This morning, when I left my house at 6 am, the driveway was covered in a thin sheet of ice and the road was covered in a foggy haze. I drove slowly heading towards Bertha’s house (about 25 minutes from mine.) I could tell the roads were slick and I couldn’t see much more than a few feet in front of my hood, the fog was so dense. On the drive from Bertha’s home to the trail head (about 30 min) I lost control of the car on a big curve. It started swerving all over and I realized we were going to crash. On the right was a steep ravine, maybe 150 feet down, on the left a car was coming right at us. I really thought it might be the end. Somehow in my panic, I heard my Dad’s voice telling me when I was 14 and learning to drive to gear down and not hit the brakes when a car starts to slide on black ice. I followed my dad’s advice, pulling the car into a lower gear without touching the brakes, while in slow motion we skidded across the road towards the oncoming car. It worked! I regained control and Bertha and I just stared at each other! It was so scary,but we were ok. Thanks, Dad for the good advice when I was first learning to drive. Looks like I was listening.
Once that heart-stopping excitement was over, we continued on to the trail head where we met up with our friend and awesome guide, Emily. It was still dark out, but we decided to leave our head lamps in the vehicles since we could see the glow on the horizon of the morning sun. We headed off into the dark, savoring the foggy, chilly morning air while coyotes howled in the distance.
Less than a mile into the trail, we spotted a herd of wild stallions. I love their haughty looks, their proud stance, the way they look so fearless and strong running across the mountains. They are awe-inspiring animals.
We spotted a graceful herd of white tailed deer heading up the mountain to our left. The three of us just stopped and smiling, watched them leap one by one out of view.
We ran through the red rock canyons, along trails so thick with mud, our shoes were nearly sucked right off our feet. It was slippery. I fell three times in the thick mud. There was lots of ice today, too. It was slow-going for quite a while up the mountain trails to the summit.
At the summit, I stood in awe of the entire valley below me, hidden in a fluffy, white fog. I could see the distant mountains with their snow-capped peaks protecting the valley on all sides like a fortress. The beauty of it all took my breath away. It felt like we were on top of the world, up in the clouds and everything was so perfect. We took pictures, hugged and enjoyed the moment, before saying goodbye to our pal, Emily, who had to head home.
Bertha and I shared, as only running buddies can, our thoughts, our dreams and our hearts. We savored the rugged cliffs, the giant rock mountain we passed and the wheat-colored sagebrush and grasses as far as the eye could see. We tried to keep from twisting our ankles on the plethora of black and gray rocks scattered menacingly all about the trail. We ran until, once again, we were back at the car, ready to indulge in chocolate muffins, Gatorade and Nutter Butters waiting for us there.
It was a memorable day.
Moving Garmin info: 3:36:25 time. 16:32 pace. Elevation gain (corrected): 2,312 (uncorrected was 4,005.) Big difference!!! Average HR: 131. Max HR: 192
Stats: 13.09 miles. 5:10:45 total elapsed time. 23:44 ave pace. (Lots of pictures and heart-to-heart talking today.) The workout still kicked my butt! I was very fatigued and hungry by the time we were done.