I got a really late start this morning, late for a mountain run. I didn’t get into my truck until 8:30 AM, didn’t begin my off-road driving until about 9:00 AM. My feet, ever so delightfully, hit dirt at 9:30 AM.
I decided to run my semi-usual Holy Jim / Horsethief loop counterclockwise, the opposite that I usually run it. Oh. My. Goodness! The climb up West Horsethief was brutal. BRUTAL. Instead of growing angry up that grueling climb, I told myself to use this as a learning experience. (And it worked, I didn’t grow angry or throw a pity-party-temper-tantrum once up that blasted hill).
Even after reaching the top of W. Horsethief, I still had plenty of climbing ahead. Heat came down in abundance! At times, I needed to stop in the shade to cool my body temperature. I felt the heat sickness coming on, but thankfully was able to keep it at bay (experience did its job today!).
I didn’t see any other runners out on The Main Divide, though I did see two mountain bikers. All I can really say is that it got DANG TOUGH out there on the mountain ridge. Thank God for Holy Jim! Though gnats swarmed my face when I hit this giant switchback, I was oh so relieved, because Holy Jim signified a downhill, mostly shady, five mile run. And it was glorious. Truly glorious. There’s nothing like downhill shade when you’ve been doing uphill sun!
I met two hikers on this fun downhill trip. We chatting briefly. When I mentioned West Horsethief, they said in unison “Everybody hates Horsethief.” Euphoria hit with about 3.5 miles remaining as a breeze hit my face and the multi-colored wildflowers swayed at my shins. Again, it was beautiful. Truly beautiful. And amidst enjoying this beauty and euphoria, a thought entered my brain. That thought was, “This is the part when you fall.” (Falls usually happen in the center of euphoria). Wouldn’t you know it???? Not three steps later, I tripped on a cluster of boulders. I tripped hard, but was able to save it, and thankfully didn’t fall. (It would have been a terrible fall).
I washed my face at the trickle spring and made the last 2.5 miles in good time. As I ran that last mile in I approached a dry Holy Jim Creek and opted to run across a small log to practice my balance. I was almost patting myself on the back for good balance when the log turned and dumped me onto the dry, rocky creek bed. I hit hard, with no roll whatsoever. I guess the “Fall Fairies” still had it in for me – they didn’t so much like my “save” earlier up Holy Jim. They made sure that I bloodied my palm and knees before the end of today’s run. I lay there in the rocks, bees buzzing about my head, and also my cap that lay a couple feet away. I felt light headed as I pushed myself back upright and needed to think twice on whether or not I hit my head. I did not hit my head, but my wounds, caked in wet dirt, ached a great deal. I staggered a bit before picking up my run again. With just about 1/2 mile remaining in today’s run, the “Fall Fairies” left me a treat in the middle of the trail – two nice sized chunks of ice. Yes ice! Can you believe it? I iced down my knees and palm and then made my way across Holy Jim creek, this time across a board secured about 3.5 feet above the creek. I didn’t run it, though I made it across without falling and was able to pat myself on the back for good balance. Finally, with some fluids to spare, I made it back into the Holy Jim lot where I promptly jumped into my truck for that tedious off-road trip out of the canyon.
Oh how I love mountain runs! I can’t wait until the next one.
Miles 14.18 (22.82 km)