Since today is Wednesday, it is time to link up with Debbie for her Wednesday Word linkup. Today’s word is Independent. Click the button below to join in and see who else is linking up today!
Running, especially trail running, gives me independence. When I strike out in the woods alone, I enjoy the solitude amidst the nature.
Sometimes it can be a bit freaky to run alone. That’s why I was so glad that our Ragnar trail relay team linked up with another team so we each would have buddies to run with the entire time, but especially for our night legs. I prefer not to be too independent when running in the woods at night 😉 Here’s a recap of my second leg of Ragnar Trail Appalachians. If you missed my recap of leg 1, click HERE.
Leg 2: Yellow loop, 4.6 miles, 5:25 AM Saturday morning, nicknamed “Big Pine”
When we left off, I had gone back to our campsite around 11:30 PM to try and get some sleep. It looked like I wouldn’t be running again until at least 3 AM. As these things go (for me) with Ragnar, I didn’t sleep a wink. I actually set a new record, and stayed up for 42 hours straight this time. I don’t recommend it.
As it turns out, Tammie and I barely had to face a night run. The trail conditions were already not great (understatement of the year) and that combined with the dark put our team several hours behind. It was only dark for the first mile of our second leg, and then the sun came up. At 5:30, a little before sunrise on Saturday morning, we found ourselves in the transition area again (me with zero sleep) as Carrie and Mariah came running in. We headed out for the yellow loop, which Ragnar describes as follows:
This single-track loop is a classic Appalachian wooded trail where you will encounter some fantastic views. Near mile 2, you will come to a large grove of towering pine trees, the namesake of this trail. Enjoy the soft cushion of pine needles. You will encounter a steep drop as you hug a contour line for half-a-mile before climbing back up for another run through the pine. The trail then rollercoasters along the edge of the 600’ escarpment of the Briery Mountains. Enjoy the view through the trees.
Once again, we faced extremely muddy and slick conditions. After falling so much during our first loop my main goal was not to fall.
As I mentioned, it was only dark for the first mile or two of our run. But even in the dark it wasn’t difficult to follow the trail, as the markers had little flashing lights on them.
The sunrise had perfect timing, Just as daylight crept in, we found ourselves in a large pine grove – the namesake of this trail. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I did a terrible job of capturing it.
We ran up a steep hill coming out of the pine grove area, but looking at the elevation profile I’m not sure exactly how far into our run we were. Maybe around mile 3.5?
As we left the pine area we ran along a cliff/ridgeline area that had a great overlook view. Had our run been dark the whole way we would have completely missed this view.
From there we roller coastered our way back to the shared trail that would take us over the bridge and to the transition area. I came very close to falling, but managed to stay on my feet this time!
The trail shared by all three loops was even messier than the last time we had been on it, on Friday evening.
The yellow loop was my favorite and I thought it was the most beautiful of the three trails. Tammie and I arrived back in the transition area around 7:00 AM. We hit the hose area again to rinse off and then headed back to camp.
Upon arrival, we found out that our team captain, Gayle, was working on getting permission for our team to double up, or possibly triple up. The way things were going our team would not finish until 5:00 PM or later. We had originally been slated to finish by 10 AM or so, and no one wanted to stay that long. We had all had enough of the rain, mud, and being perpetually wet and muddy. I inhaled two hard boiled eggs that Debbie brought for me (I was starving) while I waited to see what the decision would be…
What does being independent mean to you?
How are you celebrating Independence Day this weekend?