I took another chilly bicycle ride yesterday, not too long before sunset, and decided to try to avoid the very likely impassable areas of flooding on one of the dirt roads (we had a LOT of rain the previous day) and take a cool path I discovered this past year. It runs for a short distance atop what I have been told is the bed for the old trolley car line which once connected Northampton to Easthampton. Because it sits atop this old raised path, it allows one to circumvent the lower -- and more easily submerged -- parts of the dirt road I usually ride on.
But I'd forgotten that the last time I took this route a few weeks ago, there was a fairly large fallen tree lying across the path. It wasn't so large that it was impossible -- or even difficult -- to stop and lift my bike over, but it bugged me. Once I get on my bike, I like to just roll. Stopping to hoist it over obstacles, however minor, it not my idea of fun.
So I decided to try cutting it with the saw I had with me last time (and which slides neatly into a small, unused space between my bike's seat back and the bag which hangs on the reverse side of that backrest, so I think I will keep carrying it around with me), even though it was of considerable size and the hour was getting kind of late.
But once again, the saw performed admirably, and within about twenty minutes (with a couple of breaks to catch my breath), I'd cut through it.
The two pieces resulting from this surgery were far too heavy for me to lift, but fortunately gravity worked to help one of them tumble part of the way down the side of the embankment, and I was able to wiggle it a little bit further out of the path. Here's a view of the result, looking down the path towards the center of Northampton…
… and another showing the straightness of the path as it heads towards Easthampton. (Actually, this one was taken when I was about halfway through the process of cutting the log... but I like the way it shows the perspective of the path going off into the distance.)
I enjoy imagining what it might have been like when the trolley was running through this area, filled with people in their antique dress. I wonder what might have been on either side -- was it swampy and flooded as it is now? Or were those cultivated fields… or simply beautiful woods What were those people thinking as they rattled and swayed past this scenery?
And then -- after pausing once more to take the photos I used to stitch together this little panorama…
… I rode on through. -- PL