Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cattle Drive

*photo by Yitka Winn

Most all recreation was east of the crest when I was a kid. Suburban loaded with a week’s worth of food, a hardly functional boat in tow full of camping and fishing gear. Years later it’s a Subaru instead of Suburban, bicycles replaced the motor-boat—‘same same but different’—heading to eWA still creates the same Disney-like feeling; warm, relaxed, and smiling.


 “Hammer on, that’s him up on the ridge.”

 I’m chasing a greyhound in the high country. It’s wearing a red hat, moves fast on the ridge-lines but stubbles up and down the hills. A tormenting beacon I can’t seem to catch. It’s a Montana sky—plain to see where a person is going; up then down, then up again. Grabbing sage brush as an e-brake around the corners, we’ll descend more than two thousand feet in just over two miles, run through a marsh, duck under a low rail-road bridge, cross a river and finish in the Umtanum Ridge parking lot in the Yakima River Canyon. 


 James is calm. The Disney feeling these days comes from James’ races (http://www.rainshadow-running.blogspot.com/ ); whether a person is first or last, Varner will be waiting at the line with a smile, hug, and high-five. “Welcome back.” He’ll say. 


 “The Greyhound can’t be caught” thinking to myself and taking in the amazing views of the river canyon down below, I started smell and see things I hadn’t been all day. 

 I gave-in a little started to enjoy the terrain. No one else in sight and an open face two miles wide by two miles deep, I finally found rhythm; reached mad pace and was floating and gliding as if putting a clean line down an open face of fresh thigh deep snow. For the first time all day it’s pure and simple. 

 I reach the marsh and lift my head, there’s a skinny runner moving slow right in front of me, can’t weigh more than a hundred and thirty pounds sopping wet, he’s wearing a red hat—it’s the Greyhound. I don’t think, just pass, then he passes, we duck under the railroad bridge, run over the river bridge single file and sprint towards a line spray painted in the gravel. 

 Today was a reminder: as in life, race your own race but have a plan. I’d been thinking about catching the Greyhound all day—didn’t really think about what would happen if I actually did. 

 El Segundo, 

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