Sat, Apr 9 2005 - Cherry Blossom Bike Tour (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Katie Stofer, Sarah Keast, Chris Eacho, Lucas Fisher, Walt Meyer, Christine Larsen, Stacey Kittner, colleen wade|
The height of the festival was truly spectacular this year. Gorgeous sunny skies greeted us and the bazillion other people out for the blossoms that Saturday.
Nearly 60 people total showed up for the bike rides between our group and other enthusiasts from as far as PA. Thankfully, we had warned the park rangers and they were able to have two leaders. Our MOC group got slightly split due to some confusion, but I think we all had a great time anyway--the rangers were super-knowledgeable.
We rode a route somewhat similar to the geology tour in December: out to Haines Point with several stops along the way to peruse different varieties of trees (there are 12 in all): akebono, yoshino (the whitest blossoms), and the weeping, pinkish purple blossomed trees dominate (if I read my notes right--scribbling on bike handles is not the most legible) the 3075 total trees. We learned about the five-stage bud process, which allows for a longer blossom season than just the peak the festival is planned around. Some of the varieties peak a few weeks later, so if you are not interested in fighting the crowds you can still enjoy a good deal of color after the main rush.
We heard the history of the trees' donation and their plantings all around the basin. The rangers also told us of people who, annoyed by beavers during past festivals, have actually asked the rangers to remove them, either not realizing it is a natural area or not caring. But the beavers aren't going away.
We made our way back around to the monument area and to the site of the first tree and commemorative plaque, speeding past cars stuck in long lines trying to navigate around the area and sending waves of CO2 and CO at us and the lovely blossoms. Throngs of people led us to off-road on the grass a bit, until the people were taking up all the grass as well and we had to walk a little. We finished by getting filmed by a local news crew as we listened to the ranger (we skipped the last part of the trip up to the White House because of the massive crowds of people). Definitely a worthwhile tour, and very easy riding.
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