I think the weather is perfect right now. Even the slight mugginess is good, although my husband is in disagreement. If he isn’t actually the person who invented the phrase, “It’s different; it’s a dry heat” he has certainly earned rights of imminent domain by now. He rambles on about how it can be 104 in Phoenix (where he grew up) and “you hardly feel it.” Whatever. I’ve been in Phoenix in July, when it is 104 and I am not exaggerating when I say that I was literally felt my skin cooking. I looked like a giant beef jerky after about a week of being there. That was a fantastic trip. I almost got bit by a rattlesnake and fell into a jumping cactus and my hands got skewered together from the barbs and I still have scars to prove it.
OK where was I? Oh, right. In Grand Rapids, Michigan where there are no rattlesnakes or jumping cacti (except at Meijer Gardens. Even though it is only about 5 inches high and in a little pot I scoot by it real quick), it is seldom 104 and if it is, we have the good sense to stay inside.
For now, though, we should be spending lots and lots of time outside. As much as possible considering we’ve been cooped up entirely too long. There are some really nice trails around here and I would encourage you to leave a comment with your own favorite place to take a stroll.
Here are just a few to get started with:
Plaster Creek. This trail has recently been expanded and now goes from Division just north of 28th St. to Ken-O-Sha park. It’s just under 3 miles one way. I like to walk it, but this is one my husband likes to take the kids on in the bike trailer but I am too lazy to ride my bike 6 whole miles. *Edit: please see comment from Elaine below for more accurate info.
Riverside Park. The trail here is cool in my opinion because it is so close to the city, but still very natural-feeling. You can access it off of Monroe Avenue NE.
Paul Henry/Thornapple Trail.This trail starts right by Bowen Station Park on 44th just east of Kalamazoo. Apparently it will eventually go all the way to Vermontville, in case you find yourself in need of a really, really long walk. Or if you need to get to Vermontville and couldn’t even find it on a map to drive by car; here is your trail. It’s paved until 52nd street and there are lots of mulberry trees and rasberry bushes and later, wild strawberries along the way. If that doesn’t fill you up, there is a McDonald’s next to Bowen Station.
Kent Trails. This is the mac-daddy of all urban trails; 15 miles long from Byron Center at 84th Street (make sure you fuel up or cool down with some ice cream from Houseman’s!) or Douglas Walker Park (where I had my rehearsal dinner catered by my Dad and Uncle Bob – it ROCKED) all the way to John Ball Park or Johnson Park depending on which way you go.
There are some nice un-paved places to stomp around too, but let’s let the ground dry out a bit first. I’ll do another post later in the season about where you can wear your hiking boots instead of tennis shoes.