Wary, maybe cautious. That’s a nice way to put it. Distrustful. Suspicious, is more accurate. Four sets of eyes, watching. A couple and their dogs. Unleashed Dobermans, they seemed in control, all of them, but menacing still. No one moved, no one said a word. Half off the path, glaring. I gave a wave, and then I was past.
What were they thinking, as I approached in my sunny outfit? Yellow ball-cap, orange socks, fluorescent shirt, bright blue running vest. I dress to be seen. Injury always on my mind, a serious fall—so far, elusive but within the realm of possibility. If I go down hard, I want to be found. Did my synthetic flash disrupt the muted browns of the winter woods?
The old man, fifteen minutes earlier, trekking poles, brown tweed cap, faux sheepskin coat, picking his way up the steep rocky hill, in sharp contrast to this group. “Be careful at the bottom! The trail is all ice.” “Thanks” I called out as I worked to stay on my feet.
The couple, hooded eyes, tense posture, coiled like a spring mechanism set to release the dogs, awaited a coming threat. These trails aren’t remote, parking areas every half mile. A chance encounter always expected, at least by me. The sky darkened just a bit. A cloud blocking the thin dappled light, or maybe the mood becoming slightly sour. I turned off the trail and into the road.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Have you read Bad Ass – My Quest to Become a Back Woods Trail Runner (and other obsessive goals) ?? It’s my latest eBook, and it’s completely free.