Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Trail Mix...

"The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." - Robert Frost

I now live in a rain forest. Perhaps not a super warm tropical one, but a wonderful one indeed! Since moving back home I've wanted to explore the trails around me either using two wheels or two feet. There is a little trail right by my place that I often walk to go up to the library, or run to get a strong 30 minute run in.

I also learned that if I went down the street a bit I'd come to the entrance of another trail, which would lead me to a bridge, which would lead me to a walking path, which would then lead me to a trailhead! It sounds like a long trek, but actually it's a nice 15 minute walk. This trailhead is one starting point to get into Lynn Canyon. Follow it and there is peace and beauty to be found!

As I've been blessed enough to have some of my Alberta friends come out and visit me, I've decided that I must share with them this treasure trove of trails that I've learned of! Dave and I walked part of this trail when he came to visit, but this time, when Joz came out to visit, we would run it!

I was so glad that Joz was up for the adventure. First off she's training for the Arizona Ironman and this was supposed to be a bit of a rest weekend for her. This run would definitely not be a rest run because it's mainly up, with stairs, bridges, roots, mud puddles, rocks and cliffs thrown in. Secondly, there are some people who when in training (and I'm speaking about me here when I actually trained for something) who sometimes find it hard to stray from their program. Thankfully Joz was ready and will to break from the normal routine! It helped that, just like me, this was her old stomping ground and she loved the area.

So we started off with a warmup walk to the trailhead then started on our way. The first thing you notice when you run through here is the sounds. I could hear Lynn Creek rushing by, the birds chirping happily in the trees, the trickle of water running down the side of the hill, my footsteps as I leaped merrily along, and not too long into the start of our climb, my breathe as my breathing got heavier and deeper!

The other thing I always notice when I'm running in the trails around here is the smell. Everything smells sweet from the pines, and sometimes you get a little whiff of cedar mixed in. Plus there is the honest smell of the dirt. Aaaah. There is nothing like it!

I'd only been through part of this trail so wasn't sure what to expect, but knew that there would be some challenging bits. We stopped now and then to enjoy the view as well as to catch our breathe...of course I used this time as an excuse to take some photos of the Garden of Eden we were in.

I'm not sure how long the actual trail is, but eventually you get to the Twin Falls. At this point there were more and more people on the trail. Not a big deal, except when you can't get through. This is when I had to remind myself I was doing this for fun and if I had to stop and wait before passing, it was not going to matter. Funny how some mind habits are hard to break?

It took us about 55 mintues to get to the deep pool. My mom used to take me here as a kid when it was hot out. The pool is glacier fed, ergo it's darn cold! However, in the heat of the summer it can be brilliantly refreshing. I've always loved it because it was so clear. Hard to tell how deep it is. People, yes Joz included, used to cliff jump into the pool. I never did because I was afraid of heights. Not to mention there's been more than one death in this canyon and a few were from doing just that! Yup, I'm a chicken and proud of it!

We sat at the pool for a little while and enjoyed a snack before heading back down the trail. This part was definitely easier than the up, but there was still a super steep section to contend with. We had to walk down it earlier because it was so steep and there was quite the drop on the one side, not to mention lots of roots to trip you up. My attempt to run up it was feeble at best. My lungs were burning within a few minutes. Definitely something to work on!

Although the way back had more down bits, it still took us about 45-50 minutes. The thing I love most about trail running is not just the fact that I'm surrounded by nature, but it's also because I have to be in the moment at all times. One distraction from thought and I could be kissing the ground quickly and unexpectedly. I love that I run on the balls of my feet as I tap dance through the roots and rocks. I joke that I'm a long haired leaping gnome now...but that's truly how I feel!

The Buddhists believe that everything on earth is interconnected. Plants, animals, and minerals. If there was any doubt of this before, the doubt is now gone. When I'm in the trails, whether it's walking or running, I can feel the energy that nature presents me and know that I give that energy back. It's an amazing feeling and I'm so glad that I can experience it every day!

Some photos of our adventure are below. Enjoy, then go out and find a piece of forest heaven near you and go hug a tree!

Peace out my lovely leaping gnomes!

Photo 1: Joz running up just a few of the many many stairs on this trail!

Photo 2: Wee bridge through a garden of skunk cabbage...yum!

Photo 3: Lynn Creek - a small portion of it.

Photo 4: Twin Falls

Photo 5: More of Twin Falls

Photo 6: Me and Joz on the bridge at Twin Falls - you can always find a tourist will to take your photo!

Photo 7: Joz using her Wonder Woman super powers to hold up a tree so I could go under!

Photo 8: The pool at the top...told you it is crystal clear! And cold....brrrr.

Photo 9: Stairs that start the super steep bit.

Photo 10: After the stairs on the steep bit, mind your footing!

Photo 11: Be one with the roots...still steep!

Photo 12: Teeny weeny flowers along the path.

Photo 13: Super mini waterfall along the edge of the trail.