Saturday, December 21, 2013

First Snow Run (Mostly Lost)

Today: 11
Present: 806
Count: 113

Salomon's "Spikecross" studded trail running show
The snow was hard-packed, not exactly ideal running conditions but as stable as I could have expected. One could even argue that my feet jostling over the uneven ground was a good thing -- ankle training if you will. And for the the first time in my running career -- and indeed my life -- I badly wanted studded trail running shoes.

For the first mile or so, I had to contend with ice on the roads more than anything else, so was grateful for the change in terrain when I hit the trail and began tromping over the snow.

Up up up towards Page Meadows, a path I can barely cut in the summer given that I've only run it a handful of times and until you hit the Rim Trail markings are few and far between. But I found the meadows and was rewarded with bluebird, crisp morning air and wide open virgin meadows all to myself.

I picked my way along paths previously trampled down by cross country skiiers, hikers and the occasional snow-shoer, seeking out the most well-worn trails to stay on top of the snow. My feet sank in more than a few times and I kept having to stop to flick snow off my ankles to try and keep my socks dry. Gaiters, perhaps more than Spikecross, would be a worthwhile investment.

I wanted to just keep running. I had the quiet forest to myself, the early morning wife drop off at SFO four hours earlier seemed days away. I wanted to run to Alpine. To Squaw. And beyond. I knew I couldn't, that I didn't have enough water or food or even know where I was going. But damn I wanted to go.

I meandered around the meadows and popped back onto the main trail, heading generally away from home for as long as the trail held. It sloped down and ended a bit before I had hoped. I had to turn around, and after a slippery slog back up quickly found myself back in the meadows but the trail leading back down the hill provided elusive. I wasn't worried per se, but trudging back up the hill in the snow wore me out and I was starting to get ready to be back in the warm house.

Backtracking, I managed to pick out the right trail. I was found again but tremendously sad that my run would be coming to an end. Two hours of bliss, my first snow run ever. And not my last.

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