After the 4 mile Mt. Nebo Bench Trail Race on Saturday (story on that to come), I knew I still needed to get some mileage in for the weekend so while the man went out on a 20 mile gravel road hill ride with a buddy, I went out for some speed hiking and running on the Ouachita Trail Sunday morning. The morning was a little overcast but warm, I was able to wear shorts with no problem. After partaking in far too much Christmas cheer at a party the previous evening, I wasn’t exactly feeling like running but a commitment is a commitment and training doesn’t wait just because I’ve behaved badly. And if I’d chosen to skip it I would have missed the scenery. And I would have missed the sound of the leaves crunching beneath my feet and the wind whistling through the forest.
Along the way I found an old orienteering marker that I recognized. These were markers the man and I had made years ago for an adventure race and after we used them a few times, we gave them to a race director friend. The punch was still attached. I wonder how long it’s been out there? It must have been placed as part of a practice orienteering course.
I’m thankful I have beautiful natural areas like this so close to home. Some day I’m going to hike more of the 223 miles of this treasure in the Ouachita Mountain Range in Arkansas and Oklahoma. I keep hiking the sections closest to my house over and over again. This is also the trail that I’ll be running my first 50K race on next Spring. I think I should become very well acquainted with it. We’ll be the best of friends. Rocks, roots, dirt and all.