Monday, November 4, 2019

Facing my nemesis:Running the Green Gate route

Here in this county, like everywhere, we have our own shorthand. We know what is meant by "the North Highway", "the canyon," "the Devils", or "Housewife Beach." So it is with the "Green Gate." A mile and a half in which you gain 800 feet, it should not be that hard to run--but it is.

I should stop here and note that the area this run goes through is not public land, but many of us hope it will someday be. It is through the grace of the current owners that we are allowed to access it. You can read more about the effort to preserve this area here

I like to run in the winter, and trails are few and far between that are not shrouded in snow. This moraine trail does get covered eventually, but in late fall it is a good place to go. I stare it down--the hill begins immediately without much of a break. You might not think it is that bad until you reach the switchback, where the true climbing begins. My pace slows. I pass a hiker, and have to struggle to stay far ahead of him--I can probably walk this almost as fast as I can run it. Some hikers coming down say to each other: "See, I told you people run this!"

No way I can stop now. I glance back: the hiker is fading into the distance. Ruby is out ahead, tail flopping. She loves this run. Sometimes, there are cows. 

People ride bikes up here too, but that is unimaginable to me. I'd be hiking a bike, for sure. 

Once, a bear ran across the trail ahead of me, but today there is nothing but the unrelenting climb. Why do I do this? Every time I run this route, I wonder if I will make it to the top without walking. I usually do, but I doubt myself. Never has a mile and a half taken so long to run. When I run down, I can do it in half the time. Still, it feels good to try.  

Ever since my Grand Canyon trip, I've been in sort of a slump. It's been hard to summon the enthusiasm for exercise. The cold I have been suffering since the plane ride doesn't make it any easier. Usually if I go, I feel better, so I do.

I break it down into small sections: the first side trail, then the second one. The white rock. Where the trees end. Huffing and puffing, I finally reach the top. I've made it, one more time.

The view from the top, though:



I've run the Green Gate one more time, but I wouldn't call it "conquering". Maybe surviving?

15 comments:

  1. I salute you! My goal would be to make it to the top without resting a hundred times. Wondrous view as your reward.

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    1. I always want to rest! It is definitely worth the climb. It's just getting my butt up there.

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  2. That looks like an amazing spot.

    You should join Strava. You'd probably enjoy it more than you think. You can keep your status private and simply "race" yourself up these hard climbs. It's good fun, and motivating. You don't even need a GPS watch; you can use your phone. ;-)

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    1. Hmm. Maybe I should stop resisting and join the Strava world. I need some motivation and that might help.

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  3. I love it! This post is absolutely fabulous! I could put myself right in your shoes because I have doubted myself. I have had to cajole myself through difficult exercises/trails by breaking it into smaller sections! I have also passed someone who was walking when running and made myself keep going so that they don’t pass me! (Or if I’m on my bike I speed up on my bike so I look strong even though I’m dying inside)

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    1. I remember being part of a crew and we would say, ok. I know I can make it to that tree. So I try to do that now. And fast walkers are the worst! Haha

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  4. Could follow in mind's eye...haven't climbed from Green Gate but other end and on west moraine. Beautiful area and certainly historic terrain. Thanks for the link to the group working to save the moraine from development. Looks as if they are closing in on a big fundraising goal.

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    1. I hope they are successful but selfishly I hope the word doesn't get out too far...I'd hate to see it crowded.

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  5. Oh man, just reading this made me tired! :) Kudos to you.

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    1. When you come here, I'll take you. I bet you could run it.

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  6. I am not a runner, but I would really enjoy wandering through this area teasing out every bit of nature. I hope that the efforts to preserve it will be successful.

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    1. It is a great hike as well. It would be too bad to have houses up there.

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    2. It's always a trade-off, but having it preserved for open space so close to town, and for public use, even if more people use it, seems vastly preferable to a high class housing development overlooking the lake. The fundraising they have done (followed your link) is quite amazing.

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  7. M and I enjoy this walk. You always make it look so easy. We'll leave the running it up to you though. Ah yes, the cows. I'm sure they were laughing at M and I. We took the high trail up the bank while they were bullying their way down the road.

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