I think I am starting to come around after a long week of limping around on swollen feet and sore hamstrings. Yesterday, I went out and ran a firetower simply to see run through giant flower filled fields and lush green shaded trials. Maybe went a little heavy on the adjectives but regardless it was spectacular! The firetower run starts at the parking lot at Bass Lake and proceeds to climb for five and half unrelenting miles to the firetower atop one of the local mountains (elv. ~4800). My plan was to go out and jog the route. However, by the time I hit the halfway point at the Manor House I was on record pace and I had stopped to let numerous horses pass. I figured what the hell, it is a pretty day and I feel good lets hold this pace for the remainder of the run. From Manor House the trail pitches sharply upward for about a mile and a quarter then dumps out into a panoramic field filled with wildflowers over looking Grandfather, Beech and Sugar Mountains. The trail then winds its way up around some steep switchbacks for a few more miles before summitting at the tower. All told, without pushing it, I shattered my old firetower record by two and half minutes.
The highlight of the entire run though came on the way back down the mountain. First I passed a Lady Slipper (it is an endangered orchid) on the side of the trail. The best part came shortly afterwards as I came in contact with two horse drawn slays (I know its summer but anything is possible in Boone). These buggies were each being drawn by two very small, skinny horses that were STRUGGLING to get up the mountain. It quickly became apparent why they were hurting so badly. In each of the buggies sat perched two giant women who could not understand why their horses were going so slowly up the hill. As they sat there cursing at the horse to go quicker I really felt badly for the horse especially since I had just ran up the trail it was trying to get up. What has America come to when our definition of hiking and enjoying the great outdoors involves strapping our lazy boys to back of some small skinny horse and having that horse drag our fat asses up a mountain. Sad...but funny none the less.