meanwhile ripened a second time in my backpack. The Anderson Park seemed a right place to have my lunch: bagel with wanna-be cheese. I took a slight detour to a scenic overview to enjoy my refreshment break. The reality was that I swallowed the “scenic hook” again (after doing the mistake at lake Johnson a few weeks ago). It was an effort to get there but nothing, absolutely nothing, to see in reward. I swear, I will not fall for it again!
The original plan was to take the bus back downtown and another one from there. (Un)fortunately, I missed the bus super closely. I could have either wait for an hour (and cook) or keep skating (and cook but little breeze, too). As I did not skate enough to be downtown on time to catch the subsequent bus without much waiting, I decided to finish the whole route. I managed without much trouble but I sure was glad to take my skates off after skating for another, originally unplanned, 8 km.
Wildlife-wise it was beyond my Czech average: only a dead snake, two does (somewhat exciting to see two at once) and probably a coyote. The later one confused me a bit, it looked like a smaller version of the coyote I saw last week but its fur color was bit different and its head might have resembled fox. I wish I knew what I had met.
When tracking the route of the day, Google said it was 55 km long. I thus improved my personal best again and realized that my limits might be further than I had thought only a few weeks ago. I also got an idea when roller blades I am accustomed to so well and have been using for so long get little uncomfortable. It takes some three hours. Without the stupid (but beautiful) wooden bridges, it probably takes longer. As much fun as it was, I wished someone familiar with the trail(s) had been with me – I would have gotten a clue which parts would be the best and where it would be worth climbing some hills or taking the skates off for a while. Nevertheless, I think I still cold find very nice places to skate. And I really glad for that, especially as Raleigh seemed absolutely hopeless in this regard only seven weeks ago.
Exceeding the limit of 50 km a day and knowing it may not happen any soon, this performance deserves a bit of analysis. Especially, since I did not meet any other roller blader (today as well as ever). Here it is:
What made this skating experience an outstanding one, was the number of people (especially cyclists) on the trails. I had never been greeted by so many unknown people in such a short time. Sometimes, I am tired of questionably honest queries about my well-being or wishes of “a good one.” However, a little nod to someone with obviously the same interest/passion (i.e. exercise) is pleasing, encouraging and definitely worth adopting.
NC STATE CAMPUS THROUGH THE LENS OF MY
Though I was sure there would be no more activities today, at 5 PM I was out again. Destination? NC State Central Campus. Reason? Photography. The biggest obstacle were not, surprisingly, my tired legs and feet but the heat. Nevertheless, I still had very nice almost three hours. Some of the buildings I have been passing by for two months now deserved more than just a brief glance and I did my best to capture their beauty. I also discovered a lovely park and a palace-resembling building. For the first time, I took the time to rad about the history of the campus’ famous Memorial Belltower. Apparently, it is even possible to go inside.