Katherine Binder and I met at 5:30 a.m. this past Sunday at the Diving Dog/Coffee East parking lot to cruise out to Tuckahoe State Park for a 10-mile trail run.
It was foggy, like can't see Landy's shiny new bike in front of your face foggy. And, with daylight savings time having not kicked in, it was jet black dark where it wasn't foggy. Interesting conditions for a trail run.
A week or two ago I picked up a headlamp, which I've taken to bringing along on morning runs. Katherine and I pondered how two people running on a night-black trail would fare with a single headlamp, but decided to give it a go. Since We found it was fairly easy for me to light up the trail for both of us, and we know the trail well, so it was on.
It is a novel experience to run somewhere you are familiar with in completely different conditions. I've run out there in the wicked early morning, but not in the full-on dark before, and it was a blast. A whole new take.
As we were coming up Tuckahoe Valley Trail, after the two foot bridges and the rise onto the wider, flat part of the trail (for those familiar), we approached the widest section of the trail, which is shared by Adkins Arboretum. Coming to our right turn, we came up behind what looked like a decent-sized stage. Bear in mind it is black out (I think we've established that), and that the only thing we can see is whatever the headlamp is shining on.
As we come around the stage, there it is...BAM!:
...a body, laying covered in blood, with limbs and guts all around it. We shine the light a bit farther down, and bodies are everywhere: a dude strapped into an electric chair; a feller coming out of a coffin; a number of aliens and a landing craft surrounding the wide bridge. Further down on overturned car with a bloody Chuckie doll sitting on top of it.
We were caught completely off guard, but as soon as the light started telling the story, Katherine and I both recalled that Adkins hosted their haunted hayride (which is what the photo above is from) on Friday and Saturday night. Absolutely the most bizarre and funniest stuff to come across on our first night/morning run out there.
The rest of the run, though less startling, was stellar. The sun started to climb over the trees as we were on the last part of Tuckahoe Valley. The poison ivy and critters common to summer runs out there seem to be gone and the weather was morning-cool on what was to be a mid-60's day and perfect for running.
We did alter plans a bit though. We enjoyed the section of haunted hayride we ran through so much, we came back up the TV Trail, so we could check it all out again in the daylight.
On a related note, as it is October 30, we realize that RUR stalwart Joel Shilliday celebrates his birthday today. So happy birthday to Joel, and happy Halloween to all!