For a change of scenery, we did our long run on the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail in Nelson County today. The trail is just under 14 miles round-trip, so we had to add some on to get the miles we needed, but that allowed us to stop back at the car and refill our water.
The parking lot was pretty empty when we got there a little before 8 and we had the trail mostly to ourselves for the first 10 miles or so.
The river meanders alongside the trail for several miles. There are picnic tables and benches and many places to access the river. I stopped to rinse the sweat off my hands and face near the end and it felt so good.
We saw many toads (some were teeny-tiny), butterflies, flowers and bicyclists and two very sweet ponies.
The morning started out nice and cool, but it was a humid 85 degrees by the time we finished. We both have quite a bit of nasty chafing to show for it, too.
Sweet potato on the run.
The trail was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday, which was really nice.
I used a public restroom for the first time since March.
My ankle started hurting about 13 miles in and Brian hadn’t brought enough water for the hot and humid morning, so we ended up cutting it short.
Sugar Hollow Loop
It’s been more than a year since I last ran this loop. It’s a tough one, but blue hole feels even more spectacular when you run 16 miles to get there.
South on the AT from Rockfish Gap
Not every run in the mountains is spectacular.
After a stressful week, today’s run just felt like a difficult slog through the heat.
It was still pretty, though.
Brian saw a bear. It was running towards him on the trail. I had stopped to take pictures and missed it.
The woods smelled so good this morning. Sun warmed earth and fresh air.
I wondered who else in the world was having such an exquisite dawn.
-from Lab Girl by Hope Jahren