Thousands of feet of climb, technical and unmaintained trail, temperatures in the high 80’s, humid: such was about two hours of my life this morning. And they were an awesome two hours.
Yes, as I said I would before the weekend, I did indeed go trail running today. And man, was it hot. I went with my brother, as always, and we hit some trails right in the vicinity of Bear Mountain (other times we’ve gone elsewhere, closer to Harriman State Park).
At the end of the run, after nearly two hours of tough running, we found a trail that leads up Bear Mountain itself. My brother looked at me and suggested we climb it. I looked at him and tell him there’s no way. Well, we started up, but didn’t make it to the top. Physically we probably could have, but after two hours of running, if we added on a mountain we would not have been able to walk for the next few days.
Besides for that failed endeavor at the end, the run was amazing. Thousands of feet of climb; one continuous climb for about a half an hour with practically no relief. We encountered some serious inclines, some of which were so steep and technical that we had to walk them. And even walking, I was panting and my calves were screaming at me in fatigue.
We also saw some wildlife for the first time (our other runs have been during the winter; no wildlife around): A couple of deer and a snake I very nearly stepped on.
But by far the biggest surprise of the run happened about an hour in. Running along the trail, we noticed a house below, in the direction of the Hudson River. We remarked on the oddity of this, but kept running. And then the trail turned into pavement. We looked around, and in amazement, saw that we had entered a town. Civilization. In the middle of nowhere.
It felt like that scene in Big Fish, where the main character hikes for days and ends up in that beautiful little town in the middle of nowhere.
Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, my brother and I decided to explore this town. We run down toward the Hudson River (a nice decline), passing kids playing basketball, adults watching their dogs. As though this were a regular place; no-one seemed to realize that civilization just didn’t fit in their surroundings.
We eventually turned around and set back up the trail (but not after an encounter with an interesting pair of dogs: a big, ferocious, growling one that the owner told us was harmless, and an annoying little dog that the owner told us to be careful about).
We reentered the woods, but couldn’t stop laughing about the town in the middle of nowhere.
Part of the beauty of running, trail running in particular, is seeing the unexpected. And that is most definitely what I saw today.