Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday Adventure Run

I took my Friday adventure run. After driving a few miles from home, I parked at the conjuncture of two gravel paths known as Top of the Hill Road and Bottom of the Hill Road. As their names indicate, one climbs out of the Delta and follows the ridge line on the edge of the Loess Bluffs. The other winds around the foot of the hills. They not only connect where I parked but on the other end as well making a loop if I followed them all the way around.

The plan was to start up the hill and since I didn't know how long the loop was, I would turn back after around seven and a half miles if I hadn't made it to Bottom of the Hill Road, fifteen being my limit for the day. I hadn't been out here in over a decade so I was pretty excited as I started my sweaty ascent into the past. I always feel like I am running out of one world into another and out of the present into the past when I run from the Delta into the hills. I can't escape that feeling nor do I want to.
That little flat line on the horizon is the delta.
I seemed to climb forever, the hill proper being about three-fourths of a mile but after each peak the road would flatten only to begin another rise. I stopped from time to time just to look at some of the overviews of the flat land below. I never stop when I run the delta unless it is to pee or to pick something up like a rock or a spoon or a penny.

There was no traffic, few house, and after the hard climb the October nip kept me comfortable and happy. I settled into a run three miles/walk one cycle. I had made one three mile run and was walking when I saw the road barricaded up ahead.

I saw a man outside his trailer house, on his little piece of heaven on earth.

"Hey. Can I get through on foot?" I asked.

"Yeah," he responded. "Just be careful where you step."

One of the headstones in the cemeatry in the woods.
I interpreted that to mean the road was washed out. What I found instead was a road being paved and it had a lot of oil on it. It was not only "a road" but was indeed "the road," valley hill, the name we give to every single street that rises from the delta into the hills. This was valley hill on the other side of the one I had run up earlier, and I could remember from days past that at the foot of this monster I would find Bottom of the Hill Road. The monster was .8 miles long and I can't wait till they finish paving it because I am coming back to run up it.

Down below I did indeed find my road and started the direct jog back towards the truck. But I now knew the loop was not going to be long enough. I wanted fifteen. Where would I find the difference? As I pondered this, I stumbled upon an old cemetery at the foot of the hills. Maybe there was once grass there but now there is only old tombstones in the leaves and trees.

Trotting along the Bottom of the Hill Road I realized I am going to have to start eating a second breakfast. The bowl of cereal I had was long gone and what replaced it was weakness and hunger. I had two Honey Buns in my pack, and on my second walk break I ate one. "More calories," my body was screaming. "More calories," but I saved one snack for later.

Shortly after the cemetery and as I was approaching my truck, I saw it. The levee. A long levee with a gravel road on top left the base of the hills and protected the farmland from the ravages of the creek it inclosed. This is the extra distance I needed. I hopped up on the levee and began shuffling into the unkown. The sense of space was stunning as the land on my right flowed out into an awesome scene of open expanse, of unyeilding distance. Surpisingly, the levee ran a little over two miles and just ended. It just stopped. I stopped, looked, and wondered why. Then I shufffled back to my truck and finished with 14.67 total foot miles: 11.53 running, and 3.14 walking.

Before I had the truck door unlocked, my mind was already searching for the next adventure.
My view form the levee road.