Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pine Mountain

A couple of weekends ago, I just had to get away. It had been one of those weeks at work, my girlfriend was out of town and a long weekend of (yes, more) work was staring right at me.

My alarm went off at 5 a.m. After a quick breakfast, I was off to an area about 75 mins south of Atlanta known as Pine Mountain. It includes the Pine Mountain Trail, which is about 23 miles long (that's just the main trail; there are a number of connecting trails, etc. combining to a very neat trail network) and is located inside Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. The Pine Mountain Trail Association is a great organization who helps to keep this trail one of the most well-marked and beautiful around.

(signs a well-marked trail)

The run got very interesting early. About two or three minutes into my run, I spotted a black and white dog on the trail. As I approached, it would run away (always keeping me in sight) and then stop until I got too close again. This process kept repeating itself about ten times until the dog finally ran away for good. It made me wonder where that dog came from. Was it a runaway dog? Did it belong to a hiker? How long had the dog been in the woods. Just to be sure, I had picked up a rock, because on a Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Pine Mountain is desolate.

It was so empty in fact that I didn't run into anybody until about 15 mins after I turned around (mile 10) to head back. It was a military person (presumably from the nearby base) in full camouflage. Seeing a human actually made me kind of jump (good sign that I had really been running a long time by myself). In all, I ran into four people including two fellow trail runners.

(half way point)

The trail is beautiful throughout and a little hillier than one might expect in central Georgia. I was also surprised by how technical the trail was. Plenty of rocks, creek crossings, steep sections, etc. Good times! Unfortunately my Camelbak wasn't enough in terms of a water source, so the last 45 minutes were a bit of a drag.

All in all, this run was one of the most rejuvenating I've ever run. This was despite the 70+ hours of work the five days before (or the 100+ hours over the next seven days). There is something about being out on the trail, all by yourself, alone with the elements that puts (most) everything back into perspective.

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