Lifestyle

CAROLYN OSSORIO: Those raindrops keep fallin’, but that doesn’t stop trail ride

My fingers feel like icicles as rain pummels my face. I hook the trolley to the back of my bike. Most days I like to park my minivan at Ron Regis Park and ride along the Cedar River into downtown Renton.

The Cedar River Trail extends east to the city limits (and beyond to the City of Maple Valley) and connects to the Cedar River Boathouse on Lake Washington.

I hum “Raindrops keep falling on my head” as a way of improving my mood.  It helps. So does hearing my three-year-old son Patrick exclaim, “Let’s go for a bike ride! Let’s go to the park!”

Over the past few years, significant investments have been made in the park system in Renton.  According to the City of Renton’s website, the Parks Division maintains 29 developed public parks, 13 miles of trails and 813 acres of public open space.

Fresh air tastes like cold river water. I close my eyes and inhale deeply.  I can’t wait to get back in the woods.

Patrick’s baby brother Ty is nestled beside him in their enclosed bike trolley, oblivious to the rain as they happily munch cookies.

Riding down the trail, a daily walker I recognize waves and smiles. “Have fun,” he says. “Enjoy the rain.”

“I will!” I shout, feeling exuberant. I never tire of riding along the more than 30 acres of undeveloped land along the Cedar River.

Obviously I’m partial, but people in Renton are very friendly, especially on this trail. I always find a smile, words of encouragement and much needed endorphins to lift my spirits. Like most Washingtonians, I appreciate the rain. But I wonder if spring and sunshine will ever get here? Cruising past the Maplewood Golf Course, I see a lone golfer. He’s stuck in a sand trap chipping his club like a maniac. His plucky determination, a call for me to slip it into third gear.

Along the stretch, a runner approaches. His gait, precarious. A sort of scuffle-walk propelled into a run by shear will. He’s run along this trail for years. He appears fragile — I worry that if he tripped he’d shatter every bone in his body.

But he doesn’t trip.  Rain or shine, he keeps on truckin’. I love his grit.

Inspired. The engorged Cedar River becomes an unlikely racing opponent.  Its powerful, fern-colored current easily churns a tree-sized log down its gullet.

I grind up an incline. At the top my heart is thumping.

“Woo Hoo!” I shout out lifting my arms up like Rocky.

My cell phone rings. I look back and forth.

As part of the City of Renton’s comprehensive program to enhance safety, they have reduced speed limits, posted additional signage on trail etiquette, and rigorous enforcement of reckless behavior.

“Hi Mom.”  I say.

“I was afraid I’d missed you.”  Mom says.

My mom lives near Lake Washington. With spring in the air, we’d taken to rendezvousing along the trail.

We agree to meet at Renton’s first off-leash dog park.

I booked through the final stretch of cottonwoods and alders that flanked the river. The trees interconnecting branches muffled the sound of Maple Valley Highway commuters.

“Gorgeous day,” I say, pulling alongside her Schwinn.

Mom flashes me a smile and offers apple slices.

“Rain’s good for you,” she says, biting into her Pink Lady, a gleam in her eye as Patrick gallops toward a mountain of muddy dirt.

She’s 60 and made from the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” stock.

I pluck an apple from the baggy.

I glance at a nearby cluster of rose bushes full of green buds and lo and behold, a tiny pink flower sprouts amid a wet wonderland of browns and greens.

I love suggestions! If you know of people or places in Renton that surprise, delight and inspire the community, drop me a line at carolyn@pippimamma.com. Also follow Carolyn on her blog, www.pippimamma.com.

 

Dogs & parks

Cedar River Dog Park

RENTON: www.rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=26086

RUFF: www.rentonoffleash.org

City of Renton Master Park Directory

rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=2328

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