Friday, July 12, 2013

Campbell Creek Path Under Seward Highway, Yellow Pond Lilies, Moose in Cow Parsnips and an All Around Beautiful Day

 I can't remember so much warm (into the 70s) weather over a summer.  We've had good spells, but nothing like most of June and a good start in July.  So when B suggested a bike ride today to the Coastal trail, I readily agreed.

I wanted to see how the bike trail they're building under the Seward Highway is doing.  It's blocked off for now, but here's what they've got so far.

It seems the basic trail pad is done, now they just have to pave it.

Though they've taken a perfectly charming path through the bushes and made it as much like freeway as you can do for a bike path.

This could be done by the end of the summer as the project manager told me last year.

You can already ride UNDER Dowling Road.  Though this big black thing adds nothing for me.  Again, superhighway bike trails.   Yet we don't have money for school lunches. I know, the money comes from separate budget allocations from the feds, but still.  [UPDATE 9/10/13:  I learned these are to keep snow plows on the road above from dumping snow on people on the trail.  See this updated post.]

Ducks at Taku Lake

The lily pond is in Pamela Joy Lowry Memorial Park - at the north end of Arlene from Dimond High.  A little gem of a neighborhood park. 
The National Park Service  gives some background on the Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar polysepalum) 

. . . Another interesting metabolic adaptation found in Nuphar is anaerobic respiration, which is respiration without oxygen. This process allows the plant to respire using no oxygen in the process, which is a very useful adaptation in the oxygen-poor environment found in standing water such as ponds and lakes. Anaerobic respiration is a complex chemical process that results in the production of ethanol (the same alcohol that you find in mixed drinks) within the plants cells. Ethanol is a poisonous substance in the plant and must be excreted away quickly in order to avoid harm to tissues. One way this toxin is removed is by evaporating the alcohol back up through the balloon-like aerenchyma cells to the surface of the water. One common name for a closely related yellow pond lily in Europe is "brandy-bottle" because of the strong smell of alcohol coming from its flowers (which are at the end of long, tube-like stems filled with aerenchyma tissue). This plant forms large tubers that sprout new clusters of leaves in the spring when ponds and lakes thaw after the long winter. These tubers are storage organs for the sugars that the plant produces each summer – they can be eaten after roasting or boiling, and are quite tasty!

 We passed this bench inside Kincaid Park.  A nice way to remember a young man who liked the guitar.

This is for Jeremy who likes all things electrical.  I liked the quality and message of the graffiti.  We're not sure what this was for, though there was a long trench out toward the inlet on the other side of the trail, and B speculated it might have something to do with the windmills out on Fire Island.

There was a bunch of spruce grouse chicks and then I saw the hen between the trees.

Nothing special here, I just like birch trees.

I continue to be amazed at how well moose can hide in plain sight. These are huge animals, yet they can merge in with the scenery.  I would have gone right past this one without seeing it if B hadn't called it to my attention.  Even though its hind quarters were practically sticking out onto the bike trail.

Would you know there was a moose in there amongst the cow parsnip?  Still can't see it?

Here's a closer look.

 The cow parsnip must have been really good, because he didn't seem to mind all the bikes zooming by with a few feet of his behind.  

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