Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Riding through Feta Cheese

Sunday I was sore from trailwork Saturday. Got a slow start drinking coffee and making old man noises every time I had to get up from my chair. But the day was beautiful, kissed with a good solid batch of moisture from a late afternoon rain. 

Clouds were starting to build, so I decided I better do something if I was going to do anything. I rode up into the Arkansas Hills, North Backbone Trail out to Ute Trail and up to do the Cottonwood loop.

There were some kind of sinister-looking clouds up the road, so I mustered as much energy as I could to keep it going. One of the clouds was drifting west to east into my path. When I was about halfway up the 40 minutes of Ute Trail to the turn-off, little rectangular pellets of graupel (I've been calling it graffle for years--thank you wikipedia!) starting falling, hundreds of feet apart.

As I continued to climb, they kept getting a little bigger and a little closer together. 

When I turned off onto 181 they started being a little more like a snow storm than like a thin shower of confetti. Usually I see graupel as little balls, like the styrofoam scraps that fall out if you tear hard styrofoam apart. But these were rectangular/angular. And now they were starting to be bigger. By the time I was on the jeep road to the Cottonwood turnoff, they were falling thick and accumulating. They reminded me of the chunks of feta cheese you would see on your greek salad. Every size between tiny and as big as the end of your thumb.

I didn't take any pictures of that funny graupel. I was really thinking that forward motion was a better idea than stopping to take pictures, especially since I was wearing a cotton t-shirt and shorts. The shell was in my pack and I would have stopped to put it on if I'd gotten any colder, but the leg warmers were home. I also was out of water. 

My preparation for this ride wasn't stellar--I blame the trail work.

As usual, the weather was milder once I got into the bottom of Cottonwood Gulch. And then I rode out of it entirely. The sun was shining brightly when I rolled past this blooming claret cup near the bottom.


claret cup

Ah, Springtime in the Rockies. 


Ed said...



Shane said...

Graupel grovel?

Nice job on the trail work too! I look forward to seeing you bright and early for the SPDF this saturday (hopefully with a bit better prep) ;)