Weekends have been pleasant of late. I have been able to get in a few rides and a few long walk/runs. While driving back from a ride in the Gorge last weekend, I had an ah-ha about why my rides and walks and runs are so important to me. Thom drove me and Patty to our drop off point at Cascade Locks so that we could pick up the bike trail there and bike to the Falls… not a long ride at all, but it has its small challenging climbs and some of the most amazing views of the Columbia Gorge.
Here’s the thing. The drive out to the locks is along the Columbia Gorge River on a highway that urges traffic to keep at a steady 55 (maybe 65??). It is a highway built to get from Portland to Eastern Oregon efficiently. You get some gorgeous peeks at the river along the way and a steady view of the gorge walls replete with trees and water falls. No two ways about it, it is a spectacular drive. Unfortunately, there are not that many places to pull off to the side to slow the pace of the panorama going by. You can stop in a few towns along the way but that’s about it. You get a “panoramic” drive and you take in the scenery around you.
The bicycle ride.. now that is another thing altogether. Starting in Cascade Locks there is a bike path that winds slowly through a forest of firs and maples. The ferns abound and small creeks dots the sides of the path. Eventually you end up on the old Columbia Gorge Highway. I learned on one of my stops along this wonderful route that the Old Highway was purposely designed to allow its travelers to stop and soak in the panorama.
So that’s it… the joy I get from my rides and runs and walks is the gift of being able to SOAK IN the sceneries around me. From a slow view of the gorge to a drop of early morning dew on a golden leaf, details of life that escape me when I am zooming around in my car.