A Little Day Creek Exploration

Me, delusionally thinking I make the decisions in my life: Tomorrow I’m gonna sleep in, relax with my coffee and books and enjoy a nice day in the air conditioning. It’s going to be lovely.

“13 mile loop at our spot tomorrow. 8am.”

Me, remembering that I hand my fitness regimen over to other people and thus have zero control over my life: Fuck.

I mean, yeah. Ok. Fine.

The earth’s gonna be on fire. May as well run 13 miles in it.

So, I’ve been struggling to write over the last week. Everything I want to say comes out in a rant. There’s some shit going down in America right now. In case you weren’t paying attention. And a large part of that comes from our just really fucked up history. That we are completely uneducated about. And unwilling to teach our children about. Or learn about ourselves.

But then I considered my role. And for right now, my role is to address people on an individual basis. And not rant to the masses.

Because honestly. I am realizing more and more that the masses who I surround myself with. The masses most likely to read this. Are far more aware of the issues than I gave them credit for.

So, lemme get back to my true purpose here. Which is to bitch and complain about running and shit. And if y’all wanna chat about systemic racism and all the ways our government and systems need to be fixed, holla at me.

So Day Creek.

That’s our place.

And Beautiful Beastie is looking for ever increasing route options.

When we were out there on Saturday, as I chased down clementines and tried to avoid soiling myself like a toddler, BB was commenting on a side trail that we’d passed on a few of our runs out here.

And pondering on where it went.

And how it could be incorporated into an ultra run.

So, that’s where we were headed. On this 13 mile run.

To explore a trail neither of us had ever been on before.

I didn’t fully comprehend that when I agreed. She’d thrown some road names at me. Which we both knew was pointless. And said she expected it to be about 13 miles.

Now, BB doesn’t throw out exact numbers. Ever. It’s always a range of numbers. With at least a 5 mile degree of error on either side.

So, when she said a very specific number, I was suspicious. She said 13. I figured I better pack for 20.

We headed up the old Day Creek Rd. At BB’s standard super human power hike pace. Which I may as well be running.

Near the top, we took a left onto the trail she’d been pondering.

Ok.

So about half a mile in, we have some options. A steep cut back up. Continue straight on down. Or a casual right.

We discussed it.

And I pretended to have some intelligent opinions.

And BB pretended my opinions weren’t totally uninformed.

And we took the casual right. Onto the unnamed, unmarked trail.

And headed back down the mountain.

In search of a road. That would take us somewhere. I think she had maybe mentioned the AT and Blackhorse Gap and ima be real. At no point did I ever have the slightest fucking clue what she was talking about.

But this is not new.

I put a lot of faith into other people maneuvering me safely through the world.

It’s how I build trust.

So this trail dumps you out onto what looks to be a freshly graveled road. A private one. Like, maybe someone’s very long driveway. Their very long, very private driveway.

And I don’t know about y’all, but I’m reluctant to test folks property boundaries these days.

Americans are very fond of their 2nd Amendment rights.

So we turned around.

And about a quarter of a mile back up, we tried to figure out where we’d gone wrong.

And I pretended to have some intelligent opinions.

And BB pretended my opinions weren’t totally uninformed.

I consulted my Strava map. To make it look like I was a contributing member of this team.

And Strava said we were standing right on top of the intersection to the road we were looking for.

We kind of turned in a circle. To look at all the trees. And the definite absence of road.

Well, that’s not at all helpful.

Fine. Let’s just climb back up. The unnamed, unmarked trail.

Got back up to the original trail options, and decided to try the steep cut back up.

And it wasn’t long before we looked around and said…well, this looks familiar.

And it was. Because we were right back on the original trail. At the top of Doty Ridge.

And I started doing math. Which is when you know I’m on the verge of panic. And I was having visions. That if we couldn’t do the route she originally wanted to. She wasn’t going to be satisfied with a little 10 mile run. She was gonna wanna go out for more adventure.

And it was just me out here with her.

So I couldn’t just bail. Like a little punk.

And the reality of 20 miles. In this heat. Started flashing like a red alert inside my brain.

And when we came out onto the Parkway, BB tried to explain where the route she had pondered would have taken us.

And I pretended to know some of the words she was saying.

And she pretended that I’m not a blithering Trail idiot.

And I was just trying to steer her away from making me run somewhere that was going to end with me having to climb up Blackhorse Gap. Because I try to avoid that with everything I have in me.

And eventually we decided that we’d head down the Parkway. And try to find the road from the other side.

Thank fuck.

And after about a mile of Parkway, we found it.

And BB again tried to explain the route to me.

And this time I didn’t have to pretend to understand. I actually got it. (Sometimes you just have to give me a minute. Or a mile. Or 10.)

And we headed down the newly discovered road.

And I think we were probably not ever actually trespassing at any point.

And made our way back to the unnamed, unmarked trail.

And again climbed all the fucking way up.

And I kept saying shit like, it’s really not as hot out here as I thought it would be.

As the sweat was pissing down my face into my eyes obscuring my vision.

And as we discussed the potential that this new route added to our mileage options, BB started to form a plan. For an ultra day.

And she suggested that Track Star might like to join us for part of it. If she wouldn’t mind waiting back at the parking lot for us to finish the rest of the route.

And I suggested that she might bring a book. And read in the shade by the creek. While she waited.

And then I heard what I was saying. And it sounded lovely. And I was apparently saying this out loud, because BB had a very clear response.

“No. You’re running the whole thing.”

Right. I’m not in charge. Fine.

And that’s absolutely for the best. Because if I was in charge of me, I’d spend a whole lot more time just not doing a damn thing.

So I managed my way back down the mountain.

And back to the creek.

For my creek beer.

Because this is really the only way I’ll run now. If it ends in creek beer.

But. Also. I mean, I could enjoy a good book and beer by the creek while everyone else runs…

14 1/2 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing. And that’s about as close to accurate mileage as you’re gonna get BB to commit to.

Also, if you’re looking for a good book. This one will tear your heart out. Before giving it back to you. And telling you to take care of it. And everyone else’s. Please.

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