I wanted to run somewhere that would suck me into the scenery. Somewhere that I'd be less worried about pace and more worried about making sure I drank in every single amazing view. Somewhere that I wouldn't come across people burying a corpse. I was pretty sure I'd get all those things at one of my favorite places - the Chinle Trail.
This are in the back country of Zion National Park used to be called the Petrified Forest. It's not hard to tell why. There are large pieces of petrified wood EVERYWHERE.
And there are little pieces EVERYWHERE.
And there are petrified trees right along the trail.
I was out in the absolute middle of nowhere. I was happily enjoying my run while I listened to my Dan Lebatard podcast from ESPN. (I've learned that I can't listen to him when I run on the road.....because he makes me laugh so hard that people driving by would think I was psychotic to see me running and laughing so hard that I am crying.)
And then I heard some noises up ahead. A minute or two later I could tell that it was talking. Strange because I was really out in the middle of nowhere. Then I came across four people, three guys and a girl, sitting on the side of the trail holding shovels. I prayed that I hadn't just come across a group of hooligans burying a corpse. I think they were actually from the forest service and just clearing the trail. I hoped. I figured I could outrun them if needed because they were wearing pants. Although all the guys had beards. And a beard automatically makes you a better runner. So....yeah. Thankfully they didn't chase me. But what WAS chasing me was a storm.
This area always makes me just a tad jumpy because it seems like the kind of place a mountain lion would love to hang out. There has NEVER been a mountain lion attack out here. But mountain lions are out there. I've never seen one and NEVER want to. Experts say things like "You'll likely never see one but if you do, consider yourself lucky to see such a majestic creature." And my response to those people is "You're an idiot." Tell me this does not look like the man cave of a mountain lion.
That storm that I had been watching roll in eventually hit. The trails around here are horrible when they get wet because they turn to thick clay that cakes onto the bottom of your shoes and adds approximately 18 pounds to each foot.
It poured hard but thankfully didn't last too long. And what was left was an absolutely stunning variety of wild flowers around the trail that had been kissed by the rain. There were some of the most beautiful flowers I've ever seen. I'll save those pictures for another post, but here's just a taste:
I finished the run feeling so thankful to be surrounded by such amazing scenery. I fully realize how lucky I am and I try to make sure I don't take it for granted. I haven't taken a jumping picture for a while but the mood struck me as I finished the run. And when the mood strikes, you listen.
And then one more just for good measure.
Life is good. Run on my friends!