Today’s ride was meant to be more like exercise. I focused on keeping a steady pedal cadence for the outbound leg of my ride. I started from home, worked my way to NE 4th, dropped down through Bricktown (no more construction on my route — yay), and hit the north bank River Trail. All the way to Portland I worked on the cadence, and then turned around by flipping over to the south bank. I pushed a little less hard on the way back, but didn’t see anything calling my name until I got to that lovely spot where the trees screen the river. Today the trees are beyond bud and into small leaves.
In the background of that image were some white cranes. I spooked them and had to wait awhile for them to settle before moving out to pick them up with telephoto. Unlike the geese, who wander all up and down the river in small herds all year long, the cranes are seasonal and tend to come back to the same spots every year. This happens to be one of their big favorites, just below the last dam on the rowing area.
I stopped to visit the mystery on my final leg toward home, in Ray Trent Park. While the red buds aren’t visible yet, they have just begun to appear. Meanwhile, the tree is in full bloom, covered in pinkish-white flowers. Some have already begun to brown.
It’s not so much a mystery any more. This close-up shows the distinct look of apple blossoms. The sweet aroma was also unmistakably apple, so we can confirm this is a type of crabapple tree. This tree has a friend nearby with a pretty chewed up trunk, but it’s the same breed of crabapple and it’s flower scent was even stronger.
Now let me switch back to my hike yesterday on the Barnes Park trail system. I spotted the evidence of beavers in the area where I used to do part of my heavy workout (recall the shoulder arthritis no longer permits such workouts). This section of Soldier Creek has a natural stone dam, so I don’t think there’s any intent to add an additional dam just yet. As I walked along both sides of the bank, I spotted other trees, all of them the same type, all with marks of beaver gnawing. My guess is they are preparing to build a lodge on this already damed section. The other end of this tree has large limbs chewed off. The teeth marks as you can see are long scrapes with large teeth and pretty deep, so it’s at least one full-sized adult, and probably a whole family or two.
I’m waiting to see if MWC Parks will leave them in peace. It’s odd to see Oklahoma beavers in an urban park like this, but not unheard of. Here’s hoping the dogs don’t mess with them. It should be an interesting project to watch their progress. I had a chance to study beavers a bit in college as part of biology classes; there was a large colony under watch by the teaching assistants. You may see more about this colony on Soldier Creek.