….I’m outside moving under my own power. It’s when my best ideas percolate to the top. It’s when I can sort things out in my head without really trying too hard. It recharges me. It’s meditative. It doesn’t have to necessarily be on a bike. It can happen while walking around my neighborhood or hiking on the trails near my house.
Today I worked a half day. Came home. Worked on a project for while. And ran some errands related to the project. By late afternoon I was back home. The sunshine was calling to me and I found the need to get back outside. After a snowy week last week, the weather has finally turned the corner towards Spring. With the temperature creeping up above 50, I really had to take advantage of it. A ride in the sunshine would help me sort a few things out concerning my project. When I want to ride and think and not worry about traffic and intersections etc, I head to the Munger Trail. It’s 2.5 miles from my house and heads south for 70 miles. It climbs slowly out of Duluth on an old railroad grade and is nicely wooded. I can ride and let my mind wander. When I feel like it’s time to head back home, I turn around and it’s a gradual downhill all the way back. Now that I have a smartphone and have been using the app, Ride with GPS, I discovered what seems like barely any climbing on this route in reality is a quite dramatic change in elevation.
I did nearly 1500 ft of climbing without ever feeling like I went up a hill. It’s so gradual.
That may explain why this rail line which the Munger Trail crosses uses extra engines to push trains up this grade. I once read this rail grade is the steepest active railroad grade between here and the Pacific ocean. That includes grades in the Rockies and other western ranges. These two engines were returning back to the Lake Superior basin after helping to push a train up the grade. They were coasting downhill hill here and were nearly silent. On my return I watched another train going up.
Of course we have no green signs of Spring yet. It’s another month before things start budding and leaving out here. We still have reminders of winter, although fewer than normal for this time of year.