The lesson of the day is that no matter what my rational brain thinks, I need to bring a camera everywhere. There is so much beauty in this world. When I stop to recognize it and celebrate the life-force of the Earth, I am a happier, more content person. When I photograph beauty, images are cemented in my mind so that I can return to them when I have forgotten the immensity of the world and my tiny place within humanity.
It’s a warm, humid day today, this first Saturday in June. The trail is as dry as dry can be, though the grasses are growing like weeds (pun intended) and legs brushed by the waving strands as we ran through the various sections. I brilliantly brought my water bottle pack that clips around my waist and had 20 oz.of water for the run; I drank the entire thing and still lost a pound over the course of an hour.
We headed up the South Boulder Creek Trail to where it meets the Mesa Trail. It was a steady climb; nothing earth-shattering, but enough to get the heart rate elevated and breathing regulated. Susan and I passed a gentleman who kindly stepped off the path for us. His comment to us? “You’re the Little Engine that Could, look at those legs pumping like pistons.” Yup, look at us go.
We reached the Mesa Trail and didn’t have to wait long for Siga to arrive next. Susan and I took a breather but Siga said “I don’t know if I’ll get started again if I stop, so I better not stop.” We became a threesome and climbed the short section of the Mesa Trail before we took a hard right onto Bluestem.
I haven’t been on Bluestem in months, and the passage of time diminished my memory of the true nature of this section of trail. Bluestem is long, not short, and it’s a helluva climb. There’s nothing easy about an uphill that never stops, never lets you rest, never lets you catch your breath. My pace slowed to 13-minute miles on this section, and I let my legs run on effort, not time.
At the top of Bluestem we cut over on the Mesa Trail to South Fork, where we did the magical downhill that I adore. This is where I got my breath back, felt the strength return to my legs, and saw the carpet of flowers.
This carpet of blue and yellow flowers went on as far as I could see in a relatively small section of woods. The grass was tall and the wildflowers were thick as thieves. I slowed my pace and mentally kicked myself for putting the camera back in its case before leaving the car this morning. The trail was shaded, dappled with sunlight here and there, but the wildflowers were nestled in a protected section of forest that soaked up rainwater and didn’t relinquish it willingly.
Wildflowers grew on stalks two feet high. They swayed in the breeze and beckoned for me to come and spend some peaceful moments. Sadly, I didn’t comply, but enjoyed the visual peacefulness of the sight while I jogged past.
I was covered in salty sweat when I returned to the car, and have cherished the memory of the steep climb and the beauty of the downhill.