On the Pumpkinvine Trail
As fall slowly approaches, one of our favorite ways to exercise is biking on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. We sometimes ride in the morning, when the sun is full and the shade trees along the trail shelter us from its strong rays. Most often, we ride in the evening, when the sun is ending its journey across the sky and leaves ribbons of warm yellow light across the trail.
Our town has done well to provide bicycle access to the trail. For us, it’s an easy ride to and across the railroad tracks and right onto the trail. As we start our ride, we enter into another world and leave behind the worries of work, the busyness of the day, the frustrations that are part of our human experience. Rather, we are welcomed into the realm of the natural world, where acorns and walnuts are just starting to drop and ragweed is in full bloom. A chipmunk skitters across the path right in front of my bicycle. A toad scampers into the undergrowth as we fly by. But mostly, we soak in the coolness of the trees lining the way, the soft sound of drying leaves rustling, the bright green moss edging the path, the crunch of gravel as the tires roll on.
After a couple of miles, we enter the farmland zone where corn and soybeans replace the trees. At this time of year, the corn is at its highest. It stands straight and creates a screen between us and the rest of the world. As we bike through it, it seems to go on endlessly. And then, there are the wildflowers and more woods. Our bikes move at a steady pace, almost on autopilot, as the air flows around us and the miles go by.
Sometimes we talk as we ride but often, we fall into the rhythm of the pedals and bike and look and take the scenery in. As we shift landscapes, we smell the difference. That damp, earthy scent makes way to a drier, softer smell. A hawk swoops over us as we glide down the hill.
Fall is on the way: leaves start to float down on us as we pedal and some already pile across sections of the trail. As we turn back towards town, our breathing is a little heavier and our bodies are warmed up, like well-oiled machines. We push on through that final straightaway and emerge back into the noise of trains and cars. It’s time to think about making supper and take on the tasks that we left behind when we entered the trail. Today, I’m trying a new sangria recipe so I can use up some of my last quarts of last year’s canned Concord grapes. Its taste refreshes us after our exercise and it carries the taste of autumn with it. Here’s to more glorious fall days on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.
And here’s the recipe for the Sangria.
2 quarts of home canned grapes, strained
1 c. Rosé wine (I use one from Provence)
1 small can 7-up
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
Put all the ingredients in a pitcher. Stir gently. Refrigerate and serve with ice.