The fall that keeps on giving

 

Though I feel a little secretly guilty about enjoying this weather (it’s so dry! The mountains are so bare! The rivers are so low!) I’ll admit that I have really been enjoying this weather. I keep meaning to write about all these amazing fall things that I continue to sneak in to this extended period of loveliness, but then one runs into the next and it also turns out I like being outside more than being on my computer (surprise!) and thus the blog languishes. But lately, I’ve been stewing on a few things that I can’t believe were as beautiful as they turned out to be.

 

(like these western larch from — teaser!! — an amazing 20-ish mile run yesterday:)

 

 

1. Exploring Seattle

Every so often these days I go to Seattle for work. Typically, I take the train and bring my bike with me, which means that I still have transportation at my disposal when I get to Seattle, and that I can go exploring when work is over.

A few weeks ago, I burst free from an all-day training and went questing for parts of Seattle I hadn’t yet seen (easy to do, since I’m still pretty unfamiliar with the city). After many miles of rambling, I’d seen and biked along Lake Washington, through the Washington Park Arboretum (which I had no idea existed), through Interlaken Park (such a fantastic bike path!!), over to Lake Union… in short, what felt like all over Seattle, mostly on great bike paths, and none of it anything I’d previously known about. At the end of the day, I felt like I’d had a super grand adventure, even though it was really only about a 2-hour bike ride between work ending and the sun setting.

It made my job feel like only a small portion of the day, even though proportionally it was many more hours. That sense of discovery, of finding things I didn’t know existed, of being wholly wrapped up in the present wonder — all of that totally eclipsed the feeling of being at work (though work was actually pretty great too:)

And the fantastic fall weather, and having my bicycle with me to enjoy it, made it absolutely perfect.

 

(who even knew that this existed?? (Okay, lots of people, but not me;))

 

 

2. Camping at Oxbow

Shawn from over at Urban Adventure League suggested an overnight trip a while ago, and who am I ever to say no to a sneak-it-in camping trip? Oxbow was pretty darn quiet on a Sunday night in mid-October. The evening was dry and just cold enough to make a warm sleeping bag perfectly cozy, the stars were out, the salmon were making their way back up the (super low) Sandy River to spawn, and one of my old colleagues even let us camp for free, a sweet gift and nod to all the work I used to do there with my old crew.

 

(my setup, before Shawn got there)

 

I hadn’t been to Oxbow in what felt like forever, especially given how very frequently I used to be there. It is definitely one of my happy places, and how sweet was it to spend two crisp October days out there, days where it was actively lovely to be outside?

I do a lot of camping where it’s not actively fun to be outside, so to have this night so late in the season was a special treat.

 

(also, yay for fall mushrooms!)

 

(and spawned-out salmon carcasses on the beach!)

 

 

3. Running in Badger Creek Wilderness

This one wasn’t a car-free adventure since we took a car to get there, but it was the realization of a running date made many weeks ago — the first day we both were free; a day, when we scheduled it, that I figured would be pretty miserably rainy. I had definitely steeled myself for a wet and disgusting slog somewhere.

 

(this kind of thing was NOT was I was expecting!)

 

But gosh! It was yet another beautiful day, which made our quest for western larch trees even more amazing: those glowing, golden trees dotting the canopy, raining their gold needles down in the wind, or when we touched them.

This was 20 miles (or maybe 21) of exquisite forest running, no other souls in sight until the last two miles, just the hum of insects and the whir of thrush flushing out from the bushes at our feet; the rattle of dry leaves in the wind, the laughter of running water, the slippery squish of pine needles underfoot. I’m not sure I stopped smiling the whole day. Another special and wholly undeserved gift from the universe.

 

So, yes, I feel a little guilty about how much I’m enjoying this weather — but then again, here it is, and feeling guilty doesn’t make it any better. So in the meantime, I soak it up, I smile, I feel lucky, and I revel in the awesomeness. And I also look forward to rain.

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