Tuesday, October 7, 2014

city bike and hike

We are fortunate to live in the city where most of the things we love to do on a daily basis can be found right close by.  It is a 15 minute drive to the ocean.  A half hour to the lake.  Family camps are not too far away.  And with all the foliage loveliness that is happening around here these days, it is tempting to hop in the car and drive somewhere to enjoy it.

But this weekend, on a day at home, we stayed here.  And explored Portland by bike.  Fall biking can be so nice, not too hot, crunchy leaves and pine needles under your wheels.  And the autumn smells.

It's a different kind of trip than, say, our rides in Acadia National Park.  Through residential neighborhoods and stop signs and cars to be carefully avoided when riding with children.  Me bringing up the rear and calling Car! every time I hear a motor approaching from behind.  Blast those stealthy hybrids.

The vistas are quite different.  But still, offer up some of the best views of urban beauty and mystique all the same.

As with any activity that requires physical exertion with children, snacks can be quite helpful.  And can be quite motivating to power those legs forward.

We rode first to our favorite neighborhood bakery.  Rosemont Market.

And then, looking for an interesting ride, trying to avoid busy streets, we happened upon a path we have never seen before.  How does this happen in your own neck of the woods?  In a city?

We enjoyed it, tucked as it was, between here and there.  And the asters in the meadow were covered in honeybees.  Holding some of the latest available forage for them this season.  I assume my bees knew they were here, even if I did not.

We ate and played a bit at a new playground in the area.  Laughing at the need to play carefully when one's body is so very much larger than a toddler's who is teetering nearby.  Especially when said body looks headless as in this photo.

Planning to head home on the residential roads we rode over on, the kids remembered the trails through the woods and salt marsh between where we were and our home.  And asked if we could try riding them.  They are indeed open to bike riding.  But I am pretty sure most of us do not ride bikes that are considered mountain bikes.

But the sun was so warm.  And we were having such fun. And were up for a bit of an adventure.  And we were likely high on sugar.

So we gave it a try.

There were sections that were better walked than ridden.  

And even off in the conservation land's woods, urban sprawl trickled in.  Trail markings so to speak.

But these woods, protected for us to enjoy and play and run in, were such a delightful place to be that afternoon.

See.  Nicholas still has his head.

The kids navigated the board walks through the marshes quite easily.  I felt like I was on that level of Temple Run when the sides fall away and not only do you need to navigate what is ahead of you but you also need to not fall off the sides of the path.  It could have been the beets and the corn that I had in my basket from Rosemont for dinner, but I was very tippy.

Crabapples hung over the trail.  Sweet.  Unharvested.  Hopefully enjoyed by the urban wildlife.

The trail, following the old route of a canal, leveled out.

And several wrong turns and pedals wedged between rocks and stairwells climbed with bikes lugged along beside, and we began to hear cars passing.  And see buildings.

Having had a hike and ride through the urban wilderness, we emerged, back onto a busy street right near our home.  

Arriving back in our hood, the sun was fading.  Legs were scratched.  And tired.  We had definitely been gone a lot longer than we had planned when we pedaled out of the driveway.  I think that is what makes it a true adventure.  Right here, close to home.  We were all breathless, thirsty, and pleased with ourselves.  

There are more trails out there to discover.   We plan to do it again next weekend.

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