Thirsty Thursday: Swamp Things

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: North Coast Brewing Co. Pranqster Belgian Style Golden Ale

Thirsty Thursday snuck up on us this week, and what's worse, due to crazy long bike rides, a weekend bbq/party, and general busyness, we've hardly gotten out to take photos recently. Eeeek! So I had to go back in the archives today to find something to talk about this Thursday.

Over the weekend I was hanging out with a lot of my old cycling friends. We had a few discussions about my preparation for the upcoming Leadville 100 in a little over a month, and inevitably comparisons were made to training last year in flat, humid, swampy Lousyana versus this year's training in the coastal mountains of California. These discussions made me think back to those icky rides on the otherwise incredibly fun singletrack loops around Shreveport, LA. Places like Bodcau Bayou and the Monkey Trail were very well maintained and super fun to ride, but came with unique "environmental enhancements" like snakes (on the ground and in trees), gators, spiders, thick spider webs, mutant mosquitoes, and fire ants to help keep the heart rate higher than the target training zone. Throw in some poison oak for good measure, too. It was the only place I've ever been in which I swore nature hated me.

However, if you slathered on enough DEET and looked at the swamps right, there was some beauty to be found. Or at least something unique to photograph. Here are a few examples.

The lines on the trees in the photo below are high water marks. There was a major flood in this area a few months before I took this photo. Closed the mountain bike trails there, too.

This sign was in the campground where I stayed on Barksdale AFB after I sold and moved out of our house. There were gators there. The totally awesome white trash camper I stayed in for a week was about 100 yards from this sign. Massey was on a short leash during our stay.

And this little bayou was behind the above sign. I took this photo from a road that I frequented on my road bike and saw gators lurking in the water on several occasions. Luckily I always saw them in the water in this particular spot.

There were always guys out in bass boats at Bodcau Bayou fishing away when I was there, but I thought this guy took it to a new level. He's actually standing in that dark, scary, icky water. I don't even know how he got himself to this point out in the muck, but he must have very large huevos. Or he's just plain ol' southern crazy.

I'll spare our readers from the assortment of crazy spider and snake photos I have in the archives. Instead, I'll leave you with some pretty flowers. Ironically, for as unpleasant as much of Lousyana was, a surprising number of wildflowers bloomed throughout the spring and summer. The splash of color along the roads always brightened my day.

It took me most of the year and a half that I was in Lousyana to appreciate the landscape there, but I'm glad I got to experience it. It just goes to show that no matter where you are, there is so much beauty in the natural world around us. Get out there this weekend and enjoy it!