I started us out with an easy loop on the east side of the wilderness area, and I was a little disappointed to see that someone has been clearing land and making new roads. Some kind of development is forthcoming and I don't like it. But we got a little under three miles in before heading west to bigger hills and cooler trailz.
A lot of the trailz are actually double track (fancy-speak for two lane jeep roads) with some tight single track and some wide enough for 4-wheelers to maneuver through.
Terrianne and K2 wait for me--had to have a pee break. Shortly after that, we heard voices through the trees--kind of like something a fox would say if a fox could talk. And them lo and behold, Trail Jesus stood before us. TJ (aka John Nobles) was out with a few friends scoping out the course for a fat ass run called "The Worst Christmas Party Ever."
According to Cole Starkey, he and TJ
"have been spending the last few mornings on the trails. Every time we are out there my mind is blown, such variety and beauty throughout this otherwise unused trail system. It looks like we will be keeping our promise of using each trail only once to get to our 24. Will be going out Saturday and Sunday mornings as well if anyone wants to join in on the training and get a sneak-peek at this one-of-a-kind course."
The race supposedly finishes here--and if you are running and gunning it into the finish, you had better shut it down IMMEDIATELY after crossing the line. The first step past where Trail Jesus is standing is a big one.
The view from here is amazing. You can see forever (or all the way past Sand Springs, which is just like forever.)
From there, we went to the bottom of the 60' bluffs through a narrow slot between huge rocks.
I maintain that the earthquake a couple of years back caused these rocks to move closer together. I had to definitely turn sideways to get through. I even had to take off my Camelback. It could also be because I ate much dessert Thursday and again on Friday. As seen above, K2 also had to turn sideways. I offered him my BodyGlide to help with his passage but he made it without it.
I always like to take a different way out--just HATE going back the same way I came. I thought there was another trail that led out, and took great efforts to find it. But I finally gave in and we backtracked a 1/4 mile back the way we came. Next, it was the maze. Up on the upper plateau, there are jeep roads that just go on and on and on. The tall grass is 8' tall, and there are scrub trees, and persimmon trees, and BRIERS that are 8-10' tall, and you cannot see anything other than the gradually turning rutted out dirt roads. There are two ways out of this maze, and several turns that make giant one-mile circles. I was up here once late in the afternoon, and it got dark on me. I had a headlamp, but made three one mile circles before I found a way out. I DID not want to go in even ONE circle today, and was oh so careful to make sure I was making the correct turns. In one place we came onto a ginormous mud puddle with a swampy mud bog on either side of the road and man-eating briers licking their chops hoping we'd even try coming anywhere other than right through the middle of the mud. We turned around and took a road that I was sure a big circle going nowhere but where we had already been. But luckily, we found the road kept bearing south and it eventually came out on the Powerline. Good news.
This huge plot of undeveloped land has in years past been a good place for people to dump the cars they'd stolen and stripped--often setting them afire. Once on the Powerline, we saw one of these cars, stripped, burnt, and flipped over. The odd thing was that there was a brand new tarp tied to the back of the truck, and it appeared that someone had been living under the truck with the tarp serving as their enclosure. The remains of a campfire, a can opener and a few empty cans seemed to bear this out. Here, K2 takes a load off, relaxing as the inhabitants before him did.
We dropped down through a narrow hallway to get to the trailz that led eastward. Terrianne is still all smiles. She was a good sport.
This Powerline trail is about three miles long, and has longer and steeper climbs that Turkey Mountains Powerline trail. It seems like it's much further, and just when you think you've got to the top of a long climb, there is another 100 feet to climb.
There was a few groans once we topped what we though was our last limb, and saw we still had this.
Rather than going down the last hill, I took us north through the woods and on top of a ridge. This eliminated one downhill and uphill. I am sure we had done enough ups and downs. Besides, this is a nice trail.
One last climb, and it was flat all the way back to the park. We ended up with 9.7 miles, and took over 3 hours to do it. We had a few stops to chat with TJ, pee stops, and hey--it was not a race.
I love running here, except after a rain. I may go back tomorrow too. We'll see how my knee and ankle feel in the morning.
When I got home, I had a call from my brother Fiver, who wanted me to show him a couple of abandoned home-sites on Turkey, as well as the moonshine camp. He is into the metal detector thing, and wanted to see what kind of gold/silver coins he could find. I was glad to do that, and Jake was glad to go with me.
We hit the moonshine camp first, where there is a geocache hidden and I have not been able to find it despite having looked several times. Fiver descended into the lower level of the ruins and scanned his gadget over the ground and it beeped immediately. He said it was a tight signal and there was something there. And wouldn't you know it? He found that geocache in a matter of seconds.
I have paid my dues looking for this one, and even though I did not have a pen, I am claiming a find. (I did go back later with a pen and signed my name. It's official. I now have found every geocache on Turkey Mountain.
Metal detecting was otherwise not-so-good here because of all the tin laying around and buried in the ground. So, we left for the other abandoned home-site. I thought we'd have better luck there. But, here, there was so much trash laying around that every hit was an old buried aluminum or tin can.
The following BitStrips are mine and Fiver's take on our adventure.
Fiver DID find two pennies--both buried about 8 inches deep. He also found an earring--probably silver and if it's a diamond, it's a big one.
Fiver did say that there was too much trash laying around and buried for it to be a "good" place to search.