To say the least, I was a little skeptical. A bike path where I could get a good workout? And feel like I am in nature?
The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail was just that. I ran, rode and rode it again. I wasn’t able to see all 32 miles between Folsom and Sacramento but I covered half on my first ride and did a loop on both sides northern section of the American River the next. I was impressed. There were pace lines of hard core cyclists, commuters with their bags packed for work, and kids just learning to ride. There were runners, walkers, and people enjoying the parks. Fly fisherman standing in the water near the banks, kayakers and stand up paddle boarders beating the heat as well as getting a work out in. Quail jumped from the trail to the oaks as I rode up, turkey meandered along the side trails, and, my favorite, a kingfisher landed on the bridge rail within reach as I cycled by. I rode through oak woodland and riparian habitats knowing full well there was a freeway along one section and city downtown in another yet I didn’t care. The bustle of urban life was ever present but it was buffered by the oaks and pines and only seen in glimpses. And, the river, it was the center point and always the focus.
On one hand, it was great to be surrounded by this culture of health and fitness. On the other, it was great to find a park that allows nature to be itself in the heart of an urban area.