TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bald Peak (or Lauren-on-the-Run meets HikinJim)

I dreamt I was running (as I frequently dream), but this time on dusty, desolate mountain trails.  There were no trees, only shrubs.  And as I ran downhill, I noticed an enormous sign, 70’s era, Las Vegas style sign, without the brilliant lights,  that read, “Iran. Eastern Border.”  (Looking at a map after the fact, I believe that I was in Pakistan.)  Anyway, I slowed my pace, fearful of that border, then noticed a lion up a ways.  He was a dark colored lion, like Scar in The Lion King.  Stricken with fear, I slowly walked backward away from the creature, until he noticed me.  That’s when I ran, still with my face toward the animal.  As I ran backward rather quickly, he took off after me, and I thought, “I just may be dreaming.”  And so I screamed, “WAKE UP!  WAKE UP!!!”  And I woke, so thankful that I was right.

Back to reality – Saturday, I slept in longer than I planned.  I am changing, that’s for sure.  In the past when I overslept, I usually skipped my run.  Saturday, I finally woke at 7:00 AM and was leisurely out the door by 8:00.  Even with a late start, I drove to Silverado Canyon in hopes of running to Bald Peak (a minor peak that I have not yet explored). 

My foot felt really good.  So, I felt paranoid about ruining my progress by running the first 3 1/2 miles of Maple Springs road, which is asphalt.  And so, I did something I’ve never done.  I can’t believe I never thought of it before.  Get this:  I DROVE that single lane asphalt road (single lane as in, room enough for one car) cautiously all the way to where the asphalt ends. 

I took off on a dirt truck trail in the blustery wind, delighted by the millions of leaves fluttering as if applauding the gorgeous day.  My right foot felt PERFECTLY normal.  I’m telling you, no pain whatsoever.  I could not have been more thrilled. 

I came upon several motorcyclists making their way up (4 or 5) and a couple coming down as I headed up toward “Four Corners.” 

A couple mountain bikers passed me as well.  But the mountains were still relatively quiet, except for the leaves clapping in the wind.  More than once I had to chase down my hat when the wind blew it off my head.  Finally, I decided to turn my cap around.  That way the wind couldn’t easily come up beneath the bill and blow it away. 

I made it to “Four Corners” in no time (being that I drove the first 3+ miles of the 7 mile trip).  “Four Corners” is named so, because it is the junction of 4 routes.  1)  Maple Springs Road, 2) The Main Divide, toward Modjeska Peak, 3) Harding Truck Trail, and lastly, 3) The Main Divide heading back toward Silverado.  I ventured on back toward Silverado in my hunt for Bald Peak. 

The hunt was actually quite easy, as one peak stood out vastly among the other shorter peaks.  And there appeared, from the distance, to be a road up to the peak.  When I arrived, I saw that the road was not really a road anymore, but more a grown in, thorny, low-lying brush area, leading up to the peak.  I marched up it, found my peak, ate my breakfast, took a couple pictures of the view, and ran back down to The Main Divide with scratched up legs (but without any blood).

A view from Bald Peak:

My downhill proved tougher for The Foot.  Four wheeled vehicles began making their way up the mountain.  Some of them drove ridiculously fast.   The motorcyclists, mountain bikers and dirt bikers all carried on with polite protocol, nodding or waving as they passed.  Most of the vehicle drivers behaved well too.  There were a few though . . . grrrrrr.  Baring teeth smile

With about three miles remaining, I came upon a hiker and his young daughter.  Having just moved into the area, he had a question about the trails.  We chatted for a while.  I pointed out the peak I had come to visit.  Turns out, two fellow bloggers were meeting at this moment.  I don’t recall this ever happening to me before.  This Saturday, Lauren-on-the-Run met HikinJim, who blogs his adventures as well.  You can be sure, one of the first things I did when I finally returned home was to look up Jim’s blog.  I had to giggle to myself.  Here I was talking about my peak collecting, and it turns out, he does the same thing with his hiking – collects peak.  I have a lot to learn from HikinJim for sure.  And he has been to some doozy peaks (10,000’+). 

After leaving HikinJim and his daughter, pain began to set in.  My right foot hurt upon impact.  If I were to say that the toughest pain with this condition has been a “10,” Saturday, it was only a “4.”   Still, even with the pain, I was able to hit a ten minute pace here and there.  I wasn’t pushing speed.  I cared more about saving my foot. 

I ran over ten miles on Saturday – mountain miles.  That is a big deal for my foot.  I am hopeful.  Very hopeful. 

Running dirt maple springs to bald peak 12-14-2013, Elevation

Running dirt maple springs to bald peak 12-14-2013

One last notable aspect of this surreal run:  I saw a a brown, furry mole scamper across my path as I drove Maple Springs Road back into town.  Now, I can appreciate just about anything – snakes, tarantulas, crazy-bizarre insects, but a mole!  It freaked me out a little.  I’ve never seen one in person , and it didn’t set well with me.  Let’s just say that I didn’t appreciate its beauty.  Winking smile

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