Today I was lured back to your park of wonders: 9 miles later I left slightly tired, not quite fulfulled, and craving more.
Meadowlark Trail welcomed me at the entrance to your lands with a steady 10% grade climb of switchbacks and a group of curious deer. My yak trax gripped responsively into the scant residual of packed snow and drying mud. M.T. parted ways onto Plymouth Creek/Mtn Trail which snickered as I approached and then showed me no mercy as I slammed into your "wall". This wall challenges me each and every time. Only once have I been able to non-stop run the entire impressive incline (steps were built on the left side of the trail, if that tells you anything). Its a lung and calf burner but I respect it's mockery; it plays well on my competitive nature.
This is what oils my machine.
Almost at the summit of PMT, Homesteader Trail (a nice fast yet rolling downhill) broke gently off to the right and dived into a dark, luscious forested path. Your beautiful single track, soft cushioning dirt, and an earthy damp scent carressed my senses. I took a moment to listen to the silence, soak in the scenery, then cranked my ipod and opened my wings. I wanted to roar!
Once I reached the end of HT, Argos paused at the "T" and slowly trotted back down to the right.
"Not this time, Little Man," I said with a big grin, "We are taking her to the top!" I veered left back onto PCT and started yet another ascent.
Red Mesa Loop greeted me with an amazing panoramic view. Clouds had formed over the valley and wisps of gray precipitation hung in the air. As I ducked back into the loop's forested trail, soft, beautiful snow flakes began falling on my eyelashes and the ground turned from dirt to thick packed snow. I turned off my music and ran the next three miles in total wintery silence sans the even smooth sounds of my breath.
I stared, longingly, at your Golden Eagle trail that wound around the sides of a sister mountain then glanced at my watch. Next time, next time.
I regrouped onto PCT and began my descent to the trailhead. Music back on and wings open yet again; I flew. The flurries had ceased and I felt as if I had experienced my own little slice of heaven up on RML. No one else knew.
The last mile of PCT was quick feet and serious scanning. The earth had opened up and vomited out a tremendous path of sludge and muck. Wrong footing was sure to leave you ankle deep in shoe sucking mud the consistency of thick oatmeal.
Back at the car with a tired pup, I glanced back up at your face and smiled with much appreciation.
This is my playground.