We visit Military Reserve often. Shelly admits it's her favorite ride and while I might not go quite so far, I am partial to the views and the snaking downhill singletrack.
Over a year ago, Shelly showed me these trails hidden behind the Veteran's Hospital. I was delighted, because up until then my mountain biking trips in Boise were all of the ski lift variety... a long slow steady climb up Table Rock or the Boise foothills followed by a fast steep descent. While fun, the directness of it all always left me bored when compared to the fallen trees, roots, mud, jumps and other obstacles which littered the trails of my childhood.
Taken in profile the route we take through Military Reserve remains an up and back, but it's a playful journey. It starts with a creek crossing and a rutted root path through deciduous forest (now closed to bikes unfortunately), followed by a long meadow ride up a gently sloping valley. This ends with three options, all quick climbs out of the lush (for Boise) valley floor onto hilltops clothed in dry grass and sagebrush.
From there the more leisurely ascent resumes, the trail graciously looping back more than once for vistas of the city below. Wildflowers flank the sides, displaying a a color for each season, on this morning the yellow arrowleaf balsamroot flowers were fading and their replacement, of which I do not know the name, a soft purple-blue display blanketed the landscape.
Like many weekends I spend with Shelly I find myself feeling as if I'm on vacation in my own town. It is a contagious joy that Shelly speads infectiously through a glint in her eye that echos a two-year old's amazement at the world around them and a smile so pervasive that the lines remain on her face betraying any attempt she may make to contradict them.
More than once I've stopped Shelly mountain biking as a love bubble gets the better of me. Something about having to give my all to chase her downhill on a bike just presses my buttons. Perverse I know (I get amorous snowboarding and backpacking as well). So it was odd this morning that she was on to me. Perhaps it was because we hadn't yet begun our descent.
Stopping at the top to take in the view, a typical morning mountain bike ride, turned atypical when I started talking more mushy than usual. Looking around, Shelly asked uncomfortably, "Am I on a reality TV show?"
In answer, I dropped to my knee and proposed. Shelly, helmet-clad and still straddling her bike answered wordlessly, with a kiss and arms wrapped around my neck. An embrace which should have been startlingly difficult, but worked.