March 23, 2014

The Road Less Traveled (by humans anyway)

Mountain Lion Print - Limestone Canyon today

When the gov said he didn't like running by himself out in these hills, I reminded him that when the cougar is in full chase mode all I have to do is run a little faster than him and its all over anyway. We turned north, toward Limestone Canyon, and came upon a prominent do-not-enter-trespassing-violators-will-be-prosecuted sign. It was the warmest welcome that I've seen in a while so we invited ourselves into a very remote and unused trail in heart of Orange County's Park system. This was virgin trail for me and I was loving every step!

photos courtesy of the gov

So much so I had to launch a roller just to make a point to gravity that we had climbed a pretty monster hill despite its stubborn resistance. "What are you going to do with that video?", my daughter Devon C asked me as I was writing this. "Its just a rock rolling down the hill," she says. "Yea, but it's a big rock," I replied. It felt good just to see gravity gobble this bad-ass rock up as the gov and I stood there wondering how much further we would wander into this scat riddled odyssey.

We continued into this lion's abyss and were reminded who's playground this really is. Apparently the big cats that roam these hills are not bashful about leaving their mark on trail. The gov kept his distance. 

Not our playground

The rest is just some really cool views by two runners seeking the road less traveled. 

Keep it real runners. 

March 17, 2014

This Thing Called Energy

It’s strange. This thing called energy. There are times when it enters you without warning, and bursts forth with all the power and resolve to lift you up and into a deep, icy river. Then there are other times. When it sits precariously near you. Watching you. Waiting for you.

It wasn’t something I could really predict. And if it were, it probably wouldn’t have happened on that day, when I was just like any other college boy foraging for a moment, a reason, to feel alive.

The door hadn’t even closed all the way when I started running. “Where are you going?” my friend yelled from behind me. But I couldn’t turn around to answer him. I just kept running. Away from the classroom where I had just completed my last final. I ran to release energy. I ran to gain energy. I ran because it just felt really good. I couldn’t stop smiling. I lifted my arms into the air and ran through the campus. I felt like a prize fighter who had taken the title from the champ. Now I was the champ! It was building up inside of me all semester. Now the energy wanted out.

So I talked my friend into driving down to the Potomac River. It was November in Washington, D.C. and the autumn days were turning colder. We got into his Ford Bronco appropriately nicknamed “Dino” with its bulging tires and gun racks. When we drove up to the side of the river I jumped down from Dino and ran to the seawall. It was a strange moment, to be overcome by pure exuberance like that, then to step off a ledge and into that dark brown river, fully clothed, not knowing the strength of its current or the temperature of its water.

There are certain moments in life that will never leave us. Moments when everything moving into and out of our conscious minds simply stops, and we find ourselves alone, with nothing else but the company of what is happening to us right then, right there.

The air in my lungs disappeared. And the muscles in my arms and legs went limp. The seawall that beckoned me just seconds earlier was now getting smaller as I drifted down the cold, dark Potomac River. It wasn’t fear or despair that had overcome me. It was just shock. My body had been reduced to a numb piece of flesh so quickly that I was just about helpless. Fortunately some of the energy that lifted me into this careless situation was still lurking somewhere, waiting. Enough, thankfully, to snap me out of the hypothermic stupor and get me back to that seawall.

Strange. This thing called energy.

March 8, 2014

Thank You Kind People - You're Key

The Key...Sitting, Waiting. 
By the time I’d reached the two women on trail my hope was dwindling rapidly. I was still hanging on to a glimmer of it though, because I could visualize the moment the night before when I felt something touch my leg while I was running along the trail, something that seemed to have fallen from above. It wasn’t until I arrived back at my Jeep after running 7 miles that it realized I’d dropped my car key on trail.

I realized at that moment I had pulled an Al. The good news was I knew, sort of, where the key became dislodged. But was it a key or a disoriented bug? I had it in my mind that it was the key, and so the next morning I chose to ride my mountain bike to work and put an end to this mystery along the way.

“Excuse me, did you happen to see a lost car key on the trail?”, I uttered without much enthusiasm as I rode by the two women. “Yes, there is key back at the Audubon house on the board,” one of them blurted out. “Really, I can’t believe it!” I replied. “Thank you!”

Thank you to the kind person, whoever you are, for picking up my key and placing it on the board. And thank you again to the two women who happened to see the key on the board, and be on the trail when I happened to ride through at 7:43 am Friday.

March 2, 2014

Trespassing In the Mountains

“Hey, hey!” I could hear him yelling behind me. I continued on, but he persisted. “Hey you...hold it!” So I stopped, turned around and watched the red coats come rumbling in the snow toward me. I half expected to be noticed and even stopped, but I acted like I knew what I was doing and just tried to blend in.

Was it my purple ski cap that sat erect on my head like a Norwegian birthday hat? Or was it my red Blackies sweatshirt? I’m pretty sure it was neither of these fashion statements that caught their attention. No, I’m pretty sure it was the snowshoes I was wearing at the top of the Snow Summit ski mountain. After all, who wears snowshoes on a ski mountain?

It was enough to convince a team of ski patrolmen to conduct a serious inquiry. “What are you doing up here?” one of them asked me accusatorily. “Well I’m snowshoeing, of course,” I replied. “Do you have a lift ticket? the other asked. No, I don’t have a lift ticket, I said. Looking bewildered, he quipped “Then how did you get up here?”

There was a brief pause. And I told him I hiked from the bottom of the mountain, and stopped at the cafeteria on the top mountain to buy a cup of coffee. Then the old one really burst my bubble. “You’re trespassing! You are not allowed anywhere on this mountain, including in the cafeteria, without a lift ticket.” Oh really! I replied a little miffed, “then why didn’t the cashier ask to see a lift ticket when I bought the coffee?”

Just then their radios lit up with an emergency and stopping this passing snowshoer lost all their unneeded attention.

I continued along my path and finished my "snowjourn", and even lived to blog about it.