Sunday, April 12, 2015

Finishing the ATT

E and I finished walking the American Tobacco Trail yesterday with our friend Z. S dropped us off on Pittard Sears Road, then parked the car at the south end of the trail and went for a 54-mile bike ride. E, Z, and I walked 8.8 miles to the car.

This is the first time I've seen this stretch of the ATT, and I think it's the loveliest part, being quieter and far less developed than the miles through Durham. Dogwoods were abundant and in full bloom.

Dragonflies were also out in full force. I watched a giant dragonfly carrying a beetle carcass; it landed under a dogwood blossom, and I was able to get an impressively decent photo from about 20 feet away, thanks to the wonders of digital camera technology.

Also out in full force were the pollen pixies. We're now in the midst of pine-pollen season; the golden grains dusted everything, including spider webs.

While the boys paused on a bench for a snack, I took photos of tree trunks.

We had gotten a later-than-intended start and were running late for a birthday bash for friends later in the afternoon. After our leisurely start and our bench break, the boys looked at the time and significantly picked up the pace. Having long legs put them at a distinct speed advantage.

To amuse themselves, E and Z sang "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" all the way from 99 down to zero. Getting to zero was a first for both of them; to honor the occasion, they shifted from a breezy Allegro to a dramatic Maestoso tempo for the final ten bottles. Around bottle # 26, we passed through a tunnel under Highway 64.

A mile or two from the end of the trail, we came across a small group of bicyclers who had just moved a young snapping turtle off the trail.

About three hours after we started, we reached the end of the trail. Ta da!

Our ATT experience has me eager to find other routes for long-distance mom-son bonding walks, but I think local options are pretty limited. Suggestions are welcome!

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