My attempt to document 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Spring 2011.

Sunrise 134: Ault Park Pavilion (Clear Skies & a Silverton Commute)

Sunrise 134 atop the pavilion at Ault Park

After missing yesterday morning’s beautiful and rare atmospheric sunrise (complete with a light layering of cirrus clouds [That’s a link to “cirrus sunrise” image search] that no doubt would have cast pink highlights throughout the twilight sky), I felt it was necessary to make sure that this morning’s sunrise was not missed. This week has been a bit hectic, so my schedule did not align perfectly with the 8:05am sunrise. The wife caught a bout of acute bronchitis. It really is nothing serious, it’s just one of those things that doesn’t bother you until a half hour after you lay down to sleep, that’s when the coughing starts and the restlessness begins. As it goes the last week was spent with unwholesome sleep, making sleeping in until 8:00am or beyond during overcast mornings more frequent. Her car also is in the shop for a hopefully minor repair so she’s using mine for her commute. I’m lucky enough to live less than 4 miles from my work place so I decided to suck it up and commute to work this morning on my bike. Why not catch the sunrise on the way?

My commute to work really is one of the best I could ask for, as far as diversity goes. It certainly is not boring. I am able to wind through some of the old urban roads of Cincinnati, most of which are low traffic by design. The only thing about it is that if I were to give it a descriptor, it would be “classic Cincinnati topography”. From Ault Park to Silverton, Ohio where I work, the 3.8 mile bike ride is anything but easy. It’s fun, fast, slow, and testing. The first half of the commute is mostly downhill because I’m actually traveling from the top of one Cincinnati hill where Ault Park is located, down into the valley that runs through the Red Bank / Norwood area, and back up through a cut in the two hills where Drake Park sits on one side, and Madeira on the other. The last half (in both directions!) is up hill and painful, so I really try to enjoy the first half. This creates an interesting affect because I always start out the commute thinking about how wonderful biking is, and end the commute wishing I was in better shape! This winter I haven’t been going on as many longer treks so this morning’s ride was pretty rough. I made it, though, and by the time I made it to work it was almost 50F – way warmer than I had expected. A perfect day for biking around town.

Approaching Ault Park about 15 minutes before sunrise, the fuchsia display has subsided and given way to the late twilight oranges.

The sky is clear with vapor trails from the upper atmospheric air travelers. The forecast of course put the cloud cover at roughly 50%, reinforcing the idea that it must be pretty difficult to accurately predict the weather even 6 hours in advance during the season change.

I rode away from the overlook and swung by the pavilion. I realized that the sun is still on the right side of the horizon, and should be moving back towards the left any day now. I’m going to keep my eye on the columns of the pavilion and try to nail down a sunrise where the sun rises up directly in the middle of the columns. Hopefully the trees are still bare and it’ll make for a nice picture.

For the rest of this post, about 8 pictures total, please click to continue if you’re on the front page.

Up on top of the pavilion I met Tim and his two dogs. I haven’t seen Tim for a few months. I always enjoy talking with him because he has an interesting perspective on the world. We talked about crop circles and the Kennedys; great conversation while watching the sun come up over the Little Miami River Valley.

Behind me, the lawn was still deep in shadow and the western sky was slowly shedding off the deep blues and purple highlights. I realized that one of these days I should try to bike over to that tall building on the left side of the horizon. I’m not sure where that is, exactly, but it would be another great Cincinnati hill-to-valley-to-hill trip. I have never biked to the West Side and I’m sure it would be a beautiful ride.

I’d like to imagine that about 30 years ago the view from the pavilion would have been pristine without the tops of the oak trees dotting the horizon. That’s OK though, by make the winter sunrise that much more unique because the summer foliage blocks the view.

A vertical sunrise shot of Sunrise 134. I find it interesting how similar all of those trees’ branching structures are to the middle right of the horizon.

Sunrise 134 @ Ault Park’s Pavilion

After wrapping it up with Tim I headed off to work. As expected, the first half was amazing (downhill) and the second half was nauseating and swampy. I had my hooded sweatshirt, winter reflective jacket, facemask, double woolen gloves, two pairs of socks, and insulated running pants on. I was a wet sopping mess by the time I rolled up to work. That’s the interesting thing about commuting by bike – if you do it several days in a row to get back into the rhythm, it becomes easier to maintain a cadence where your heart rate doesn’t rise high enough to cause you to sweat. I was a bit out of shape and also dressed way too warm, two things that can shatter plans of a dry arrival. Luckily I as prepared with a change of clothes and deodorant, although executing a perfect bike commute is still something that I’m trying to figure out. It’s well worth it but does require extra planning.

This is the top of Stewart Rd, the final climb of the hill. This only represents about 3/5 of the total ascent from the deepest point in the valley, but it’s definitely the steepest. I love my 1977 Fuji S-10S, she’s been a trusty steed, but climbs like this do make me wish I had 3 more gears on the lower end. Perhaps 2012 holds a drive chain upgrade for old Fuj, something that would certainly make me more mobile and more inclined to commute via bike more often.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… The topography in Cincinnati provides some of the best biking around.

Also… some notes for those who read until the end of this post! 1. I heard about a place in Mariemont that has an overlook. I read about it in this great book that I picked up that was recommended by Dawn, a lady that I met at the park last month. It’s called “Cincinnati Observed” and there is a picture of an overlook in Mariemont that looks out over the Little Miami River Valley. I can’t find it by googling and I don’t remember the name of it, so I’ll have to check the book tonight when I get home. Mariemont is not too far from Ault Park so I think it would make for a great sunrise location. The book, so far, is an interesting read that covers the history and exploration of Cincinnati from an architecture heavy viewpoint, mostly neighborhood by neighborhood and block by block (downtown). I’ll cover more about it in a future post. The second thing is that I have found evidence of the Mt. Adams ruins by sleuthing around on Google Maps’ Satellite View. It’s amazing actually because they’re hiding in plain site. There are a few flickr pictures of the ruins, but I haven’t seen a complete documentation on the social web. I plan on exploring the ruins in the near future while the trees are still bare. I actually used the location of the Rookwood Pottery building from an early 1900s picture to locate the incline on the map. Stay tuned, it’ll make for a great morning exploration.

4 responses

  1. eremophila

    Beautiful images, I love seeing the bare tree branches on the skyline. Good luck with the pavilion line up – that would be awesome!

    January 7, 2012 at 3:40 am

    • Thanks! Soon enough I’m going to head down to the golf course and find some awesome silhouette shots. I realized that a golf course is the perfect spot because all of the trees are kept well groomed and by themselves!

      January 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

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