South Valley Trail (8.7 miles)
(They snapped the pic here because this is the widest the waterside path gets before you might fall off and drown.)
Biggest plus: Crazy terrain bordering water
Biggest disappointment: None.
Much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this one’s a trail I’ll never actually finish in one go (never understood how those Frodo-bees do that shiz). And, just as it’s dawning on me that I’ve probably utilized some variance of that metaphor before, it’s also dawning on me that… I still have no intention of changing that. I’ve tried doing two hour runs before – they’re only helpful when I’m on the verge of having breakdown of Patrick Bateman proportions. That said, the first stretch I did of it was slightly hilly, but not bad – lots bridges and boards going over wetlands and (the highlight – for me) a little Christmas tree corridor (I actually dunno what kinda trees they were, but it was quaint enough to revitalize my “I’m getting bored” moment I was starting to have when I try a new trail and fail to see anything new that makes it worth the trouble I spent researching who I’m gonna jeep on my main squeeze with). I stopped about fifteen minutes (‘cause I don’t like to go over half an hour total since I go twice a day) when I reached the water and headed back. This bit, though hilly, was fairly simple. Or maybe I’d just brought more of my “A” game than on some other days. We’ll never know till I visit her for a quickie in another week or three.
The South Fork entrance onto the trail – which I did on another day? Less easy. A cheeky imp who won’t let you in simply, she’s rocky, rooty, and bordering the rushing and gushing water on such a narrow path that if you miss a single step, you might plummet to your… wet rest of the day. And mayhaps a broken ankle. It’s hilly, the stone slabs are wet imparting no friction, and for a good stretch, the roots are so abundant that you’re not even running on land anymore but a sea of lumpy arboreal toes. It’s brutal.
And I’ll be goddamned if I didn’t love every second of it.
(Saucy little tart texted me this selfie after our recent rendezvous. Bet she snuck her tree string in my pocket too…)
These kinds of trails are exactly what I need on days like the day I ran it – when I’m in a total state of “guuuuh” and not paying attention to life. ‘cause – as mentioned above – when you’re jogging, you enter another state where every step counts. In order to keep your flow going, every shift from one foot to the next is a split second executive decision about how not to sustain a serious injury. You don’t get that walking. Lucky for me, there’s another entry onto this trail close to where I put a bookmark in the last one – so that I can do even more of it this coming week.
Grade? A++. I mean, I won’t leave my wife for her, but I love her ’cause she keeps surprising me every time we meet…
Chopawismick Trail (2.0)
Biggest plus: When I finally saw my car in the parking lot ahead of me and knew it was over.
Biggest disappointment: Everything.
My buddy always jokes with me that I’m heading into my own making of “Wrong Turn” when I take these new trails.
Generally, I laugh that off ‘cause they’re mostly well trafficked. But the day I did Chopawismick Trail was the first time I thought about his little quips sans my usual eyeroll. The draw for me to try it out at all was twofold: First, you have to have a key to get in. Second, it’s in this area down the way from the park in what I’m pretty sure switches over officially to the *insert banjo tune to “Deliverance”* area code. That’s how I knew I had to do it. At least once. And, yes, after having done it – by once, I still mean once. And , no, that’s not just because it was too isolated and I felt like I was about to be the star of “Cabin in the Woods” minus the cabin. Or friends. Or video camera (one hopes). It’s more because the road there was like driving on a moon made of mud – potholes, uneven, and probably pretty bad for my poor car’s taint. After taking a wrong turn down to a cemetery, I finally got back on the road and made it to the gate where I had to use a special key to enter. This part was probably the most exciting (and by most I mean only) bit. Because once I got to the actual trail (they call it Chopawismick, but the trail itself reads “Bobcat”), it left much to be desired. Maybe it was just the time of year causing a lack of lush vegetation or all the bugs that Backcountry attracts, but I found myself so utterly bored on this trip that I had trouble believing it was only two miles (there was a moment I lost the trail – and that was the only other exciting part of the brown frown runaround that this loop was – besides the exclusive access bit with the key).
All in all, I give her a D-. She was like one of those mysterious chicks who won’t give up the goods easily – until she does – and you find out why she was so ashamed (I probably did leave that swampy disappointment-fest with a bug disease of some sort). Paradoxically, it was one of the few I’ve “finished”, yet the most anticlimactic. In fact, I was so let down that I couldn’t wait to get home to my wife-trail later that evening and tell her “Baby I’m sorry…” by kissing her body with the tread of my sneakers that still had my A.M. ho’s mud on ‘em.
I’m so blessed to have such a forgiving lover.
Like some prodigal jogger, I’m always welcomed home to her with open arms…