2005-12-28 - Cabin John Trail (South)

5+ miles @ 14:30 min/mi

The pace might seem torpid, but Ruth and I find the hills of Cabin John Stream Valley Park challenging, to put it politely. At 2:30pm we meet at Cabin John Local Park, just off Macarthur Blvd. near the high one-lane bridge over Cabin John Parkway. I dither but finally decide to leave my camera behind, a wise choice given the stressful path ahead. We descend dizzying stairs from the playground to the creek and I take the lead, proceeding upstream at much too fast a rate for the first mile. Then reality ushers in some extended walk breaks, particularly as we climb the steep slopes.

I turn an ankle once, and Ruth gets a wet foot at a tributary crossing, but we fortunately avoid slip-sliding on the muddy leaf-covered inclines, and likewise manage not to trip over roots or rocks. Ruth's GPS concurs with the county map [1] on the 2.6 mile distance to River Road, where we turn around after 36 minutes. During the return journey, led mostly by Ruth, we discover a couple of trail segments that we had missed in our outbound trip and follow them, so our route is slightly longer. We see few other people on the trail until near the end, when we find a crew of quiet paintball-warriors apparently making preparations for battle.

At the final climb Ruth and I stare at the cascade of stairs and ask, "What would Evan do?" We concur that neither of us is Evan, however, so we don't leap gazelle-like to the finish line. The hill work along the way is ample. When I get home I retire the fluorescent-pink nylon shorts I was wearing. They've served honorably in my first several marathons, but now the inside elastic lining is shot and they have a tendency to, shall we say, induce discomfort ...