2006-05-21 - Seneca Dawnshadows

9+ miles @ ~12 min/mi

At 5:20am, a moment after I park at the Seneca Creek Greenway Trail crossing of Wightman and Brink Roads [1] C-C arrives. It's still a bit dark as we set out, with a last-quarter Moon and Venus shining bright in the eastern sky. Our socks soon get wet from the heavy dew on the grass that laps over the trail's edge. C-C sets a brisk pace but deigns to allow me brief walk breaks on the steeper hills. She spots some deer during our northward journey, as we go past Huntmaster Rd. and across the creek on steppingstones to join Magruder Branch Trail, then onwards beyond Watkins Rd. We turn around after 1 hour 1 minute, near a weird construction of sticks [2] that C-C walks over to investigate. It's something like a big "V" lying on the ground, dozens of branches piled up a couple of feet high, with the angle of the "V" covered with another layer of sticks. Was it created by space-alien technology, or highly-evolved woodland creatures, or simply some over-energetic Boy Scouts as a primitive shelter? We can't decide.

The return trip is fun, as I spy a semi-fresh severed deer hoof attached to ankle bones and C-C shows me the location of bleached deer skeleton fragments, including a hip bone placed on a tree branch overlooking the trail, as she first noted a couple of months ago. The low sun makes long shadows that race along with us whenever we cross a gap between woods. Lovely mists linger over a meadow, and we pause to debate whether or not the scene could ever be adequately photographed. Dogs (maybe assisted by a coyote?) howl in the distance. We arrive at Huntmaster again, and with less than a mile to go I feel a need for speedwork (maybe it's an urge to surge?). We sprint most of the final leg of the trail and make it back to our start, well-winded and wet-footed, a few seconds under 2 hours.

New product opportunity: during the first half of the course C-C, in the lead, finds herself constantly racing into spiderwebs spun across the trail overnight — ugh! Clearly there's a need for a shield or helmet for early-morning runners who don't relish feeling spider-silk on their faces — or perhaps a head-mounted high-powered defensive laser, to zap and destroy webs before one encounters them? (^_^)