Monday, May 09, 2005

Training Walk

I started my Sunday Walk at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Eric dropped me off in a parking lot, and I walked around until I found what appeared to be the start of the Sammamish River Trail. There used to be a milepost zero, but I didn't find it. Instead, I found this sign:

If you can't read it, it gives the mileage to Redmond City Hall, The Tolt Pipeline Trail, Woodenville, and Bothell. The mileage to Bothell is 9.3 miles, or 15 kilometers. As I'd already walked a half mile or so to get to the sign, and I expected to walk another half mile once I reached Bothell, this suited me just fine.

When Eric and I lived in Redmond, we actually lived in some apartments right next to the trail, and very close to the first milepost. I used to ride my bike to work along the trail, from the first milepost to the fourth, then another mile along streets. The bit between the apartments and the fourth milepost was a stretch of trail I was VERY familiar with, but the section from Marymoor to our apartments wasn't one that I traveled much. And even if I had, that whole section of trail was completely torn up and redone right after we moved away. So I wasn't entirely surprised to see a new half-milepost... I was just surprised at how close to our old apartments it was. We used to live on the other side of the bridge from this milepost.

The first milepost, which used to be my first indication of where I was along the trail, was right where I remembered it being, in Luke McRedmond Landing. I snapped several pictures as the old ladies I had passed earlier while walking passed me.

The next stretch of walking was full of suspense for me, as lots had changed since I last had bicycled the route. New buildings had sprung up, at least one new bridge over the river had been built, and all the old bridges had been reinforced and spruced up. I didn't know if there would be a half milepost, so I kept walking thinking I would run into one. At one point I spotted a rabbit crossing the path in front of me, and was able to get a picture of the guy (see here). A bicycle bell finally scared it off. But the next milepost I ran into was the second milepost... I didn't find 1 1/2 if it exists.

At this point, not much about the trail was familiar. I was beginning to wonder if I'd imagined all the bicycle trips so long ago, but as I continued on, more and more was familiar simply because they hadn't upgraded the trail yet. All the half-mileposts were new, but for the most part I recognized the trail as I went along.

Once I got up to where the trail is across the Sammamish from the Willows Golf Course, I was feeling more like I had been here before.

Somewhere around here, there's a huge field set aside for remote controlled aircraft. Sure enough, there were a bunch of people flying little planes out there when I walked by.

There were picnic tables and a bathroom near this milepost, and the tables at least were a blessing because I needed to stop and readjust my socks. The moleskin didn't prevent a resurgence of the blister from last week, unfortunately, but it was a very mild blister that I didn't even notice until late in the evening last night.

I used to leave the trail at this milepost (there's an underpass right behind where I stood to take the picture) and ride up a long stretch of very busy road to get to work. The bridge, underpass, and whole road in general have been upgraded significantly. Instead of a gravel path up to the road, there's a nice pavement trail. That would've been really nice on the rainy muddy days when I used to take that path...

Moving on, the half mileposts always came up so quickly that I would be on them before I expected to. At the half mileposts I would stop, take my pictures, then gulp down some water. At the regular mileposts I would stop, take pictures, and gulp down some gatorade. I never got thirsty, and I also never had an urgent need for a restroom, so I think it worked out really well.

I knew exactly where the fifth milepost ought to be, and it was right where I expected. My first visit to this milepost was on a trip back home from work one day when I decided to go a mile down the trail the wrong way on my bike, just to get more exercise. There are a number of farms near the fifth milepost, and even a parallel trail for horses. I saw a few horses and riders taking that trail.

Milepost five and a half is right near the Redhook brewery and a bunch of ballfields. There were games going on, and lots of people in that area. There was also a restroom, and there is a concession stand that is sometimes open when people are playing games. Sadly, no such luck today.

Not much to say about the next few mileposts. This is the more boring part of the trail, during which I started to sing to myself to keep going. I knew I was close to my planned rest stop, so I just kept walking.

After I passed the sixth milepost, the very light drizzle that had been happening for the last few miles turned into a light rain. By the time I reached the 6 and a half post, it was beginning to come down harder.

As I reached the seventh milepost it was beginning to pour. I still paused and took a picture, but I didn't stop for long.

After the seventh milepost, it's maybe a quarter mile to Wilmot Gateway Park, which is where I stopped to do my audioblog. There was a bit of cover there, so I rested and took my shoes and socks off for a little while and called my mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day. There were a few other people taking refuge from the rain there. After it became clear to me that the rain wasn't going to let up any time soon, I put my shoes back on and walked on.

There is no seven and a half milepost. I've walked the distance several times now, and have never seen one. So it was a relief to reach the 8th milepost.

As I walked under the freeway, I remembered that all the mileposts from Marymoor to milepost eleven are on the right side of the trail if you are walking "up" from lowest to highest. Milepost twelve is on the left side of the trail, as are thirteen and fourteen. I wonder if there are mileposts after that, and if they are also on the left?

The eight and a half milepost is almost covered by the green. Same with the nine and a half. Back when I took my first pictures of those posts it wasn't too bad.

As I got to milepost nine, all I could think was "only a mile to go, only a mile to home." I tried not to think about having to climb up Maywood Hill to get home.

This is where I left the trail. All told, with the break in Woodinville, it took me about four hours and ten minutes to walk ten miles. Not bad, considering that earlier this spring it took me three hours to walk five miles. I think I could almost keep up with a regular training walk group now.

And I'll admit it. One of my first thoughts upon arriving home, tired, hot and wet, was that I would like to do the Marymoor walk again. It was a really fun walk.

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