Yesterday, I was wrestling with what workout to do after work. I ran and did swim drills on Thursday. I was debating between swim drills and a strength training workout. (I learned the hard way I cannot strength train after swimming - too much for my neck & upper back muscles to handle. I suppose I could swim and do the strength training, but skip the stuff that puts the most stress on those muscles. But then I wouldn't be following the plan, and that's too chaotic for my obsessive-compulsive nature.)
I finally decided on something completely different: Badger Mountain. There's a loop that's about six & a half miles. If I really pump, I can do it in a little over two hours. The Hubs and I are both fond of Badger Mountain, but he cannot maintain the pace I wanted to do. (He has COPD. It would be cruel to ask him to climb that rock twice in at 3 mph.) He's walking Bloomsday next month. It's a 12 km route, and he needs to get some miles in beforehand, but we can do his training walks on a mostly flat route. (Jim is one of those people that, if allowed to go at his own pace, can walk all day. If he taxes his cardiovascular system too much or too quickly, he's done fast.) I figured I'd do the up & over loop on Badger myself, and then we'd do a hike or a ride together during the weekend. (Jim is also hoping to do the 65-mile route at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cycle for Life in August. He's crazy, but I admire his ability to set a high goal.)
I misjudged sunset, so I ended up hiking into the dark. I knew I'd be battling sunset, so I parked at the west trailhead so I could take advantage of the twilight as long as possible. The sun had already set by the time I made it back to the west side of the hill. The trail is easy to follow, though. This area is a brush steppe. It's scrub land. There are no trees on Badger Mountain. (Its neighbor, Rattlesnake Mountain, is the highest treeless mountain in North America.) The wind is brutal, so what does grow on the west side of Badger tends to hug the ground. Until you get back down within a half-mile of the trailhead, there's nothing to create a shadow on the trail. Also, the trail is gravel. If my feet were to stray from the trail, the sound of my footfalls would have changed instantly.
I had a headlamp with me, but I didn't use it. I figured I'd leave it in my bag until it was an absolute necessity, because once I turned it on my night vision would have been destroyed. There was a quarter moon, and until the last half-mile or so, there was still twilight looming to the west.
When I was about a mile from the trailhead, I passed a person headed up. So I'm not the only crazy one.
We're planning a hike or walk this weekend. I plan to get a bike ride in, too - I haven't ridden in over a week!
Of course, there's baking and yard work and housework to do. But I'm still waiting for the coffee to kick in. Maybe it's time for another cup...
Here's a link to the Badger Mountain up & over loop: www.mapmyfitness.com/rou
We're very lucky to have this treasure in public hands. It gets a LOT of use. I see trail runners on it. Bikes are allowed on the west side and part of the east side. On a sunny day, there are thousands of people on this mountain.