Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Mackey Mountain

I don't think I told you about the last time I went to Mackey Mountain. That run ended with me very close to hypothermia. I found myself sitting on the side of the trail and looking at my map and not wanting to move until the rain stopped. It was October and the overgrown trail combined with the cold rain took its toll on me and I just kept sitting and looking at my map for no reason. I realized what was happening and realized I had to warm up and keep moving. I took inventory of everything in my running vest and for the first time ever pulled out my emergency blanket, wrapped it around myself and vowed not to stop or sit until I got back to my truck.

You would think I would have learned my lesson and would be smart enough not to go back to that trail but I had been heading to the Laurel Fork trail, which is one of a very few trails in the area I have not done when the cold rain forced me to turn around. Not wanting to leave business and a trail undone I headed back two weeks ago to attempt the loop again.

I knew it was going to be overgrown and slow moving for the first four miles but after those initial miles, I was expecting to be on the firebreak road from the fires a few years ago where I had been shortly after the fires the first time I did the trail. The first part of my expectations was right with a very overgrown trail and although I was moving slow I kept reminding myself that soon enough the trail would open up and I would actually be running. But when I got to the firebreak my hopes were immediately extinguished when I saw that the road they had cut through the trail to stop the fire had been covered with downed trees to prevent erosion.

I worked my way up it a little bit but there was no reason to pretend I would be finishing my intended loop. Running through the tangle of limbs was impossible and just attempting to walk through it was dangerous. I had no choice but to turn around and work my way back through the brush. I tried to make the most of it and stopped at one of the little views to enjoy the solitude.

As I was preparing to leave it started raining. I still had miles to go and the rain weighted down the branches making the trail even more difficult to negotiate. I kept moving and as it kept raining I started to get cold and saw my hands and arms were turning blue. With flashbacks from two years ago, I put on my jacket, hat, and gloves and wrestled my way across the remaining miles and back to Curtis Creek Rd.

Laurel Fork trail remains undone and the more I look at my map the more I start to wonder if it is even there at all.








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