April 14, 2012 Ride: The Undiscovered Country

I like that the title of this post functions for me on so many levels… a pun on what I saw on this ride, a reference to Hamlet, and one to that Star Trek movie where the Klingon commander tells Captain Kirk that he “ought to read Shakespeare in the original Klingon.” So amazing.

On Tuesday or Wednesday of last week, I went for a ride on one of my usual trails: the Sammamish River Trail. This is, actually, one of my favorite local trails. But I have to admit… I was bored. I craved adventure, excitement and a glimpse of The New. Well, what do you do when you crave all those things? Boot up El Interneto, of course! I pulled up all the trails in Washington State, looked over them by country, sorted them by length, then read the reviews on the three or four I hadn’t ridden that seemed promising. I narrowed down my search to just one: the Foothills Trail.

The reviews recommended the stretch from Orting to South Prairie as the most scenic. A quick look at Google showed me that Orting was a mere 40-minute drive from my house. Given that, in traffic, my work is a 40-minute drive from my house, I figured I could handle this. So on Saturday afternoon, I headed out to try out this new trail.

Once I was off the main highway and onto the road into Orting, I could see the trail running alongside me. Despite the reviews, I was delighted by the stretch running into Orting, and thought that if I’d had time, I’d have added it to my ride. In fact, I think nearly the entire stretch of this trail would be fun to ride, but I ended up doing the seven miles I had read about.

Orting is a cute little town, made cuter by the fact that Saturday was the day of their annual daffodil parade. Bandstands were set up, folks were lining up chairs along the main drag, and the signature flower was out in pots and gardens everywhere. I didn’t actually see any on my ride, but I assume there are examples of said daffodils… elsewhere in Orting. Anyway, I wished I could stay for the parade, but unfortunately, Little League called.

Well, I like scenic, rural beauty, and the Foothills trail was all over that stuff like white on rice! There were… uh… foothills. And the Carbon River. And broken down old barns. I was in heaven.

I know, it looks a lot like the Cedar River. Well, to some extent, there’s a certain redundancy to rivers. But like mountains, it’s okay, because they are all awesome to begin with. So the fact that they all look pretty much the same is cool with me.

Obviously, the beautiful weather was a factor in my inordinate pleasure riding this trail. Sunny and near-65 with a sweet little breeze, this was almost enough to make me forget the Months and Months of Suffering Inflicted Upon Me By Frosticus.

Almost.

At any rate, I was cruising into South Prairie before I knew it. Literally, I stopped to take a quick break and pulled out my iPhone to see how far I was, only to discover that it was literally around the next bend in the trail. I can be forgiven for not seeing South Prairie from a distance, I think:

A stunning urban center, designed to instantly create alcoholic, depressed teenagers and nostalgic adults!

I like photos of small, rural post offices. Here is South Prairie’s:

My only problem at this point was a distinct lack of beverages. I had forgotten to bring anything, and was pretty parched after seven miles. Fortunately, South Prairie has two coffee stands, a restaurant, and a gas-station with a mini-mart. I suspect 90% of this is due to the traffic on the trail, which was substantial. I ended up at the mini-mart, and got some sort of pineapple sugar water thing I’d never seen before. It was quite tasty.

I found a nice bench beside the trail and consumed my other purchase: a Snickers bar. I’d looked over all the power bars and chips and granola and nothing appealed. And as they say, it was rather satisfying. Here was my view from my bench.

Small town perfection!

Rejuvenated, I threw The Raleigh into that beautiful third gear (which from now on deserves its own Title Case: That Beautiful Third Gear) and headed back. I had read that it was almost all downhill from South Prairie to Orting, but hadn’t thought about it on the way out, as it was such a gentle uphill that it really didn’t affect me. And now I had a nice stiff headwind to occasionally send me back to second gear in retreat. Mostly, however, I cruised.

Every stop for a sip of pineapple sugar water meant photos.

A light-soaked hillside…

A delicate new bud (thank you, auto focus!)…

A puddle of sky…

It was all gorgeous. I was practically tittering with delight.

Railroad trestle… river… mountains… AAAHHHH! I can’t take it anymore!

Too amazing! By the time I was back in the river’s canyon, I was longing to keep riding. But alas, I was nearing the end of my ride.

I felt like I’d had a trail-taster. I needed more! MORE!

If only I could have stayed to photograph the daffodil parade, which boded so well: cheesy DJ announcing over the oldies-but-goodies “… and here’s one to please all you young folks!”, kids being pulled in wagons filled with daffodils, yellow Fifties convertibles with parade dignitaries wearing yellow jackets, and an entire fleet of motorcyclists dressed in yellow leather. It was like they were taunting me! But I was already late, so off I went.

Can’t let this guy down.

But Foothills Trail, I’ll be back! I <heart> you! Of course, there won’t be a daffodil festival next time. But I’m ignoring that. In my head, there’s always a parade in Orting!

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4 Responses to April 14, 2012 Ride: The Undiscovered Country

  1. DisabledCyclist says:

    Looks like a pretty nice place to spend some quality time riding :D

    The DC

  2. LuckyChow99 says:

    Simply stunning. Thanks for sharing this wonderful ride with us.

  3. adventurepdx says:

    “A stunning urban center, designed to instantly create alcoholic, depressed teenagers and nostalgic adults!”

    Ha! I saw a lot of those places on Ye Bigge Tour. Large, drab, windowless buildings also seem to be a big feature of these towns, for some reason. The trail looks nice, thouh.

  4. Pingback: June 2, 2012 Ride: Short Bursts | rideblog

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