While much of the United States suffered through mudslides or snowstorms last week, Spring graced Seattle with a surprise visit. After a December of windstorms and over five inches of rain, she lifted the gloomy grey clouds and exposed the horizon. Snowcapped mountains materialized in the distance. Sunshine reflected off the bright blue mirror of Elliott Bay. Spring nudged us out of winter hibernation and beckoned us to join her outdoors.
Let’s take a stroll
With the Christmas decorations stashed away and the Seahawks out of the NFL playoffs, my husband and I couldn’t resist Spring’s siren call. We turned off the television and stashed away our e-readers. It felt odd, almost reckless, to head outside without rain slickers or warm jackets, but with the temperature over 50°F, we didn’t need them.
After a short walk, we reached the West Thomas Street Bike/Pedestrian Overpass, a safe and easy route above Elliott Avenue West and the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad tracks. Seattle is a surprisingly walk-able city, if you don’t mind a few steep inclines and staircases. The Lake to Bay Loop Trail connects the waterfront, South Lake Union, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and Seattle Center.
In this unseasonably pleasant weather, my husband and I chose to head toward Elliott Bay. We’ve been fortunate enough to play tourist along other famous waterfronts: Cannes in France, Victoria and Vancouver in Canada, San Francisco Bay, and even the shores of the Great Lakes in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Detroit. Yet living in Seattle, we have a daily opportunity to experience a destination that people travel thousands of miles to visit. We couldn’t refuse Spring’s invitation.
At the top of the bridge is a beautiful overlook. On such a clear, sunny day, we could see all the way from The Seattle Great Wheel and city skyline, beyond the sports stadiums to Mount Rainier. (The view remains free, despite the federal government shut down!)
After crossing the bridge we could either turn left toward the Olympic Sculpture Park or right and follow the Centennial Trail. The waterfront trails lead walkers, runners, and bike riders along the Elliott Bay shoreline. (See more information here.) As casual hikers, we followed a whim and turned right.
When the mountain is out…
We shared the path with hikers, runners, bike riders, and dog walkers. It seemed like the whole city had arrived at the waterfront. All ages from babies in strollers, hand-holding lovers, and white-haired octogenarians with canes obeyed Spring’s summons. An eagle soared from overhead to perch in a tree and observe the human parade. Even at the height of the summer tourist season, I’ve never seen so many people on the path. I felt blessed and honored to gather outdoors with my neighbors in the January sunshine. According to my Fitbit, I also logged 3.13 miles!
Winter is coming
Although Spring may have temporarily seduced us, Seattleites aren’t fooled. We know she’s a tease. Winter’s gloom will return, the winds will blow, and the rain will fall. She only shared a taste of her delights, a mere promise to cling to-like the remembered kiss of an absent lover-to see us through the dark, cold nights that follow.
If you haven’t been to Seattle, I hope you get a chance to visit someday. In the meantime if Spring stops in your area, enjoy a walk. Where is your favorite spot for a sunny stroll? Share in the comments.