Saturday, March 15, 2014

Trail Running

This morning I wanted to go for a re is a loop trail run. There is a loop around Clealand that I have run part of, but not the whole way before. I was unsure how long the loop would be - I had suspected about 20km. I could have read the trail map, but that is boring. Why not just try it and see how long it takes.
So this loop starts at Chambers Gully trail head on Waterfall Gully Rd, heads up the Chambers Gully track and Bar Tail Spur track to Clealand Wildlife Park. From here you jam onto the Wine Shanty Trail that follows a fairly flat contour through some amazing natural vegetation. I was amazed at the variation of different vegetation over the duration of the run.
In the end the run was about 16kms. I started at about 6:15 I think; it was totally dark and I immediately started seeing flashes of lightning. As the run progressed, so did the storm cloud, slowly moving in right over me, which made sense as I was running up Mt Lofty, the highest hill in the area so that would make sense that the most weather would occur here. The lightning started increasing in frequency and was creating the most amazing views of the whole valley as it would light up momentarily, and then get plunged into pitch black again. The storm started getting really close at about 5km into the run, at which point I was seeing bolts hit the hill tops around me. The thought to turn around crossed my mind, however I figured the storm would pass, and it was just as far to turn around as to keep going! I just hoped that the storm would pass before I hit the top exposed ridge.
I ended up being correct, the storm had totally passed by the time I exited the treeline onto the top ridge, however to be careful I still ran closer to the trees to ensure I wasn't the highest conductor around! By this point the sun was rising opening up spectacular views back over Adelaide and the wooded valleys. Views like this make for such amazing runs, and you don't really notice the time or distance that you are covering. The fresh rain had caused the most amazing array or aromas to be released. The damp sweet smell of leaf matter and the undergrowth, the iconic Australian aroma of Eucalypt and that damp smell of fresh rain. These are all aromas that immediately generate a pang of nostalgia for me.
The final kms of the run were so amazing, finishing up back where I started, and seeing a lot of new trails to try along the way. At the trail head are two gigantic fig trees, so the run ended with a forage to collect a kg or so of fresh figs. What an amazing morning, some much needed meditation.

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