Trail runners are great. Last week I was able to experience some nice trail "magic" after my short 6 mile run turned into a more interesting 11 mile adventure.
I decided to run a short loop portion of the Way Too Cool course and as I checked the trail maps, it seemed pretty straight-forward. But as you know, it's seldom that simple. I started up the Quarry Rd and quickly came to Brown's Bar which I've never climbed. I headed up this 0.8mi climb until I came across the Western States trail heading east toward Maine Bar. I knew I needed to continue a little farther to get to a trail that would take me west toward the Quarry trail and ultimately back down to the Quarry Rd.
Up until now, all the trails had been really well marked so when I passed two steep, unmarked trails that went off to the right, I didn't think they were what I was looking for. Soon I found myself much farther up the canyon facing a decision. There were 3 trails all coming together, they all had names, but none of them was what I was looking for. I took the trail that headed west thinking at least I would eventually come across Hwy 49 and could make my way back down into the canyon.
After continuing to climb and climb and climb some more, I found myself among houses and paved streets which I knew was wrong. I came across a lady who was able to direct me onto some more trails that would eventually lead me to where I wanted to go. She also informed me I was in Cool, which is NOT where I was suppose to be. I headed off onto more trails through pastures and over hills and soon I was lost again. That's when I came across the trail angels, AKA, Good Samaritans.
Two guys, both with dogs, were just beginning their trail run. When I described my predicament, they quickly invited me to join them and they would lead me to where I needed to go. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep up, they looked fast. We set off and I was quickly enjoying myself immensely. These were some great guys, showing me some great trails that rolled along the hillsides. Only occasionally did the speed increase enough that I was trying hard to control my breathing enough so that they didn't realize how hard I was working. We talked about some of the trails in the area and it turns out I think I was suppose to take one of those unmarked trails I had seen earlier that headed off to the west. Next time I'll try it.
Soon we came to a trail junction where our paths would go separate ways. I thought about all the things that had happened during my run and the luck involved in the timing of meeting these two guys as they started their run. If I hadn't met up with Jim and Adam, I'd probably still be wandering aimlessly around the hills of the American River canyon. Thanks guys.
On another note, this has been a rest week so I've been taking it easy. It's amazing how skipping just one day of running feels like 4 or 5. I had a good tempo run over the weekend before watching the Super Bowl commercials, I mean, the football game. Today was a long, slow, trail run from the Auburn Overlook where I covered the last 5-6 miles of the American River 50 with some new running friends. Since I normally run alone, it's tough sometimes to adjust my pace to something that I don't dictate. Deep down I wanted to run faster but I soon found that enjoying the company of new running friends is more important. The day was beautiful and it was a pleasure to be running along rolling trails as they meandered along the river canyon.
I've been lazy lately about taking my camera on my runs so I'm sorry I don't have any pictures. I really regret not taking it this morning. I'll try to do better. Good luck to all those racing this weekend at Jed Smith and other races. The season is starting to get going with my own first race of the season coming up on the 15th. Can't wait.