AMERICAN RIVER PARKWAY December 24, 2009
Disappointed at how lackluster any notion of a good road trip or peaks climbs was getting to me, I had plans to motor somewhere and enjoy the holidays, afar. But alas, I have gone about everywhere close by, and it all seemed to be a been there, done that.
Thursday, I woke up at about 6 a.m., and got to my computer. I had thought to make reservations in Reno, NV, yesterday, but warnings were out for the icy highways. I had to get my dollar winnings from my $2 Lotto play, so I strolled out at about 8:15 a.m. A hearty breakfast inspired me to hit the bike trail. Little, then, did I know I was going so far, today.
Usually doing a shorter loop, I ventured onwards at my turnoff, feeling pretty good. My thought was to go 15, then 19 miles. The weather was crisp and clear. I had not been in the mood for my usual double bag, and needed to lose some weight. Taking sips from the many water faucets, I soon approached Watt Avenue.
Looking at the time, I saw that I could make it to the Hazel Avenue light rail station by dark. I was doing some 3 miles every 50 minutes, and so I allowed then a full hour for every 3 miles. I'd barely make it. I could stop for quick photos, and to drink more water. Numerous users were out today. Strings of cyclists rode past in a line, a few times. I stayed truly on the left shoulder, and didn't stray from the paved bike trail, as I usually take dirt side trails.
Keeping up my fast pace, I had to wonder if my watch was off. Past Rod Beaudry Drive, I had the big 6 mile section to get to Sunrise Bridge. Could I do this? I have not hiked this far out for sometime, and wanted to see what was new. I noted a few benches, new sponsor signs, and what, but the bike trail was basically the same. Still the crummy left shoulder, eastbound, in sections.
Most trees were bare and devoid of any
fall color. There had been some muddy spots, but I managed to
keep my boots clean enough. Regretting that I had not started
earlier, I might have made it to Historic Folsom. That goal will
remain for later. Approaching Sunrise, I had to use a restroom,
and drank more water. The Parkway closes at dusk. I had the time
to make it.
With a panorama at the Old Fair Oaks Bridge, I knew that I had it made. The sun was setting, and I hoped for a great sky show. The bike trail had a detour at Hazel Avenue, so I didn't do the walk under the bridge. I had to cross the surface street, and waited for the light.
It was getting to be an ordeal. I was tired
and my feet were starting to hurt. But, I did it, nicely. Taking
the pedestrian bridge over U.S. 50, I took pictures of the sunset and the traffic passing
To the Hazel Avenue light rail station at 5:02 p.m., I put my money into the ticket machine. It rejected the dollar bill and my quarters, so I had to put them in again. Fearful of the train passing by without me getting my ticket, I succeeded at that, gratefully.
Then, the time passed by, and no train
was in sight. Security personnel informed me that there was no
train to Downtown. Shuttle buses were taking riders to the Mather
Field Mills station. Groan! Last minute shoppers and throngs of
people also had this diversion. I was tired and thirsty. For a
moment, I thought that I might be sick.
The shuttle bus came to the further train station, and I got aboard the rail car. Off, downtown, by about 6:15 p.m., I finished then my arduous walk.
I did 27 miles, and captured 99 images. I assume the gain is slight enough so I don't count it. Not having done anything like this for some time, I wondered why I had felt so good. I did enjoy my free holiday songs, with my excellent music player, most of the way. I always wore my heavy parka, with layers underneath.
My previous distance record was 30 miles, done back in May, 2002. I had wished to hike to Folsom, some 30 or so miles, and now that seems within reach.
Well, I still am in good hiking shape, so can plan for a winter road trip with plenty of peaks. Some peak solos may be in order. Or, I can go back to the Parkway for more longer walk challenges, and retain my virtually zero carbon footprint. I had in mind a short road trip to the North Coast, or to get back into skiing. What this winter may bring for me!
BACK TO PETE'S THOUSAND PEAKS HOME PAGE