Can I tell you what I DON'T want to do? I DON'T want to listen to any music by Celine Dion. I DON'T want to accidentally drop my phone on the floor of a truck stop bathroom. And I DON'T want to accidentally mis-step on a trail so steep that if you slip you end up looking like this (hopefully minus the tuxedo):
Last week I climbed to the top of Gooseberry Mesa. As mentioned, the trail going up is so steep (climbing more than a thousand feet in less than a mile) that it makes you cry for your mother. But the trip down is trickier because of the loose dirt and rocks that are begging to make you slip, and then mock you for looking like Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits (hopefully minus the tuxedo). Do. Not. Become. Jean. Claude. Van. Damme. On. The. Trail.
But if you can survive the death march to the top of Gooseberry Mesa, you are rewarded with some of the most spectacular views I've ever seen.
Gooseberry is one of my all-time favorite places to run. The trails are challenging so my pace usually isn't too speedy, but Gooseberry has a great mix of packed trails, sand, and slick rock.
And then every once in a while the trails pop out on to the edge of the mesa and it feels like you can see forever.
I shot this picture into the sunlight and it made the sky look like sunset. (That is one of my favorite photography tricks - shoot pictures into the sun.)
With wide expanses of slick rock it would be so easy to get lost up here. Fortunately there are white dots all along the way to keep you on track. It's like Hansel and Gretel went out with a can of white spray paint.
The best part of Gooseberry Mesa is The Point where many of the trails converge right on the edge of a cliff. This is around mile 23 of the Zion 100. Take my word for it that pictures don't do justice to this area.
The round trip took me 20 miles and left me itching to go back again. I will not be wearing a tuxedo.
On Saturday I took Jack out for six miles near Gould's Rim. (Jack ran 18 miles this week!) He looks like a black Brillo Pad with legs.
From the look of things, I'm sure Jack thought he had died and gone to heaven.
With a few mid-week runs I managed 38 miles for the week. Guess what - the medals for the Baker's Dozen Half Marathon have arrived for the race coming up on Saturday. I'm really happy with them. I think runners will be proud to wear them around their necks. Delicious. (Still a day or two to register at www.bakersdozenhalfmarathon.com.)
"For all the hardship, I was still excited to be on the trail, testing my endurance, feeling especially alive as strength and fatigue flowed alternately through my limbs." ~ Colin Powell