Posted by: Matt | August 1, 2009

Kendall Catwalk as a Solace

Yesterday afternoon did not work out well. It was characterized chiefly by an overwhelming stink of boredom, with hints of social unrest and ridiculousness hitherto unimagined. I did not leave the office yesterday in what might be considered a “good” state of mind and the drive up the pass just seemed to cause more, not less, in the way of dilemma. Bummed I almost drove straight through thinking that my state of mind wasn’t nearly ready to deal with anything I might encounter on a run. Misanthropic to a maximum I wasn’t sure I could handle meeting up with anyone on the trail.

But, as I rounded the corner of the pass wherein the Kendall Catwalk becomes somewhat exposed to sight I instinctually pulled off the Interstate and drove around looking for parking. This wasn’t really the trail I had intended running. I was hoping to run with my friend Marlene again (she couldn’t make it because of an application deployment which was taking forever – sorry Marlene). I didn’t even have that much water or any treatment in my bag if I ran out. Yet, once dressed for it I set out. More because of a kind of trail magnetism than anything else – I was drawn to the Pacific Crest Trail north of Snoqualmie.

Yep, you missed the party

Yep, you missed the party

That’s all it took, an invisible attraction of two bodies, me and that trail, and soon my heart rate was up. I was breathing like a bull and howling like a dog whenever the compulsion took me. Last night I set my timer on a 15 minute round. Running 15 minutes, walking 5 as fast as I could, then running another 10. This coupled with running on any flat or downhill resulted in fast walking the trail maybe only a quarter of the time and I still had a cask of energy uncorked by the time I ran around the corner of the Kendall Catwalk.

Thats a permanent happy burn

Thats a permanent happy burn

The way down the hill was more difficult that the ascent because of the darkness and the trees. The moon, probably about 2/3rds full was shedding plenty of light on the trail when there were no trees, but I was slowed when under the trees because I couldn’t see my way very well even with the headlamp. I think when I know I’ll be running in the dark and under the cover of a canopy of trees I should carry two lights instead of one. The additional light coming from a lower angle makes obstructions stand out a lot more, maybe I’ll try and fit an old LED lamp to my waist belt on my pack?

I should say thank you to anyone whom I encountered on the trail last night. My motion worked wonders on my brooding misanthropy and soon I was awash in joy, but it was something special to encounter strangers who’d universally cheer me on as I drove for the summit. That was pretty damn cool!

Finally, there was another kind of comfort that I experienced while traversing the Catwalk last night. Since I started to run in the Washington high country last spring I have yet to see or hear Pika or rock rabbits anywhere. Last night I saw one and know I heard at least six. These creatures infused, the descent in particular, with a prevailing sentiment of hope pitched high and sounding something like a dog’s squeaky toy. I was beginning to despair that they were dying out or had disappeared, but here they were, and here they will be.


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