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Experiencing The Pine Creek Rail Trail In Early April

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Experiencing The Pine Creek Rail Trail In Early April
By David Ira Kagan

       What is so very special about bicycling, walking or jogging along the Pine Creek Rail Trail at the beginning of April? When your spouse, your friends—even your enemies—tell you that you’re crazy, meshuggener, to be out there at this time of the year? When you need to wear gloves, woolen socks and cap, five layers of clothes, thermal underwear, perhaps even a facemask?
       Well, it’s like this: it’s coming across mountain runs proudly masquerading as waterfalls. It’s fighting against cold, mean-spirited headwinds, and then reveling in the merciful, merry tailwinds. It’s eyeing the swollen, rapid, almost-frightening-if-you-get-too-close waters of Pine Creek.
       It’s discovering hillside ledges with their remaining icicles—sparkling, melting, dripping, and breaking off and shattering below—as you pass by. It’s smiling at the few folks that you meet, most bundled up like you, braving the final rudeness of winter. It’s spotting that rare wild animal (perhaps a porcupine quietly rooting among last year’s leaves at the edge of the trail), after miles of just you.
       It’s maneuvering around washouts, fallen branches, stones and boulders—keeping you more alert than during a merely mesmerizing outing deep into summer. It’s enjoying what is mostly a solitary, quiet communion with Nature, witnessing the amazing transition of seasons. It’s experiencing the bursts of warmth when the sun emerges from behind a cloud.
       It’s stopping to rest and spotting those first, lovely, green shoots rising from the earth. It’s listening to the peepers chirping bravely from their watery recesses, sure of the impending spring.
       It’s feeling your heart pound, your lungs respire, your muscles flex—rejoicing in the fact that that’s good stuff that your body is made out of, that you’re healthy and wonderfully alive.
       It’s arriving back home—exhausted physically; invigorated mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Purring while you take that awesome hot shower. Laughing while you gluttonously but guiltlessly shovel food down to stoke your furnace. Sighing as you easily fall asleep, almost like when you were a kid.
       So shake off your winter torpidity! Engage in some salubrious, al fresco exercise! Start ridding yourself of that ugly steatopygia and unsightly tenterbelly that you allowed to form over the winter!
       Keep your “April in Paris,” Vernon Duke. I’ll take “April in Heaven on the Pine Creek Rail Trail.”

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