As I mentioned Monday, I hit the trails on Saturday afternoon for a run up Draper Mountain. I wasn’t sure what to expect due to the rain Friday afternoon and the freezing rain we had Friday night. It ended up being one of the prettiest trail runs I’ve ever been on.
There were a lot of areas along the trail where tree branches (and sometimes entire trees) were bent over the trail, due to the weight of the ice. I was careful not to break branches going through these areas so that there weren’t a bunch of broken branches when the ice melts.
Along the way I did encounter a few fallen trees across the trail. I was able to carefully climb through them each time, though.
After about a mile and a half I made to ‘The Landing’ which is a false summit of sorts. I caught my breath and stretched my calves briefly before heading up a trail called Draper Drop, which takes you up to the top in a little over a mile. I could tell things were only going to get prettier from there.
Up until this point the trails had mainly been muddy, with a few slick spots. But as I made my way to the summit, it got icier and icier. It wasn’t a solid ice, though. It was the kind of ice your shoes crush through, so my footing wasn’t too tough. The only really tricky spots were the icy rocky areas.
One thing that really helped me on my run was my new snow trax that I bought around Christmas time (basically the same thing as Yak Trax). I thought they would help on the slick conditions, and they did. What also surprised me was how well they helped in the sloppy mud on the trail. Cool!
The work to get to the top was worth it. I ended up having a really clear view (which I was hoping for). All of the tree tops were so pretty!
With most of the hard work over, it was time to head back down the mountain. Draper Drop is the only trail that connects the summit to the false summit area, but from there I decided to head down a different way than the way I came up.
Once I made it back to the false summit I headed down Easy Street briefly. Once again it was totally iced over at the top, but I didn’t fall this time.
A short way down Easy Street, I turned on a new-to-me trail: No Quarter. This was a really pretty trail with lots of mountain laurel and rhododendron. I think it will be absolutely gorgeous in spring when everything blooms.
As I got towards the bottom of the mountain, it got pretty sloppy. A lot of melting had been going on while I was running, and there was a lot more mud and water.
In total, the run was a little over 4.5 miles. Honestly, I was expecting it to be an icy, tough, and kind of pointless run. But it just goes to show you some of the runs you have the lowest expectations for can end up being the best.
When was the last time a run/workout that you had low expectations for surprised you?