Yesterday was the first time I’ve really run since the Moab race where I did 43 miles. I actually had a forced recovery period due to acute tendonitis in my ankle. It had been coming on for about four weeks prior to the race and was (understandably) pretty sore afterwards, even swollen. I’ve been fairly good about icing, ibuprofen, and rest. The forced rest also came as a result of a very busy schedule these past two weeks.
But, it’s spring in the desert–the perfect time to get outside. The critters are back out and the flowers are blooming. So, when we talked about our next Dirty Thursday trail run, I was eager to try a new trail we’d heard about. Don’t know that it has a name, but I’m calling it the Bunkerville Train trail.
Apparently, many many years ago, the locals hauled an old train car up to the base of the mountains to hold water for the grazing cattle. I’m not sure how on earth they got this old bit of iron up there, but somehow they did. The train is about 7 miles up from the dam below where we parked. It’s also a 2100 ft elevation gain.
Still concerned about how my ankle would do, Geoff, Gary, and I set off from the dam. It was a steady uphill that began on a road that had been paved a long time ago but was now crumbling. That quickly gave way to a rugged, rocky and sandy road. Not having been there before, the few spurs had us briefly questioning the route. But we carried on. Up, up, and up some more we went.
As we kept running up the hill, the miles ticked off but the hill got steeper. I was glad that it finally forced some walking. I also took the opportunity to take some pictures. The flowers were out and looked so beautiful. The desert is an odd place. From not so far away, it looks pretty dry and dead. But get up close and you see just how living it is. In addition to the flowers blooming, there were critters scampering everywhere.
We saw Horny Toads, regular lizards, a rabbit, hawks, and even an active ant nest. I’ve actually seen more life in the desert than I’ve seen in the forests in Washington state. The temperature was perfect to reawaken the desert too–in the mid 70’s when we were out but did quickly rise to mid 80’s later in the day. I’ve heard it takes about five days in the 70’s to bring the snakes back out. Well, we’ve had that, and I’ve heard about this year’s snake sightings, but we didn’t see any.
We kept chugging up the hill…..or “Train Kept a Rolling” as Gary would say.
We finally reached the train. It was such an odd juxtaposition to see this train car so far from humanity, so far from tracks, so far from “today.” We climbed up it, into it, and all around it. We believe the front section held the water and the back section was the coal hopper. There were no wheels left. After exploring, we saw that there was a section of the ridge with a large hole in it that we also wanted to explore. Although it was directly across from us, we thought there would likely be a road that would head there eventually, so we continued to follow the road up looking to get across. The road peaked at a beautiful, deep and narrow gorge. Then it turned back downhill toward the hole in the rock.
We all scrambled up the hill and into the hole. Who knew this all was there? We wondered why we’d never heard of it before and wondered how long it would have been before we’d discovered it if our running club friend Tiffany hadn’t mentioned it. It reminds me of life in a way. How we can be so focused on our future goal that we forget to explore and live in the present. Just like racing and training. You need to take a time out once in a while and enjoy the moment. That’s what we did yesterday. It was awesome.