November 29, 2014
Pilant Slough Trail. Wheels turning on slightly damp fine gravel paths. Watch out, I say to the little one, watch out for the rocks in the path. Stay on one side of the trail, announce yourselves to the pedestrians, tread lightly, go quietly.
We step off the path for a moment. Tiny ruby-crowned kinglet (#122) forages on upper branches. We find things to marvel at; a big creepy bug, spider webs, a little frog inside a split log, ammo cans with fun swag. Forest opens up into a clearing, grass and weeds about waist high. Eventually we cross a bridge and then we are approaching the wide path that loops around Elm Lake.
Along the islands in the middle of Elm Lake, gators are stretched out like old tires across the landscape. People are out walking slowly along the path, stopping to point or take pictures of those ever-present mascots of this park. Great flocks of black bellied whistling ducks make a racket along the shoreline next to them. Common moorhens are standing in the water feeding. American Coots are moving in between the islands. A Pied-billed Grebe or two (#123) ducks its head into the water as we approach.
We make our way all around the lake. The little one, who really isn’t all that little anymore, starts pretending like his legs were going to come off from so much pedaling. How much further, he asks. We’re almost there. Around the parking lot, just around this watchtower, just past this bridge, just around this corner, and then we are climbing a small hill ascending to the Nature Center, where we left our car. He is just dying, so we slow down, walk, park our bikes and go inside to see snakes and pet the baby alligators.
On the way home, we stop at the stop sign to the main road home. A line of bikers are trying to turn left to go towards the park, and we aren’t in a particular hurry. Jason is trying to get a visual on the red bird in the bushes, a Scarlet Tanager (#124).
In the end, it was less than three miles by bike, but felt like forever for an eight year old who needs more bike rides. On the way home, still feeling adventurous, we try a new asian fusion place near our house, which suddenly is everyone’s favorite. Maybe we can go again next weekend; for a ride, to the park, to Akashi. This was the sweet spot for our holiday weekend.