Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bike Crash!

When looking for things to do around Texarkana, we got the advice that Bringle Lake Park was a good place to take a walk. We were pleasantly surprised that they also had a disc golf course, and a mountain bike trail. Even better, the first part of the bike trail was rated as easy, and that certainly describes Denisa's level of mountain biking skill. According to the map, if we felt really good about our easy ride, there was also an intermediate loop that we could try.

So we put on our bike helmets and took off on the easy mountain bike loop. There were a few ups and downs to get our heart rate up, but we were having a great ride through the trees.

We had crossed a couple wooden bridges, but they had been flat. Then we came around a curve to see this bridge. It's hard to tell in the picture, but it has a steep angle as the bridge goes up and over a six-foot deep ditch. So we really had to pedal hard to get up that first section. To make it more complicated, we were coming from a dirt section, where the traction was quite different than the wood.

All those things were racing through Denisa's head as she approached, and she thought how awful it would be to lose her balance and fall off this bridge. She's not sure what exactly happened, but she got to the highest point, and did just that.

She screamed as she saw she was going off the edge. Mark had made it successfully over the bridge (of course), and he turned around just in time to see her plummet over the side. We sure wish we had a video, as that would be really interesting to see.

He jumped off his bike and over the bridge as fast as he could. Based on what he saw, he was pretty sure there were going to be some broken bones under that bridge. He was already preparing to call 9-1-1, and he snapped some interesting pictures as he was taking his phone out of his pocket.

Somehow the bike landed on top of Denisa, and she was lying on the ground beneath it. We were both a little surprised that all of Denisa's appendages seemed to be working. After Mark moved her bike, we even got pictures of the spot she landed. The bridge was about six feet off the ground, and she was another five feet up on her bike when she fell. So she's counting that as a 10+ foot fall.

It was a slow trip back to the car. The first thing that started hurting were her arms. Obviously, no one is supposed to be under that bridge where the brambles and thorns are thick. Her unprotected arms were sliced up pretty good. She was surprised to find other scratches, but we aren't photographing every where.

The bike seemed to land mostly on her right leg, and she'll be wearing the bumps and bruises on her thigh for weeks. But we both feel so thankful that we won't be visiting the emergency room in Texarkana, and Mark didn't have to make that call to 9-1-1. Denisa wants to say that she must be really good at sticking a landing. But Mark thinks her guardian angel was flying low, protecting her this day.

She's walking a little stiff, and her lower back is complaining about the fall. But a hot shower washed away the mud and a couple ibuprofen and ice packs started the healing. Mark's adrenaline rush from seeing the accident take place might have made the whole experience harder on him than her. So we won't be biking for a few days, but we are happy to say that we went hiking the very next day. 

We took a drive south of Texarkana to Lake Wright Patman. Just like other lakes we've visited lately, this one is flooded out of its normal banks. The street light is clearly not supposed to be in the water. The guard rail in the picture below is for a road that no one will be driving down for quite some time. Many of the campgrounds are under water here, which is the reason we ended up in town at a private RV park, rather than in a state or national park like we prefer.

We visited Atlanta State Park to do some hiking to see what Denisa's leg could do after her crash. The best trail in the park had just had a controlled burned five days earlier, so it was a scorched kind of walk. We thought it was interesting to see that the trail was perfectly left unscathed while everything was black around it. Nothing can burn without fuel, and there was no fuel on this well-worn path. One other advantage to our hike is that we didn't see any of those pesky mosquitoes that have been plaguing us lately.

We had lots of questions about controlled burns as we walked down this trail. So we were glad to find two rangers clearing burned debris that had fallen on the trail. We found out that they are still monitoring smoldering logs and fallen trees five days after the fire. The burn was set to clear out the brambles and bushes that choke a forest when modern practices don't allow naturally-occurring lightning fires to take care of this problem. So the two rangers are part of a team that travel all over this part of the state to do controlled burns that clean up forests. They did say that this one burned hotter than usual, when we asked why the needles of many of the pine trees were turning brown.

We're guessing that the wildlife don't appreciate the benefits of this burn right now. We found this perfect paw print going across the unburned trail.

The trees outside of the burn area are looking healthy and doing what trees do in the spring. We are continually amazed by the amount of pollen as we live in this forested part of the country. This yellow powder covers our car and motor home, and the sidewalks around the park.

We keep moving to keep that pollen from covering us as well. So in spite of bike crash injuries, we're on the road once again! But we don't want to go too far or too fast because we want to take that guardian angel along with us.

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