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Perfect Trail Day

Sometimes the only reason I shave my legs is to make sure I’ve scraped all the dirt off.

Today was one of those days.

I woke up at 1:45. In the morning. To a notification that the newest episode of The GJBeat had been uploaded.

So I hit play.

Because I need to check his work.

And as I lay there. Not really wanting to get out of bed. I heard OT’s voice telling me to just get up. Just get up and go do it.

So I did.

Told my babies that I’d be back home before they even missed their morning snacks.

Punky fell back to sleep looking for her fucks.

Met the Christmas Crew in Daleville. Where Rogue would drive us over to McAfee.

And. First. Can people please stop parking like assholes in McAfee parking lot?

I mean, they’re only giving us access to half the lot as it is. Stop parking like you need half a car width between you.

(I’ve got the PMS right now.)

So, we set out up the mountain at 4:30am.

Which is the exact right summer time to start out.

You get to the top just in time to see this.

And this

And this is that ugly ass North Fucking Mountain looking all cute.

And that’s Tinker Cliffs, where we were headed.

And maybe you get your new profile pic

And your newest band cover photo

And damn I was cold. Freezing. Goose bumps.

In June.

Y’all, remind me of this moment in another couple of hours when I’m experiencing heat stroke.

Pulled ourselves away from the sunrise. And headed on over to Tinker Cliffs.

The sun was continuing to rise as we came down off McAfee.

She was just showing off so much.

We had to keep stopping to paparazzi her.

But once we got through that.

This is the part of this route that I hate.

The climb up to Tinker is just awful.

I don’t know why it’s awful.

I guess it’s just a lot of elevation crammed into a mile or two of just barren wasteland.

And somehow we started chatting. About current social, justice, and political issues.

And let me be clear that we do not agree on everything.

And we all have very different life experiences and perspectives.

But y’all.

We had one of the most engaging, rational, expressive, understanding discussions of differing views on these topics that I’ve ever been privileged to be a part of.

We found common ground. We gained perspective. We learned about each others’ experiences. And we damn sure set the bar for what I hope all of us can start to engage in.

And that’s beautiful.

But the real beauty of this. For me.

Was the fact that I was still waiting for the godawful bullshit climb up to Tinker. When we magically walked out onto the cliff.

I legit stopped. And looked around. Confused. As fuck.

This is Tinker, right??

How the fuck did we get here???

We had been so absorbed by our really deep and insightful discussion that we didn’t even notice the climb.

I think I’d even heard OT ask GJB when we were gonna hit that one ugly part.


We were already past it by that point.

So I’ll be bringing a list of challenging/controversial/deeply philosophical topics along on all future 311-220 runs.

It’s the only way ima manage it from now on.

But also, the clouds were still blanketing the mountains.

And so this majestic view of McAfee. Where we’d just come from.

And obviously new profile pics

That one’s gonna be my new dating profile pic.

And we were all just feeling really good about ourselves. And OT’s call to start at 4:30am.

Because we were 10 miles in. And I was still cold.

I mean, only when we were standing around. On the overlooks. Admiring the sun and cloud blankets.

But even while we were running between them, I was still perfectly comfortable.

And so we took off over to Hay Rock.

And watched the sun show off for us some more.

And maybe get another profile pic.

Talked about roasted vegetables. Introduced GJB to the beauty that is a mandarin orange in the middle of a trail run. Found a water source I never knew existed. Partook of OT’s trail pickle stash. And continued to congratulate ourselves that we were only just starting to experience the heat pockets with a few miles to go.

And we came out onto 220. With 21.12 miles. 4,026 feet of elevation gain. And 5 hours and 11 minutes of moving time. The fastest I’ve ever moved through this route.

(GJB argued my stats. But this is my blog. So we’re using the stats my Strava gave me.)

It was. Without qualifiers. The perfect day.

I don’t love this route. It has never been my favorite. It probably never will be. It has always been something I just kind of make myself do once or twice a year. Just to say that I still can.

But I love these people. And I loved this day. And if they ask me to do it again. I’m all in. As long as we’re starting before sunrise.

But also, I’ll probably be over at Day Creek if you need me.

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


  1. Shelley Stephens says:

    You are a great writer! I love how you express yourself! Have you written any books?

    1. Thank you!!! It’s what I love to do.

      I wrote a short book about my experiences in animal fostering a few years back. It’s available on Amazon. (Link below)
      Working on my next book currently.


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