Exercise, glorious exercise

As scheduled, Grace and I went over to Al and Mary Larmann’s house in Canastota at 8:30 AM. Al and Mary have been the main driving force behind the Link Trail for the past thirteen years or so. I recently became a steward of the mile and a half of trail between Irish Hill Road and Damon Road. My section was due for a mowing, for which I’d arranged to borrow Al’s mower.

Al showed me how to start the mower and gave me his field repair kit and a gas can. The mower, with the handle removed, stowed nicely in my trunk. Grace and I drove to Erieville, headed west on Damon Road, and parked at the trailhead. I got the mower started with a little reminder from Grace about the gas flow regulator.

Holmes Road shows up on Google Maps as a straight line running south from Irish Hill Road to Damon Road, although it’s not really a road. It’s more of a truck trail with a blocked southern end. The Link Trail enters the woods east of Holmes Road, meanders through the woods and over two streams, and then joins the road and follows it south for about a half of a mile before crossing Damon. That half of a mile is what I needed to mow.

I knew that I probably wouldn’t get in as much hiking time as I’d like, so I made it as strenous as possible by loading the pack with a gallon of water and a thermos full of tea, in addition to some tools and other odds and ends. I also had to push the mower, since it’s gas-powered but not self-propelled — just the way I like it. I got a good, sweaty workout pushing and pulling the mower up and down the slopes.

I got the feeling that the blade needed sharpening, because I spent a lot of time making two, or sometimes three, passes over the same patch of grass. I never stalled the mower, though, and I finished the entire section on one tank of gas.

An insect in the genus Lygus

An insect in the genus Lygus

With the mowing done, I took a Zone Bar and tea break. Then we proceeded to walk the entire length of the trail, replacing the blazes that had been torn down in a recent act of vandalism. I also got some great macro shots. Overall it was a good bit of exercise: not enough to compensate for a big eat-whatever-I-want day, but not bad.


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