Adventures into the backcountry

 

 

Yesterday, upon waking up I asked JWail to guess how many days off in a row I had of exercising. He guessed 4. Wrong, but close. I took 5 rest days off from the half marathon last week. Physically I needed it, but mostly the rest was mental.

I needed to be reminded of why I love to exercise. I needed to crave it. The first few days of soreness I relished in the days of rest. But, come Thursday the cravings set it. Literally, I itched to not just jog my usual route or go to the gym. I itched for adventure.

We took off to the Snowy Range. About 30 miles west of Laramie, the granite peaks soar high above 10,000 feet. The French Creek Trail sees less travellers than the coveted Lake Marie trails across the highway. The French Creek trail also leads to a beautiful aspen grove: the backdrop for the header of this blog.

Last year out on the trail.

We took the doggies and headed down the trail. I say down because we follow the river, which if you know anything about gravity, rivers flow down. Trails like that throw me especially after a week off the legs. We descended over rooty, rocky, steep terrain that had me grinning from ear to ear loving life. There was plenty of “hike a bike” and cute mythological stream crossings that I’m sure gnomes and leprechauns were going to frollick out of.

The river we followed down 6 miles and back up 6 miles for 3.5 hours.

We stopped just before the aspen grove at about the 5 mile mark. Yup, 5 miles of glorious descending. We then hit a high thin trail that left very little margin of error before tumbling over and down the embankment. Then we hit the aspen grove. Or what would have been beautifully brightly colored leaves if we had been there at that same exact place 2 weeks ago.  A bit of a bummer.

And then we had to turn around. And climb the six miles back up the steep, rocky, rooty terrain with “hike a bikes” and garden gnomes and tired legs that hadn’t done anything and 5 days and now took 2 hours to wake up past the burning I hate my life phase.

One of the hike a bikes across a stream. Definitely not on the way back since I am still smiling here.

The climb was grueling. We didn’t really talk. Then it started to rain. Then we climbed more and the rain turned to hail. We climbed up even more and it turned to snow. Beautiful snow. I slowed down (which may have meant stopping since I was going slow uphill anyways), taking in the scenery around me. In a few weeks the road to these trails would be closed until next spring when the snow melted. The moment of pain turned sacred and spiritual within nature. The air crisp, smelling of decay, the leaves crunching on the ground, and the granite spires of the peaks rising up and cutting against a dense gray sky. This is what I came for. This is what I live for. And I went to bed with achy legs. I missed achy legs.

The crunch of the leaves out on the trail.

Tell me about your fun adventures this weekend?! What did you all do?

Do you go crazy without days of physical activity?

 

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