"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

Art meets life on the loop trail

Good Life on the loop trail

By Cameron Wood

Reader Susan Droz Rankin sent in this photo of “a mixture of crack repair and paint” which she snapped while on one of her daily walks on the loop.

“On previous walks, I had noticed the odd shapes of the asphalt crack repair that looked like the letters G and L. But, as I rounded the corner on the trail that morning, I noticed that someone had filled in the rest of the letters in blue paint to say ‘Good Life.’ I was immediately reminded of my favorite local magazine publication, The Good Life,” Susan said.

Susan first started walking the loop to cope with becoming a widow. She began reminiscing on the past years and sorting out the ones that lay ahead, and in turn, began a physical and mental healing process.

Eventually, her initial quarter mile strolls increased in both distance and speed to her current four miles which she covers with her now husband, Bob.

Graffiti is just one of many sights she has encountered along the trail.

“Connecting with nature provides renewal for the soul as well,” Susan reflected. “I counted up to 30 species of birds and watched osprey dive to the water of the Columbia River and catch fish which would be wiggling in their claws as their captor flew to a perch or nest close by. Bald eagles were frequently perched in trees or flying overhead.”

Besides critters, Susan also began to take notice of her fellow trail travelers, making friends with other recovering folks, and chuckling at the similarities between dogs and their owners.

Two walkers in particular stood out.

“Over the years, I have watched a man whom I have never met, who has been walking the trail since 2004 when I began my walks. He was quite overweight at the time. He is still walking the trail and is slim and trim today. We always just say ‘hello’ in passing but I admire his tenacity and wish him well,” Susan said.

“There was also a friend who walked the trail regularly many years ago. She had brain cancer and was generally walking with one of her closest friends.

“One day I saw her alone in the gully climbing from one side of the trail to the other and I ran down to see why she was in the gully. She smiled at me and said, ‘I just wanted to see if I could still do it!’”

“I am sure there are many stories that could be told by regular walkers and bike riders about their experiences on the trail.

“How fortunate we are to live where we have access to such a wonderful recreational asset that allows us to connect with nature. ”

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