Thursday Night Trail Run #2: Great Hill
Great Hill is an okay hill to run. It was humid and miserable out, but Wilder and I drove the fifteen minutes down the bumpy dirt roads of Tamworth to run ten minutes up the old access road to Betty's Path and the poky little summit of Great Hill.
I think it would have been more fun to run up the longer, steeper, forested side known as Big Pines Natural Area – but my intuition led me to this shorter workout. Perhaps it is because Wilder looks sort of like a polar bear with all that fur. Hee was panting before we even began.
But he was game for a run, and we jogged up the access road in seconds flat. The grass was tall and wet and I imagined we'd be picking ticks off him for days, but he never gathered one. The long, hot spells without rain this summer have (fortunately) put a hold on the tick pickin' season.
But it did rain all week, and now the area is quite beautiful and green. The water dripped and glistened from every leaf. The woods were getting dark, but the sun was bursting strong gold and pink through white, puffy clouds, dancing over their darker, precipitation-packed brethren.
When we dipped into the woods at the Betty's Path trailhead, Wilder decided he wanted to power hike rather than run, so we slowed down as we climbed. His pace is still a light jog for me, so I didn't mind. The climb here is not too steep, but just enough to break a sweat. The woods here were quite different from when we visited last fall during our Hikin' Herons expeditions. No snow, of course. Just wet and slick and vibrant and mysterious. The yellow trail blazes shone off the bark, as if they were plugged into the trees. The lichen on the rocks and trees reflected the final bits of tonight's light.
At the top, it was still and sticky and we didn't linger long. The fire tower sat quietly, forgotten, not on my agenda tonight. Wilder wouldn't sit, preferring to sniff around and ignore the water dish – until I gave him some of his favorite treats, which piked his thirst.
We ran down the access road that connects the summit of Great Hill to the main road we climbed up. Wilder perked up and we practically flew down. He lifted off the ground for just a moment when a chipmunk crossed our path and we diverted left into the woods for a moment. Let a dog have his fun. Then we jogged back to the parking lot, careful not to slip on any rocks or leaf traps.
The run was underwhelming, but it was a fun little time. Thursday Night Trail Run #2 was a success, albeit a small one. Tonight was more about reinforcing the habit, because for parts of the day I certainly thought “Nah, I don't need to do this....” Then later, I'd cheer to myself, “Yes! We get to run tonight!!!” Me and Wildie, making pictures blur!
So we ran. And that's what matters.
On the ride home, it rained hard. We lucked out. The windows fogged as the air conditioner roared. I saw some black wobbly thing cross the road, probably a porcupine. There was a sleek, pretty doe, as well. It was all legs and ankles and a little loopy. I hope someday to see it run, full-speed, doing what it was made to do. I'll bet it's beautiful then.