Memorial weekend is a big one in the Shawnee for horseback riding. The roads were hammered with horse trailers coming through the area this weekend, which means the trails were hammered even harder. We rode at the Ruby Monday morning and found found the trail was trashed, cut all to pieces. Once I hit the River to River trail from the Lusk Trailhead I was pleasantly surprised that the trail was both dry and in great shape. The horse traffic had beat this trail in flat and ground up the rough surface making it much better than it has been.
Now it key to remember that I’m no runner, so don’t laugh when you see these stats, 6.5 miles in 2 hours and 28 minutes, avg speed of 2.6, and 800 feet of climbing. Now that does include several stops to check the map and take photographs and I did have to walk every now and again, but for the most part I kept my shuffle up throughout the entire run.
I was trying to find this spot on the map called Owl Bluff and after I made the creek crossing at Bowed Tree I made a wrong turn on a piece of unmarked and unmapped trail that shortcutted up the creek to Old Guest Crossing. I shortly found myself back at an intersection that I remembered and tried again. This time i made the correct turn and stayed on the River to River Trail.
Shortly before reaching Owl Bluff I encountered a wild turkey on the trail, this is fairly common, they usually run away at first sight, but this turkey did not. It began to run off the trail as usual then it turned and crossed the trail, it ran back and forth across the trail 4 or 5 times while I stood there then it finally stopped on the trail and squared off against me. I was getting out my camera and trying to take a picture. After a few moments and a couple of attempts at taking pictures I charged and he retreated. Wings came out and he was jumping and flapping and running across the trail in front of me. Had I been a bit quicker I think I would have caught him, but he eventually got out of my way and watched me pass.
Owl Bluff offered a great overlook and some more picture taking then I made my way back. As I ran past the area the turkey guarded I heard that wicked flapping noise and gobbling up in the trees, he seemed to be stalking me from up there. I never saw him but I could hear him following me. Eventually I left his domain and encountered some horse back riders. Most horse back riders you meet are friendly, but it’s always hilarious, they can’t fathom anyone in the woods not riding a horse or an ATV. They just can’t understand why anyone would want to go put out so much effort.
Wildlife would continue to feature in the run back to the trailhead, I nearly stepped on big turtle that I though was a rock, and I saw many frogs and lizards running around on the trail. I was beginning to feel pain several areas and decided to walk the last half mile which is all up hill. This morning I feel only mildly sore which is a great improvement since I could barely move after my last run.