Sometimes it’s best to take the offense on a birthday. Like with the one I had last week… I wasn’t excited. In fact my enthusiasm was basically undetectable. Which seemed kind of pathetic in light of the limited nature of birthdays… In the end though, I had to square my shoulders and face it down.
And I rode Kokosing Gap Trail, one my favorite rail-to-trail bike paths.
Kokosing follows an old Pennsylvania Railroad line and can get you to the “middle of nowhere” fast. The trail first rolls along beside the Kokosing River through shaded woods and over intricately patterned ironwork bridges. The scenery then alternates between woods and farmland as the trail takes you from Mt Vernon to Gambier, Howard, and then finally, to its dead-end in Danville Ohio.
Official points of interest include the Brown Family Environmental Center, a restored and fun-to-explore Alco steam locomotive, Kenyon College, the Howard tunnel, numerous bridges and a playground.
Unofficial items of interest that I shared with my friend that afternoon were the spot where a large box turtle had sat the last time I rode through, the farm field where I’d watched a kid driving lap after lap in a dilapidated blue sedan, and the devoted cadre of volunteers who maintain sections of the path with baskets of garden tools on the backs of their bikes.
The 28-mile ride flew by far too quickly. Next time we’ll ride up into the Kenyon College campus, bring a lunch and hike a side trail. But it made for a really wonderful afternoon. My friend commented that I smiled even when racing as fast as I could go. Truth is, I was probably smiling because I was riding as fast as I could.
I couldn’t outrace another birthday, but at least I can keep up with it.
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