Light Notes

Cycling the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes

Someone in a recent newspaper article called baby boomers the new “younger old.”

I like the first part -- the young part. Not so crazy about the second.

So under the guise of exercising, but really to prove that we are “spry” -- another distasteful word an AARP member misspoke -- Bill and I loaded our bicycles, tent camper, and pain meds to head north. Our destination was the 72-mile Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes.

Dressed in matching Spandex and bad-hair-day helmets, we were the picture of youth -- in our own mind. As we cranked our pedals along the paved railroad bed, the silence broken by the whir of our spokes and the ping of grasshoppers trying to leap on board, Bill reflected on an observation.

“Everyone is going downhill, except us,” he shouted over his shoulder.

“Now Billy, I don’t think we should talk about our friends that way, even if they are a whole state away,” I wheezed into the wind.

He was quick to point to the smiling bicyclists whizzing along in the opposite direction -- the smart ones who’d read about the level of incline.

“We’ll just take our time and enjoy the points of interest and the scenery,” Bill assured me.

(Actually, my thighs felt better already!)

Riding leisurely was just what we did over the next few days: We discovered the story of old towns that once existed along the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, viewed wildlife in their natural habitat, and stopped for lunch in a quaint café near the Cataldo Mission.

Hours at a time, we pedaled in the sunshine and enjoyed the splendor of the trees that lined the river. Some, like the elderberry trees, were ripe with fruit. Others, like the ponderosa pine, have stood silently as history changed -- from the rush to find gold to men rushing into space. Year after year, some of these same trees have continued to produce fruit and provide shade for nature and mankind alike.

These flourishing beauties that we enjoyed on our bicycle ride remind me of a verse I once read in Psalms that compares us to trees under God’s personal care.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit and be vital and green.” (Psalms 92:14 LB).

What a hopeful promise! It sounds like a “younger old” to me.