It was a beautiful morning for a mountain bike ride, and I was fully immersed in greenery and birdsong. Over the past few weeks wildflowers came into bloom and have filled the sides of the trails with color. Whites, pinks, purples, and the periodic Jack in the Pulpit.
It seems like only a few weeks ago it was still more brown than green and suddenly the world has turned into a jungle. While riding you almost wonder if you're going blindly into the unknown as the plant life is high enough that it has started to obstruct the view ahead. It really does look like the trail completely disappears sometimes, like you're riding off the edge of the Earth. Corners start to feel a bit more blind. The world is wild; you can hear, see, and smell it.
I thought back to my days of grade school and remembered one year when we decorated our classroom in a rain forest motif. I wondered where all of the creatures were- it was fantastical. The main difference is that the trees aren't cardboard and paper and everything is living, not just imagination.
This time of year mountain biking starts to feel more like you're taking a chance when ripping around corners. Leaves now obstruct my vision and I go on faith that I will not collide with another rider (or walker/hiker/runner.)
Riding our singletrack when it's so alive is special, and it's something you should take the time to experience. You are whisked away into an entirely different world than typical city parks. You are out in the woods seeing squirrels and chipmunks scurrying around madly. Sometimes you'll see the resident trail deer standing a few yards away from you. You feel energized and thankful even if you're tired. It's liberating! Simply being able to be out in nature and absorbing the sights and sounds makes me appreciate the simple things.
Step out into the Northeast Iowa jungle and feel like part of the wilderness!