Have you ever done something that you really enjoyed but you thought was perhaps a bad idea to recommend to others? Perhaps when you were a kid you found a bridge to jump off of and had a great time (despite your mother’s warnings) but it occurred to you that it might be dangerous for the younger kids to attempt it. Perhaps you climbed a tree and it was awesome but when someone asked you about it you started to evaluate their potential to not climb trees very well. I am sure some of you took your bikes off of jumps and either discouraged others from doing the same or did not and watched as a friend prepared themselves for a sweet visit to the ER by not sticking the landing.
Most of the time I would imagine that none of this comes to mind when friends ask you about your last run. But every once in a while it does come to mind for me. I am reminded of a time a co-worker told me about some hills behind a school in the town he was from. Always looking for cool new places to explore I decided to check it out and so I drove to his home town, found the school, and sure enough a whole mess of hills.
After I parked my cars I found the trailhead my friend had described and off I went up the trail. He had told me it was “technical” and he was right, it really was rocky. This was going to be fun. As I motored up the trail I was in a draw and when I looked up and to my left I noticed an obvious ridge that looked like it would probably connect to where this trail was going up on the top of the first big hill. There was (of course) no trail but it looked too good an idea to pass up.
I broke off the trail and hiked up to the ridge that would climb “more aesthetically” to the top of the hill (or small mountain- that’s a matter of perspective). It was too steep for me to run a lot of the time. When I gained the ridge though it became clear why it was so obvious and pretty- it was a whole lot of rock most of the way up to the top.
I started up the ridge and stoped when I got to a ten-foot cliff. It didn’t look so bad so I climbed up it. I trotted higher until I got to another cliff. This one was a little tricker and involved some jumping and an actual pull up to a mantle move. I topped out and ran and scrambled for another little bit. I was using my hands quite a lot on this “run” and there was quite a bit of loose crumbly rock. I was having a grand old time.
This sort of thing continued all the way to the top. It may have been one of my slowest 5ks ever. I reached the top and was greeted by two wonderful things- a view, and the knowledge that the trail really did connect where I thought it did so I could take it back down safely to the car. I was elated… and a little bit worked. I sat for a few minutes up top and contemplated my smallness in the vast landscape of nature.
When I ran down I knew two things:
1- If I made it down this trail with all this loose rock without rolling an ankle it would be a miracle
2- It was a stretch to call this a run and might not be a great idea to suggest it to people.
But it was a great experience and if you do ever end up on that ridge stay safe and make good choices.