Sunday, April 7, 2013

Nature...She Will Always Surprise You...

Spring time in Bluegrass is a magical time for so many. For some it starts with March and March Madness. For others it is April and the opening of Keeneland...followed by the Kentucky Derby. For me it signals trail of the happiest times of the year! Not only is the cold gone but the trails are bloom and begging to be explored. It is the perfect time to get out in nature. It is a "not to hot...not to cold....go as fast as you can" time of year!

Turns out this weekend the weather was perfect...which meant only one thing: time to get out and check the trails at Raven Run!!

So with ankle brace...trail socks...trail shoes...trail clothing...a happy heart and a raging sinus infection... I took to the trails. I was not disappointed....they were in perfect condition. They almost looked like nature herself ran along with a broom and cleaned them off just for me. Spring is a little late so the trees were bare but it is only a matter of time before they are all full and bustling with life! I cannot express how happy my heart was to be there!

The weather today was wonderful. It was in the high 60's and the wind was so loud it sounded like the ocean. If you closed your eyes I swear you would not know the difference. It provided the most incredible breezes and they always came just when you were starting to get a little too warm. It was mainly overcast but that did not prevent this "ginger" from getting sunburned. Nothing too bad...just a gentle reminder that I spent a good amount of time with Mother Nature...which is a very good thing. Due to the fact that I am hacking like someone who smokes about 20 packs a day...I could not get much running in but that did not matter. Today was about making my way up and down the trails. It was a time to let my eyes and feet get acquainted with the changes that winter had brought. It was perfect even if I was going at a slower pace....

Those trails are crazy clear!

Trees are still bare :(

I did not see much wildlife but I did find a magical spot I have never seen before. While making my way to Overlook I noticed a rock "stairway" leading down to what looked like a giant pool off to the right of the trail. On my way back I took a few minutes and climbed down those rocks and over a few broken tree branches. I could not believe what I found! It was amazing! Beautiful rock ledges produced a waterfall to the most amazing pool I have ever seen there. The huge rocks leading out went all the way up along side the main trail. It took all I had not to jump in. The sound was breathtaking. It was such a "Secret Garden". It was not "tropical island" big but it really had an impact on me. I'm still trying to figure out how I have never noticed it before. That is the amazing thing about nature...she will always provide something special if you just take the time to visit with her.  I cannot wait to head back and visit again....especially after a few good rains when it will be full and flowing louder than today.

Hello Secret Garden!!

Other than that you are going to see me start traveling a little more over the next few months. I am very excited and hope to take you all along for some great adventures! The first stop is home. My heart has been calling on me to return for a while and I am finally going to go back to my roots and recharge :)

Now, as you all know...I am from New York. What you may not know is that New York is not all NYC. I am from a town called Goshen...which lies in between NYC and West Point Military Academy. It is a "Norman Rockwell" kind of town where till this day people know who I am when I come home. I still know everyone there and many of my high school classmates have returned to raise families of their own. Very little has changed since I left and to me it is perfect. Come to think of it...the NY Times thinks it is pretty close to perfect too...they wrote an article about it referring to it as a "utopia".  Google it. It is pretty neat.

I cannot wait to recharge on the big southern style front porch overlooking my front yard. You cannot see the road from the yard due to all the mature trees that block it. Directly across is a cow field. Behind the house are mowed paths leading to another cow field. In the mornings you wake up to the sound of a woodpecker sounding on the gutters outside the windows. In the afternoon may see a deer or two walking past...or the really chubby groundhog that lives in the stone wall climbing a peach tree to grab a snack. At night you can sit and stare at the bright stars and hear the owls hoot and crickets chirp. It is a place where nature is always around and even if you cannot see it you know it is there.

It is the home where as a child my mom would hurry us out the front door with our dog and tell us to play until lunch time. We would explore the trails and all the wildlife they were home to. Even as a child I thought I could save anything and would often greet my father with a young bird who fell out of a nest or some other small injured animal. We knew everything around us and what was good to play in and what was not. In the summer my mother would tie coffee cans around our neck with twine and have us go pick blackberries for hours. Most times she did not even get a can full as we had spent our whole afternoons eating everything we picked. The summer evenings were spent sitting on the large back porch grilling out or entertaining my father's firm with the annual pig roast. Nature was constantly around us growing up. We would literally see the full circle of life...from the young rabbits being born in the tool shed to the old possums who would die up in the path. It was a magical place and it is often hard to describe to those who have never been it is only 80 miles outside of NYC. It is also a great place to run. I cannot wait to explore those trails and possibly a few farms (that is if the bulls are not in with the is spring time you know!)

My front yard...with Jackson the family Golden Ret.

It is also close to a place very close to my heart...Lake Minnewaska. As a teenager I spent many weekends there and can still remember every trip. Back then it was a simple and romantic place to go...just far enough away from Goshen for a full day trip. It was a drive with the windows down and Sublime or Drop Kick Murphy's blaring on the radio. It was a place of first loves and everything that came with it.

Now it is a place of unbelievable beauty. The lake itself is actually a "dead lake"...meaning it is too acidic to support life. It is crystal clear  and surrounded by rock cliffs and trails. It is kind of ironic. A "dead" lake that makes someone like me feel so "alive". It cannot support life but its beauty supports me in a way that words cannot describe. I cannot wait to return and explore it again. To see it with new eyes and discover all those things I missed as a carefree teen is very exciting. I can remember the numerous trails surrounding the lake but never really had the opportunity to run them until now. There are so many it is going to be hard to choose which ones to visit.

Courtsey: MWanner : Lake Minnewaska

For now that is it...sorry if I got a little off track but being in nature often returns me to my childhood. I think it is a large part of why I love to trail run. I get to see things that remind me of being a kid and I get to live those memories with each step I take. It is something important to me and I love that you all let me pass it on to you. To me this is such an exciting time of year. I love winter and the snow but to get out in nature and just "be" part of all the life waking up after months of sweet slumber is just so humbling.

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