Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Running at Fields Springs

I crested the summit of the Rattlesnake and began to drive down. It's a twenty-five mile an hour (or less) highway that curves its way down to the Grande Ronde and back up, semi-terrifying at the best of times, and the main route to the airport, the eye doctor, and other amenities I don't have in my town, 95 miles away. Usually I am just ready to get it over with and get home. This time, I decided to turn in to the little state park and go for a run.

The Rattlesnake. Picture taken from motorcycleroads.com.

I don't really like to stop when I drive somewhere, because after spending all of my twenties in a seasonal migration across the country, mostly driving it alone, California to South Florida and back again every six months, I have come to dislike driving intensely. I like to just get the driving over with. But a run was on the agenda, and I had heard there were trails in the park, so why not?

I carried my stuff to the bathroom and changed. The map was a little baffling and some parents with a little child asked me which trail they should go on. I couldn't give good advice. I decided to just follow one trail and see where it ended up.

I don't write about running very much because there isn't that much to say. I've been running since I was 14 and that is a very long time. My running has evolved from slow runs in high school in the woods, to fast competitive races, to marathons, back to slow runs in the woods. I like it that way. Maybe it's because my professional life is full of high expectations and deadlines and time crunches, but I don't want my time off to feel that way too.

I chose what felt like the main trail, up toward Puffer Butte. Puff I did, because it took a rapid rise i in elevation. Despite this, I was entranced. I had almost forgotten there were trails without rocks, trails with soft needles to run on, trails without barbed wire fences to crawl under, trails where you can run a normal speed. Breaking out into the open, I had such a great view I had to stop and take pictures.


"Is  this trail a loop trail?" I asked a couple of people who were up there, but they didn't know either. I descended down through the forest until I got to a closed road. Supposedly there was a way back to the start from here, but what the heck, I would run back up to the butte. So I did. It was just as pretty going the other way.


I arrived back at the car feeling like I had gotten away with something. My run was done and I hadn't even had to pick my way through talus fields or snowdrifts. I'll be back, Fields Springs. There are many more Rattlesnake trips in my future.


20 comments:

  1. This sounds awesome! I'm the opposite: I love to stop and run on car trips, I'm so much happier continuing on my drive once I get some endorphins. I think the reason I like running competitively is that I don't have all those deadlines and pressure in my daily life already. It provides a measurable feedback and keeps me challenged mentally. Looks like a gorgeous run.

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    1. Yes, in my twenties I didn't have the same type of job so it was fun to have the self-imposed goals for running. Also, I guess I don't want to work as hard at it anymore. So there is that. I probably need to run more on car trips!

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  2. Glad you stopped....we also detoured in to Field Springs State Park last time we were on the curvaceous route from Lewiston to Enterprise. Didn't run so didn't see those views, but it looked like a nice place to camp.

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    1. It does and the trails are nice for walking also.

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  3. Beautiful country! Good for you for taking a "run break" instead of driving straight through.

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    1. I need to do more of that, seize the opportunity. I was gone so much traveling thus year I often just want to get home, but always worth it to stop.

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  4. That looks like a beautiful road that I would love to drive. :)

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    1. It is! Just don't be in a hurry!

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    2. Second what Mary said....beautiful drive, but.....once encountered a school bus on my side of the road, on a curve, and another time, folks stopped in a camper for the view let their dogs run out in the road right in front of us....yipe.

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  5. That looks like an interesting to drive on. I remember years ago, I used to work at the end of the road in Denali National Park, Kantishna, the only way to get in and out is thru 2 passes, one being Polychrome Pass and the name of the other escapes me. Polychrome being the longest and both were narrow. Polychrome was all curves and you couldn't see anything coming. Well, when the Park bus comes, they have the right of way and you have to creep out on a small outcrop with a 6000 ft. drop. Not fun at all and if you passed an outcrop, you had to back up. You know, I don't care to drive unless it's a snowmachine or dogsled. Glad you enjoyed your run.

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  6. So often the unexpected trail is so much more enjoyable than the well planned outing. The rest of the drive must just of flown away.

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    1. You are right, I was not filled with my usual get home tantrum (because I drive it so often, it becomes a chore).

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  7. I always loved that drive when we lived there!!! Only stopped once at Field Streams SP, but wasn't so impressed. You make it look a lot more appealing!

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    1. The actual grounds are kind of...meh. But because I run the trails near home, which require much patience and rock hopping, I fell in love with the smooth trails they have there. I'm always on the lookout for soft trails to run on--very few around here.

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  8. Glad you stopped! This is always our potty break spot. We have yet to discover the trails though. We do have a campsite picked out for next Spring. I hate Rattlesnake too. Last trip we encountered a horsetrailer cutting the corner on our way home. That was our 2nd horsetrailer run in. Our first trip down this summer we followed an old rusty rickety one home. Both were on the Field Springs side. I wish the trip from our house wasn't 5 hrs thru La Grande, because I would much rather go that route.

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    1. Field Springs also has ski trails, but may be too advanced for me. Snow shoeing though, that would be fun there. There is no way around the Rattlesnake!

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  10. Who knew? I've been by there numerous time but never stopped. It will likely be snowed in the next time I go by....Good to know though!

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