Is that the Sun? A Pacific Northwest morning arrives crisp and clean with brilliant blue skies overhead and the promises of spring underfoot. The sun is a welcome sight after four months of snow, snow, rain, snow, wind, snow and more snow. I find myself already making plans to take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather ahead.
While these plans invariably include weeding and mulching lonely flowerbeds, trimming rose bushes, and shopping for new garden gnomes, my plans always include breaking out my outdoor gear. In fact, I spent this morning tuning up my bicycle to include new tires, brake and shift cables, and installing new reflectors. Given the brief window of opportunity the weather affords during this season of intermittent weather I need to be ready to hit the trails at a moments notice.
What better place to grab those moments than in Redmond? One of my favorite relaxed rides is the Sammamish River Trail. It follows the Sammamish River from Marymoor Park to Woodinville, making it an almost 20 mile round trip. The views from the trail are spectacular and varied, including the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, majestic Mount Rainier, and of course the breathtaking Sammamish Valley. The trail gets a lot of use, which is part of the fun; bicyclists, skaters, walkers, joggers, and even the occasional horse and rider all share the same path.
With all that to offer, it’s the short “off-trail” excursions that make this trail an absolute local favorite, including both the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and the Redhook Brewery. Easing onto the Bear Creek Trail just north of Marymoor, I can satisfy my well-earned hunger at one of Redmond Town Center’s many eateries, or grab a new book and slow down the pace for a while with a coffee and good story.
Another great destination is the Redmond Puget Power Trail, which is just over three miles long and leads to Farrel McWhirter Park. The park is a great jumping off point for the Watershed Preserve Trails where I stop and take in the splendor of the lilies in Beaver Pond. The Watershed Preserve Trails are a system of multi-use trails that include an ADA accessible boardwalk known as Tree Frog Loop.
On more adventurous days I’ve taken the Sammamish River Trail north to Blyth Park in Bothell to ride the Burke-Gilman Trail. It’s easy to lose myself on this wide and winding path as I cruise through Seattle neighborhoods with the rare street crossing to slow my momentum. On more than one occasion I’ve ended up in downtown Seattle, phone in hand, trying to find a friend willing to make the drive to Gasworks Park for a late lunch and a lift home.
Though I am a native of Redmond, every year I find new areas of my own backyard to discover and treasure. The trail system in Redmond is a great starting point for local adventure. With the days getting longer and the temperature rising it won’t be long before I’m back on two wheels exploring the great Pacific Northwest. Perhaps we’ll meet on the trails.