I drove up to the Blackstone Valley path for the first time this season. I did this with a bit of trepidation. Last time I rode Blackstone, a young man became trapped in one of the tunnels under Pratt Dam, and drowned while rescue workers tried in vain to free him. I was worried about my reaction to the place where it happened, but it turns out I had little reaction at all. It was a quiet, sunny day, with no one around the spot, and no outward evidence that anything bad had ever happened. I sent a silent thought in the young man's direction and kept on going.
The path runs from Central Falls all the way up to Woonsocket now. I always start near the mid-point of the path, and head south first. The southern half is older, bumpier (tree roots have buckled the pavement upwards in spots), and more heavily trafficked. I felt really strong despite the heat, and made pretty good speed in some pretty high gears for me. Then I turned around to head north, and finally noticed the stiff breeze that had apparently been pushing me along so well. It was pretty much in my face all the way up to Woonsocket, and made for slow going.
Then, just a little south of the Woonsocket treatment plant, I saw a vehicle on the path ahead of me surrounded by a group of men. At first I thought they might be some clueless anglers (trout season just opened here) with an ATV, but as I got closer, I realized that they were rescue personnel, and that they were loading a stretcher onto the back of what turned out to be the groundskeeper's cart from the athletic field complex a little further on. Now I got weirded out. I was able to ride past as they were seeing to whomever it was, but I didn't rubberneck. The actual rescue vehicles were waiting at the treatment plant, and I saw one of the firemen propping up a bicycle. Now I'm wondering if its owner was the person on the stretcher.
By the time I got turned around at the north end and headed back (the new section that was under construction in the fall is now fully open), the rescue trucks had left. With the wind at my back again, the rest of the ride was easy.
When I got home, I looked to see if there was anything in the news about the incident,but there was nothing. I'm hoping no news is good news this time out.