Saturday, March 2, 2013

Road Less Travelled

I wonder where that road goes? With that question, I am off on another of Robert Frost’s roads less taken, as I explore Issaquah, my new home. With the scarcity of streets laid out in grids, discovery is the best way to learn my way around, especially being map challenged.

Sometimes, I leave the house on my motorcycle with my only intent being to take the next right turn or the next left turn.  The most amazing find on these serendipitous trips has been the frequency with which roads lead to a trailhead or series of trailheads.

Too many years too late, I realize I am in a hiker’s paradise.

Shall I park the bike and see where that trail goes? There is a pull to do it, but having had both legs run over by a car a few years back and an aging hip declaring it is time for a replacement, I turn the bike around and look for new roads to explore.

While I ride, I think. I see Issaquah as the antidote to a serious issue raised by the naturalist and author Richard Louv in his book “Last Child in the Woods.” Louv coins a phrase he calls “nature deficit disorder.”  He claims that in a high tech environment, kids need exposure to nature if they are going to develop normally.

When I think about this, I think about the many boyhood hours I whiled away playing in the woods of Roslyn.  Our house was on the edge of town, and it was out the back door, across and alley, and into the woods. It was my brothers’ and my unrestricted playground. I followed it with 30 years of Alaskan out-of-doors and 20 years of Arkansas, the self-proclaimed “natural state.”

At the age of 70, I still like to pitch a tent in the woods around Salmon La Sac, sit in a chair, watch the night sky chase the daylight away and marvel at the “starry, starry sky.” In early morning, I brew a cup of coffee, heat up a Cup Noodles for breakfast and watch the daylight now dispatch the darkness. It is an experience every child should have occasionally, as it is a terrific balance to the touch screen existence they live.

You may not be able to take the kids on an overnighter, but many trails around Issaquah provide a great way to let the kids experience the work of a Creator rather than always the work of the creature. So, pack a lunch, load the kids in the car, find a trailhead, and don’t forget the Discover Pass, a real bargain at $30.

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