Freedom of the ride | Editorial

Happiness eluded me for many years. I knew where it was hiding, but it felt like a treasure lying beneath a rock I could not lift.

My college years were rocky with so many decisions to be made and so much uncertainty ahead. My first job after graduation was at a pedal cab company for bicycle-powered rickshaws that carry tourists around town. It was not the job my parents foresaw after four years of education, but it was one of the best gigs I ever had. The storm clouds that hung over my head during the day evaporated as soon as I clocked in and jumped on the bike.

Yes, I “pedaled” customers that weren’t always polite, but there was a freedom I felt in those hours while in motion not knowing where I was going, yet moving forward all the same. I was filled with that natural high you get after hours of labor – and it felt a lot like joy.

I have grown up since then, but I still get on my bike whenever I can, whether a short ride to work or a Saturday adventure up Mt. Constitution.

A few weekends ago I made the trek up that glorious 2,398-foot mountain. I hadn’t made the journey since the early spring so the steep incline was a bit of a shock. And then there was the self delusion that I was almost at the top, when I was in fact not even halfway up the hill. By the time I reached the summit I was exhausted and hungry and it was starting to rain. But I convinced myself to walk the few steps up the hill to see the view of the islands.

As I walked up to the summit I almost gasped to see Mt. Baker emerging clear and sharp against the blue sky. After taking in the view, I cruised downhill, feeling so lucky to live in a place where I have this freedom to find happiness. You have to seize that moment – to find whatever gives you that awe of the world around you.

This year Washington State Parks celebrates 100 years. One way to support the park is to purchase the $30 discover pass that gives you parking in all of the state’s managed recreation lands. It’s a small prices to pay for the freedom of this majestic park. For more info on the parks, visit or

Be on the look out in next week’s paper for our Parks and Trails Guide insert, which showcases outdoor adventure on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez Island.