About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

McKelligon Canyon Run

Zero dark fifteen (0515): I leave home and start running the 6 miles to the Starbucks near the university. It’s still dark, but not too cold, at least. I’ll be out all morning so didn’t want to wear my headlamp. Most of the route is lit so I should be OK. Running in the dark is quite different and everything is strange at this time of day. I feel like I have the entire city to myself.

After a little more than an hour I make it to my destination and meet the Run El Paso Club for their Mckelligon Canyon run. After everyone arrives, we depart on our journey uphill towards Scenic Drive. The run through the Kern neighborhood is very festive with all the houses dressed up for Christmas. Right away I notice that I’m in the back of the pack so try my hardest to keep up with the speedsters in our club. I usually run with my camera and must stop for a photo when the sun starts to color the sky.
As I run along Scenic Drive I have the best view of El Paso and its sister city of Juarez. The morning is peaceful and calm as I make my way up the mountain. We are not the only people enjoying the day. Volunteers from “La Fe”, a non-profit benefitting children, are lining the two mile scenic drive with 4000 luminarias to be lit tonight in celebration of Christmas. Before long I’m at the flag pole and then start the descent down the other side of the Franklin Mountains. Ranger peak is above me and the ever present star that is lit every night of the year.
I enjoy putting forth less effort as I cruise downward toward the eastern side of the city. When I get down I wonder how far behind the others I have lagged. Just as I make the left turn, I see two runners ahead of me and think I can catch up. To my left is a giant “A” on the side of the mountain. I ponder what the “A” stands for. I now find myself getting winded as I run uphill to catch the others.
Just as I am making my way into the canyon, I meet up and enjoy some company for a while. This is where the route gets quite steep. McKelligon is at the base of South Franklin Peak where the Ron Colman trail starts. We are running along the paved road that leads to the trailhead. I plan to do the treacherous hike over the mountain in the future.

Pretty soon, as I near the turn-around point, I see the main pack heading back towards our starting point. After a few snapshots, I continue on and then bring up the rear with several others. After turning around and making my way down, I hear a noise and then notice that I can’t see anymore. My lens has fallen out of my glasses and I still have more than an hour before I get back. Oh well, there is a saying that goes, "if you run long enough, something is bound to happen." Luckily I can see well enough to make it back to Scenic Dr, over the mountain and back to Starbucks. Total miles for the day: 21.
My adventure is not over, as I still need to get home. After visiting with some of the other runners I buy a cup of my favorite coffee and then wait for the Sun Metro bus. I thought about driving to meet the group this morning, but it seemed kind of silly to drive 6 miles if I was planning on running 15 (although I do it all the time). Anyway, I’ve wanted to try our public transportation for a while and this seems like a good opportunity.
After waiting for about 15 minutes, the #14 shows up and I board. I take my wet, limp dollar out of my sweaty running shorts and try to push it into the little cash thingy. As other passengers look on impatiently and no matter how hard I try, the bill will not go in. I drop my camelback, sweaty hat, bandanna, other odds and ends and start searching for some coins. Fortunately the bus driver is helpful and turns the bill around and in it goes.
Where is everyone?
OK, so now I settle in for the 45 minute ride home. You know, I could get home a lot quicker if the bus driver would quit stopping at every street corner to pick up every Tom, Dick, and Harry. I contemplate telling him this, but think better of it. Actually, the bus experience isn’t bad at all and I am even considering riding it to work occasionally. I enjoy resting and sipping my coffee after a nice run and pretty soon I arrive back at my humble abode.

See you on the trail.

For an interesting story about public transportation click here: My Multimodal Mom: Growing up with Public Transport (Nat Geo)

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