We woke up to a rainy morning. Last night I had decided to walk to work with Aaron and then back home by myself. It’s about 4 miles one way. Now rain before a walk always gives one pause. It adds a whole new dimension to planning, physically and mentally. I haven’t always been comfortable with walking in the rain. I’m over that now and the secret, which everyone probably knew except me, is ‘be prepared!’ It only took one time being out in the wilderness, without rain pants or rain cover for my pack, to realize that I was ill-prepared and in potential danger. The feeling that accompanies that realization is very sobering and unsettling. So now days, we rarely walk without rain gear. Even if the sky looks perfectly clear and the forecast is bright. This is especially true if we are in the mountains. It’s happened more than once that we have been caught in an unexpected rain storm, glad and relieved we were prepared for rain.
But back to this morning! We live near Whatcom Falls Park, so this walk began there. We donned full rain gear, put my daypack’s rain cover on and set out at about 6:30 a.m.. Aaron just bought new ultralight rain gear from Outdoor Research. It is very shiny and lightweight. To save on weight the jacket doesn’t have pockets. This could be a deal breaker. But it does roll up to the size of a granola bar!
Rain in the early morning has a quality all its own with the drooping sea spray, the circles of raindrop ripples on the pond where ducks float, heads tucked under their wings, seemingly still asleep. In the following poem, Wendell Berry gives my experience words.
I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.
Continuing on, we followed the Railroad Trail north, out of Whatcom Falls Park, as it traverses Alabama Hill and curves west around to where it crosses Woburn Street at the Barkley Haggen and the new cinemas across the street. (This past weekend Aaron and I walked to a movie, had a nibble at Zen after, and walked home, about 5 miles round trip. It’s light so late now, that coming in from a walk at 8:30 at night is easy-peasy.) This morning, I walked with Aaron as far as James Street. He turned north and I turned south.
Did you know there are two pedestrian overpasses that cross Interstate 5 north of Alabama Street? They were constructed to give those residents of Bellingham living east of the freeway, access to Memorial Park. The Railroad Trail passes over I-5 to the south of Memorial Park and the other crossing (at the end of Illinois Street) passes over I-5 just to the north of Memorial Park. This park was created in 1889 to memorialize Whatcom County’s fallen soldiers. Here is a brochure giving the description of the park’s history and a map to the many, many different trees planted there years ago. It’s super cool and would make an awesome treasure hunt for those wanting to learn their trees.
After turning south, I walked to Avenue Bakery on James for breakfast. We love this place. That is really all there is to say about it. Love.
After breakfast, I continued south on James, across Iowa, to where it T’s into Meador. (Did you know there is a new Starbucks on Iowa near James?!! I had no idea Bellingham needed one more!) I took a left on Meador and and in less than a block, caught the Whatcom Creek Trail back up to Whatcom Falls Park. This is where the Whatcom Creek Trail transitions from pavement to stone dust surface and dips under Interstate 5.
It rained the whole way. I saw numerous snails on the trail. They had the most amazing yellow spirals on their shells.
The ducks were still ‘sleeping in’ on Derby Pond when I arrived back at Whatcom Falls Park. I estimate I walked between 8 and 9 miles and was on trails at least 75% of the time. Yay Bellingham trails!