Saturday, June 29, 2013

Slip slidin' away

A brief glimpse of sun at the turnpike turn around
The last couple days have been sloppy here in the Laurel Highlands.  Copious amounts of rain have saturated the area leaving rocks unclimbable and the trails a soupy mess.  Long sections of trail are completely submerged others are currently swamped.  Don't get me wrong, running a few hours in the rain is no big deal and usually quite refreshing on hot, humid days.  Unfortunately the downside to rain is that it sometimes comes accompanied by dangerous thunder and lightning storms.  Personally I've been caught in a few truly scary storms.  Mostly on the trail or rock, hours from the car.  The whole time feeling vulnerable, helpless and scared shitless.  I've obviously survived the experiences.  When threats of bad weather are present when trying to get out, my mind races to thoughts of two friends killed by lightning on a mountaineering trip some years ago.  Is the risk of getting struck that high or were they in the wrong place at the wrong time?  I guess those thoughts and experiences are what had me scrutinizing the radar images the last couple of days.  I was an armchair meteorologist watching for gaps between storms that provided time to squeeze in a couple wet, but storm-free runs.

Friday 6/28. Route 31 trail head to the turnpike bridge and back, 11.5 miles.  2:02:10, Elevation: gain 1,974', loss 1,971'.
It rained on me most of the way, with the exception of a few minutes when I was able to snap the picture of the turnpike bridge above.  Passed one (saturated) couple on tunnel road heading to Rt. 31 shelters for the night.  Really humid, lots of water needed consuming after this one.

Saturday 6/29  Route 653 trail head to Grindle Ridge shelters and back, 11.5 miles.  2:07:34, Elevation: gain 905', loss 908'.
Ran accompanied by "Granola" our 4 legged, trail loving, machine. He usually comes with me on easy training days under 15 miles.  He's a great pacer and always makes new trail friends along the way.  Today we met a family of 5 on an out and back to Bear Rocks, a group of scouts from McCandless and a father and son spending a few days training for a Philmont scouting trip.  Granola seems to put a smile on everyone's face... Keep an eye out for us on the local trails (usually you'll meet him first).  Below is a picture of him after his run today, tired and content to be back at the car.  The trail wasn't as bad as yesterday, but still a mess.  Downed trees were plentiful from the high winds during the recent storms.  Ran with only a few brief periods of rain.  I managed a seriously painful rock kicking that had me stop and wince a few minutes (luckily near the end).  I also managed a spectacular  fall from a downed tree that I was scrambling over (after the rock kicking).  A few squirrels chuckled at my failed "cat like reflexes"... Trail runner my ass! they declared as I hobbled hobbled up the hill.  Run miles, climb often and always ignore the rude squirrel comments!  They'll most likely end up as hawk dinner...

Today was a good day!  "Granola" post run

1 comment:

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