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Let’s See Where This Goes

We had a plan.

We often do.

I needed to do my Trail Nut Half Marathon. Rogue needed to do her Marine Corps Half Marathon.

And for whatever reason. When she suggested we run the Mill Mountain Mayhem course. I really thought we were talking about Falling Creek Park. Where Trail Nut happens. And not Mill Mountain. Which is where Mill Mountain Mayhem happens.

Which you could probably have guessed. Even if you’ve never run Mill Mountain Mayhem.

Because Mill Mountain Mayhem…

It’s happened before. I can’t really explain it. It’s all very confusing. How my brain works.

But it’s fine.

I got my brain wrapped around it. And was at the correct meeting spot. At the correct time.

Where we quickly decided neither one of us was gonna do our assigned half marathons today.

That’s cool. We don’t need a plan to guide us…

Left Lew’s and started up Fishburn Parkway. Ran into Perpetually Positive. Who doesn’t yet have a real blog gang name. Because he won’t adventure with us. For reasons I just can’t fathom.

He did suggest that we’d all be running races together again soon. And not be stuck virtually social distance running forever. Because perpetually positive. Huh. I suppose it’s possible…

And then he said he looked forward to reading about whatever ridiculousness we got into today.

And I guess we took that as some form of a dare?

Because we didn’t have a plan. Remember?

And I’d just finished peeing behind my Mill Mountain sign. And we were halfway to the Star. When Rogue said she’d meant to suggest we run the lowers.


Wait. We’re not…

No. No, I’m certain we’re not at the Cove.

Apparently everywhere has lowers?

Fuck. Ok. So, do you wanna turn around? We can. We can do whatever the fuck we wanna do. We’re grown.

No. We can just take that trail up by the bicycles.

And this shit takes time to process in my head. Because I’ve got a picture in my head of rows of those bicycles you rent. Downtown. And how are we gonna end up there. And where is there one near a trail.

And then I remember the giant unrealistic bicycles. At the entrance to Mill Mountain. And I’m back on her track again.

Kind of.

Because I think she means the trail beside us. That is the start of Mill Mountain Mayhem. (Nope. I sure don’t know what it’s called.)

No. The other trail. On the other side.

There’s another trail…?

You know. The one that-

You’re about to throw a bunch of words at me that I don’t understand, aren’t you.

Never mind. You’ll know it when you see it.

And then we got to the unrealistic bicycles. And there was this.

I didn’t know it.

I’ve never seen that before in my life.

And so we took it.

And then came up on some options. Words like Riser and Ridgeline.

“Let’s see where this one takes us.”

And one of us thought we might end up on Peakwood.

And we came out on some houses.

And I was unconvinced that we were on Peakwood. Because I wasn’t experiencing any sort of dread or PTSD.

So Rogue accosted a random stranger and demanded she explain the entire trail system to us. In detail. (I think Rouge actually only asked about Peakwood and random stranger felt the responsibility to throw a 15 minute trail dissertation at us.)

And I nodded along knowingly. Because I felt like questions or confusion might prolong the lecture.

And then her dissertation was done. And I almost applauded. But I didn’t. And we turned around and went back into the woods.

Went back up to the trail intersection.

“Well, lets just see where this one takes us then.”

And I think this may have been where we bumped into the car.

And Rogue spent another 15 minutes CSI-ing the scene.

There’s no road. Was there ever a road? Someone just drove it in and thought, yep. This is good enough. Why did we never move it? Is there a body in the trunk? Why is that kid in Dead 2 Me so fucking entitled and why am I so much angrier at him than at his mother who was trying to cover up an actual murder???

(Spoiler alert.)

Who has the answers to these questions?

Then I think we ended up over on the Old Road somehow. I don’t actually remember coming out onto the Old Road. Or what trail led us there.

I just know that we were just about to the top when Rouge realized that we were going up.

You didn’t…you didn’t know that we were climbing…?

“I meant for us to take that other trail at that other part that takes us to this other place.”

(To be fair, she said some actual words. But this is how my brain processes it.)

“I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that we were climbing.”

Yeah. I don’t know either. Because I was very clear that we were climbing. A fucking mountain. For the last 15 minutes.

Anyway. We got to the top and jumped onto Ridgeline. (I know that one.)

And ended up at some other intersection.

“Let’s see where this one takes us.”

And somewhere around here, Rogue decided that there was this other trail that she wanted to get onto. But she didn’t know where it was.

Maybe it shoots off of Chestnut Ridge?

And this is where Rogue started crying. “But I don’t want to go on Chestnut Ridge…”

I know, honey. No one wants to go on Chestnut Ridge. We can just turn around. We have the power to make that choice. We’re grown.

And that’s how the seven year old girl found us. Just kind of standing there. On Fishburn Parkway. Near tears. Trying to find any way onto this other imaginary trail that didn’t require us touching Chestnut Ridge.

And the little girl motioned for us to follow her.

And we did.

And she took us straight to this imaginary trail. That I’d never seen before.

That definitely didn’t have a sign.

So she’s a fucking trail guru. And our hero.

At this point, Rogue suggested we message Fall Risk. And tell her to meet us at Lew’s. In 30 minutes. For food.

Or maybe to come get us. Because she had no idea where this trail went.

It went down the parkway. And brought us out by the unrealistic bicycles.

Is this my sign where I pee?

No. That ones further down.

And this is where I just took off.

Because apparently there are imaginary trails all over this place.

And I needed food.

And I was afraid of hearing those words again. “Let’s just see where this goes…”

I resisted the urge to embrace Fall Risk. When we finally got to her. Back at Lew’s.

Because even though I have very little motivation to try to protect myself from the COVIDS. I am able to follow basic social pandemic rules.

Spent a solid 15 minutes. Sitting on the ground outside of Lew’s. Trying to figure out how to order food. From Lew’s.

I think we may have been serenaded. By some random dude. During our wait. I think that’s what that was.

It was possibly very sweet.

Then we got our food and gathered on the sidewalk and had another in a series of very depressing conversations.

But also fully helpful.

Because you can’t just carry that shit around without releasing it.

You gotta get shit out.

I think this map of our run today is representative of our brains right now.

There was no plan there. That is full randomness. That is nothing but “let’s see where this one takes us.”

Also, I don’t know if the order in which I explain our course is accurate. I’m sure it’s not.

Also, y’all keep saying that I’ve been on all of these trails before. And I feel like that’s untrue.

But also I know that it is.

Also, Rogue seems doubtful that I can manage the actual Trail Nut Half Marathon course. Without course tape. And volunteers.

“Mountain Junkies aren’t even putting the directions out there, because that course is so confusing they don’t think most people would be able to follow it. And she thinks she’s gonna manage it by herself…”

You don’t know what I can manage…

Also, the seven year old girl had an adult with her. Her mother, I assume. I didn’t ask. Because she clearly had control of the situation.

Also, hey, does anyone want to supervise me on the Trail Nut course…?

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Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.


  1. martywinn says:

    I want to hear the story of that car. How it got to that spot is incredible. It just doesn’t seem possible. But there it is. My wife tells me that she navigates by recognizing locations and landmarks. There is no “internal map”. She has little sense of the overall direction that she is trying to traverse. She’s dependent on recognizing locations. What happens if she ever takes a wrong turn? I don’t know how you all are not just stuck out in the wilderness lost forever. I tell her, come look at this map. She will but I quickly realize this is not being absorbed or useful in any way. Keep your phone charged and call me if you get lost.

    1. Internal map. I wonder if I could get one of those installed somehow…

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