Saturday, September 24, 2011

Devil's Churn

When Val and I visited Joy and Steve, back in the early 90s, we spent a few days touring the coast of Oregon.  One day, we drove to the top of Cape Perpetua, the highest point on the coast.  From the top, we could see Devil's Churn, a pretty impressive little feature on the shore, where incoming waves flow up a natural channel in the rock and then explode violently upward at the end.

We were going to drive down to the Churn, after taking in the view from the top of the Cape.  We were looking for whales, since that spot is known as a good place to see them swim by.  I didn't spot any whales, but I did spot a trail which led down to the Devil's Churn.

"I think I'll ride my mountain bike down that trail and meet you guys there,"  I told the other three.

"You can't,"  Steve said.  "No bikes allowed.  Hiking only."

He pointed at a sign I had not seen, which stated the facts he had just told me.

"Well, then, I think I'll run it.  I should get down there about the time you guys do."

So, we arranged where to meet at the State Park, below, and I took off running. 

The trail headed obliquely down the slope, and entered the woods not far from the top.  I ran along at an easy pace, as I enjoyed the uncharacteristically warm, sunny weather.  The shade of the trees and the downhill slope added to my enjoyment.

Eventually, I rounded a corner on the trail and entered a natural arbor of blackberry vines.  I stopped in the green tunnel, and greedily started eating the plump, ripe berries.  I was thirsty, because I had neglected to grab my water bottle, and a little hungry, so the blackberries went down nicely.  In fact, I thought that they might possibly be best berries I had ever eaten.

About then, I heard a stirring in the bushes, and low "Hrumph".  I peered through the prickly vines and saw a large shape on the other side of the thicket.  I figured the bear on the other side was as fond of the berries as I was, and he was probably ready to defend his claim on them.

The rest of that run was probably the fastest I ever ran, for the longest distance I will ever carry that kind of speed. 

Randy is running in a trail race, this weekend, called The Bear Chase, in Bear Creek Lake State Park, outside of Denver.  I wish him luck and fair winds.

I've already run that race, myself! 


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As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.