Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Secret Spots

       One of the things that has absolutely captivated me about running long distances is the opportunities the practice affords me to get into places that would normally be barred from access.  No, I don't trespass (most of the time.)  But typically, I'll use hiking trails as running routes.  Or utilize winding country roads at the behest of my workout and meditation.  The meditative quality of distance running is another fringe benefit.  You get in killer shape.  But you also fall into a meditative state.

       Over the past three years, as I've trained for different events, I've seemed to have lost my attachment to a regimen.  By that I mean, counting miles, time on my feet, strength workouts, speed workouts, etc.  Granted, I still get all these components covered during my usual core fitness cycle.  But the more I run, the more I enjoy what I call the "adventure run."

         The adventure run is pretty much what it sounds like, er,--an adventure.  You take some water, maybe a few calories, leave your watch at home and get lost.  Below I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite finds from some of my recent "adventure runs."

Ahhhhh, take a whiff of the fresh scent of the pines.  Can you feel the tingling in your nostrils?  This shot of the pines was taken somewhere in Bastrop County, on the rim of where the historic fires of 2008 struck.

Below is a prickly pear cactus sprouting beautifully.  Notice the figs on the top of the plant.  They will soon open into flowers.  This cactus, strangely is on the same route as the pines, less than two miles apart.  All I can say, is only in Texas can you have pines and cactus in the same locale.

To the right is a secret pond, I found somewhere behind the Colorado River Refuge.  Good stuff.  Shortly before I took the photo, there was a family of raccoons going for a dip.

To the left is a shot of the Colorado River through a canopy of at the top of a rise on the Colorado River Refuge.  After a fun section, skirting through gently rolling meadows, you'll climb up a ridge that will put you level with a canopy of sycamores and cottonwoods.  If you position yourself just right, you'll see that the river awaits.  (I usually hike down and take a dip, then continue on my run)

The picture to the right is a place the locals affectionately have named, "Quesadilla Rock."  It is just below the canopy pictured above, and is one of my favorite places to meditate.  It's a couple miles in from the Dragonfly Trailhead at the Colorado River Refuge.

 One of my favorite overlooks ever.  This is the top of Bluff Ridge at McKinney Roughs Nature Park.  For the trailrunner, it's a 3-4 mile trek in depending on which route you take.  A good reward for the climb before you head back down.  For the hiker, bring a picnic and soak it in!

Soak up what's around you, my friends!  There are secret spots all around you.  Stake your claim and make it fun.  Let the world be a witness to your fitness.

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