Monday, May 12, 2008

"Back to the Choppaa!"

Joel, Landy, Keene, and Lori recharging, though still soaking wet, after a high water day at Tuckahoe State Park. It wasn't pretty trying to get a wet Shilliday into Landy's carseat ;)

The cultural tendency is to take things for granted the more you get used to them, or the more you do them. Most folks don't marvel when they start their car in the mornings or turn on a light at night anymore, though they surely did once. Thankfully, running at Tuckahoe State Park has not reached this point of becoming a commodity, at least not for me!

Meeting 5 people to run at 5 a.m. during the week has become a frequent occurrence for our Rise Up runs during the week. But it hasn't happened until yesterday on a Sunday, made all the more impressive when you consider what meeting in Easton that early means for someone who lives in Wittman (also known as "Pot Pie" for its backwoods goodness--try to come up with a better name for a hamlet). So we were especially happy to have Wittman's Wood Frog join us on his first "sanctioned" Rise Up run.

The discussion on the ride and beginning the run, among many other topics, was how wet the trails would be after a couple days of rain, particularly how high the Turkey Hill creek crossing was going to be.

Generally speaking, the first 6-ish miles of our 10-mile loop are not overly affected by tide or rain--they run on higher ground and not right next to the creek. We could tell at the various bridges we went over though, that the tide was high (sorry for the Blondie lyric).

After turning off the curves and climbs of Creekside Cliff, the exploration began, with our crew encountering water much earlier than "normal." Ankle-deep stepping, became knee-deep slogging, until Landy and I decided to high step it to a soundtrack of quotes from the movie "Predator," courtesy of Joel. We were waist deep before ever reaching the official "crossing." We hit the drop off and were every bit of armpit deep with a strong current as we pushed across and turned to watch the rest of the group come across.

At 5' 10", I am actually the shortest of our the crew that went to Delaware. Joel and Landy are both basketball tall and Keene is nearly 6' 0" (6' 2" with afro) and very buoyant. I am not sure how tall Lori is, but I knew she was in for a rough ride!

Joel moshed across the creek, before Keene went from waist-deep water to cross on the log, earning him the "What the #@%*&??" Award, though he says he was able to keep his shirt drier :) And then came Lori, who thought about trying the log, then tried her hand at the deepest Tuckahoe crossing to date, notching two historic firsts. After a slip and a why-not moment, she took a few strokes and swam freestyle across the creek! The swift current applauded her efforts by sweeping her through the quick and carrying her UNDER the log. Neither has ever been done, and Lori will own those monumental accomplishments in the annals of Tuckahoe lore. Well done! Her comment on the other side, "If I go home and get on a bike, does that count for a triathlon?" Indeed.

The bog section that followed can only be characterized as funny for its gunkholing qualities. The mud of the Little Florida Trail had us skiing down hills and stomping up them, until after running hard down a reasonable hill, a took a full body spill as the ground leveled out. Landy didn't signal a call, but I'm pretty sure I was safe at the plate.

The singletrack of Pee Wees Trail made for a fun run, with Keene and Landy pushing ahead, while Joel, Lori, and I came down the road and finished together.

A blast of a day, for its high water novelty, for the early morning transition in light and temperature, and for the company of the Rise Up crowd that got to be a part of it. I think part of the reason that Tuckahoe doesn't get old to me, is that it's somehow different every time.


landy said...

Great recap of a mud-stompin' day! I didn't think a call was needed as it reminded me more of a slip and slide move. Next time I think of reprimanding my kids for jumping in puddles, I'll have to stop myself and remember yesterday. I dare say Charlie might have even gotten a little muddy yesterday.

Lori said...

awesome run...i told my family and friends about it and they swore i was crazy for getting up at 4:30 on a sunday but running through the first light of the day on the trail was totally worth it....even if it was also my first swim of the season. thanks guys for another great run and thanks to mike for the write-up.