Friday, September 24, 2010

Three Herons

There are some things that I never seem to tire of. Making my husband laugh is one of them. Traveling to faraway places is another. Pizza, chocolate, Vietnamese chicken noodle soup, you know, the usuals. But, living in Portland, something I seem to be endlessly thrilled by is cycling along the Columbia River gazing over the water at Mt. Hood. I'm not sure what it is about mountains, but those snow-covered peaks attract my eye like nothing else on the horizon. Today, our ride along the Columbia was graced by something else, well, three something elses, that make every pedal stroke to get there worth it (and them some). But, I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Our ride started as they often do on the weekend with a trip through north Portland. Unfortunately, Peter got a little tripped up in his toe clips crossing a street and ended up with some nasty scrapes and a turned ankle. This would sour his mood considerably. He wasn't in the mood for biking or cars or exercise or nature as we made our way through some new (to us) bike path that was labeled as damaged. We thought we'd give it a try anyway and got to see this beautiful spot. I'm also pretty sure we saw a coyote as we were riding on the Smith and Bybee lake trail. We cycled through some possibilities: wolf, husky, raccoon, coyote. Coyote seems the most probable. Cool.

Ahh...that would be damaged. We had fun, anyway, and it was cool to have the path to ourselves.
"I think bicycling combines my fear of exercise with my hatred of cars," Peter says. Handing him a container of chocolate milk I ask, "Hatred of exercise, with fear of cars?" "Hatred and fear of exercise with hatred and fear of cars." Hmmm... "I think bicycling combines my love of exercise with my love of travel." The mountain really is something, isn't it?
We rest for a while and watch airplanes fly overhead. They sky is so pretty today.

Riding along the Columbia, Peter says, "This is the best I've felt all day!" "Chocolate milk?" I say. "No, mentally, this is the best I've felt." I think the river and the mountain are doing their magic.
And, so are the three great blue herons we see. I think I just found my favorite bird.

Peter's feeling better so we decide to ride across the bridge into Washington. This is a noisy, uphill treat for my wanderlust and I just can't help but snap a picture of the "Entering Washington" sign.
Riding back, I'm awestruck. A picture will never do justice to the view of Mt. Hood with the Columbia River snaking underneath you. I just coasted down the hill at 23 mph and felt a piece of my heart get fed in a way I didn't know it needed to.

We stopped at Maywood Park for more chocolate milk and granola bars and then made our way home. (I was sure to point out the spot where I nearly got eaten by the Rottweiler). Pulling into the driveway with 45.3 miles, I knew I would hold in my heart this special ride forever. Three blue herons and a majestic mountain will do that for you.

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