Sunday, May 16, 2010

I wanna be a trail Junky

Not quite at B.U.I. level but getting there, at least enough to be blog hog for the day. Surprisingly stiff and sleepy after walking home from Beat the Bridge with Team All for Alan (pleasant surprise to see Murtz x 2, Curtis and wife there). Nothing a couple glasses of scotch can’t cure.

After reading “Junky”, I decided, William S. Burroughs got it down. You can be perfectly content with road running (M) as long as the supply is not cut off, but after a while, you naturally encounter other avenues, like cycling (C) which is still the high of choice but requires more planning and gear. Guess that makes trail running “H”.

Yes, there’s the “cool” factor. There are runners who only do fast flat courses; they are like the popular kids who wore designer clothes. Then there are folks who do multiday events in harsh natural elements like, 130 degrees and blowing sand, climbing 20,000 feet, carry your own nutrition and lodging for a week. They are just nuts, doing things for kicks or to spit in the face of authority. Then there are the “real” runners, who come from ordinary backgrounds but do outrageous feats on trail for the love of it. (ok so I’m romanticizing). They don’t take themselves too seriously, are not afraid to wear spandex if it works.

I know some of you (Spiz) think I'm crazy or extreme (Ventoux) but my reasons for being crazy have nothing to do with running.
There is something about the utter quiet of being enveloped in trees for hours , to be absorbed in nothing but avoiding roots and rocks and emerging from a forest to see a view like this (Redwoods Trail, 3000 ft). Or tumbling down a single track, you feel like a human pinball. You can’t call it pain because it is infinitely better than the toil of daily existence, (being in the office), it’s a privilege. I’m not yet at a place where I look creek crossings or shoe sucking mud but never say never.

Thanks to Eyjafjallajokull, I got an extra week of Swiss trails. I’ve been running around St. Gallen for my annual vacation for 4 years now, I knew the local running paths by heart, so I thought. But I was just scratching the surface without running the trails.

There are woods literally in their backyard, and they live on the top of a huge hill that overlooks the entire city. St. Gallen, has forests, lakes, and cows literally 10 minutes from a metropolitan cultural downtown. Everyone bikes scary hills on sturdy bikes to get from here to there, and families hike mountains for fun on weekends, eating cheese, sausage, and sipping Rivella at the mountain top restaurants.

I took these photos on my last day there, which was not as gloriously sunny as the preceding days, but there it is, you never have the camera when you want it. I need to get a helmet cam.

Here is the entrace to the forest behind their house.

On one day you can exit this forest and enter 3 lakes, where you can view the city, or the lakes where people swim or hang out in summer

After the 3 lakes you can pass the monastery and climb a monster hill, watch cows grazing on 45 degree incline hills (no wonder their dairy is so good)
to hit another set of trails or a lake before a screaming downhill back to St. Gallen.

Or you can enter another forest on the other side of 3 lakes, not even groomed enough to call "single track"

Before climbing to another spectacular view where there are grills and benches to hang out and enjoy the view

If you have time, the best trail is behind the crest onto wide open farmland, where there is a single track over rolling open hillside to the next forest:
Make way for horses
Then more single track until the next forest

At the end of the forest, is this sign: achtung!
Then exiting the forest is like entering the open farmland from the forest

Then you wind back between forests connected by single track farmland

Then I get home and it’s like spring suddenly happened: everything is green. I took my camera on the Interlaken trails by my apt (is the name a coincidence?). Can I honestly say the trails here are any less beautiful than the Swiss trails, other than being more familiar?

There are stairs to nowhere
lush greenery
and after some flower-lined single tracks and more shoe-sucking mud, a view, complete with rainbow

And heading back up to 19th ave, a confidence ribbon
Is there a trail run in my own backyard? Sign me up

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