Switching things up for a new season

My master for the next 12 weeks.

The start of September tells me a couple of things.

First, it’s not really fall. Not here, not now. I’m looking at sunny skies, high temps in the mid- to upper-90s, and no sign of that alleged crisp cool air of autumn anytime soon. So that means I’ll be sweating plenty on any given run for at least a few more weeks, if not longer.

Second, it’s the beginning of the fall race season. I don’t race much in the spring or summer, because frankly, I don’t do fast when it’s hot. I like it cool to cold. But getting ready for longer races takes time, so training for those distances (a half marathon in this case) takes a little time.

I was stung a bit by my underwhelming performance in the Rockies back in July. My pride took a hit from not being able to manage even one alpine summit. Just the nudge I needed to jump on that fall schedule and get cracking.

It’s nerdy, but I really got into making up my training schedule. Figuring out distances, where to schedule races, and when that blessed taper week rolls around just before my goal race. I made a grid of sorts, with each day’s workout planned to the exact mile, and even included a weight training schedule with specific exercises to be performed. I’m experimenting with speed workouts. Basically throwing myself into this thing, temperatures be damned, because I don’t want the year to end having accomplished nothing.

I know I shouldn’t let a leisure activity define me. No one cares if I summited zero peaks this summer or a hundred. They don’t care about how fast or far I run, or how much I lift. But it still drives me. I suppose the things I do in my free time just matter to me more, at least internally. Goals are useful if they make you better in some way, either by achieving them or at least trying.

And maybe that’s the real value. I’ve met awesome people in the running community and on the trail. Some real bosses at the gym. People who inspire me, who teach me, who push me to do better and be a little more.

The only negative of the fall for me is that as I run more, I have to lift less. Again, no one else really cares about this, but I’ve been a gym rat for decades now, and strength training is a familiar discipline to me, a companion that has been as faithful as any other. I’ll still lift over these next 12 weeks, just not as much. That puts strength gains on hold for a bit.

I picked this up. It was heavy. 10/10 recommend.

But I did get a last hurrah in. While I’m not where I want to be, I’ve been able to load up the bar pretty good lately. A couple of buddies at the gym were doing their deadlifts and pulling some decent weight. It lit a fire under me.

So a few days later, I did the same. I warmed up, loaded the bar and did my lifts. I pulled a moderately heavy weight just fine. Then loaded it with what was, to that point, the heaviest deadlift I’d ever done, 350 pounds. It popped right up. So I added 20 more pounds, just to see if I could. Sure enough, after an initial grind, I stood with the bar in my hands, the rep complete. It wasn’t too far from twice my body weight. I’m not going to brag on a 370-pound deadlift – it’s OK, but not great. But it’s a PR for me. And a win during a year that’s been mostly devoid of them. It gave me a pick-me-up just as the fall race season ramps up.

The truth is I love this stuff. I bitch about running miles when it’s blazing hot, or walking funny after leg day. I cuss myself in the middle of some epic Type 2 fun. But I’m not getting any younger. Time is slipping away. I can still do hard things, and maybe get a little better, and it’s best to make hay when the sun’s still shining. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll have a few more in the win column. I’ll just have to keep grinding and see.

Bob Doucette

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Hiking your own hike: Things to think about if you’re just getting started, or introducing someone to hiking

Hiking the Mountain Trail, Robbers Cave State Park, Okla.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past that hiking wasn’t all that popular.

The clothing, the gear, the backpacks, the trekking poles – yeah, that stuff wasn’t so cool. But times have changed.

The book “Into the Wild” gave folks a sense of wanderlust, and the ensuing movie adaptation reinforced it. Long-distance hiking and backpacking got a boost from Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild.”

And then came Instagram. Photos of scenic places and the people who go there multiplied by the millions, and a generation of folks got the urge to lace up their boots, go outside and find a trailhead. The numbers bear it out: The Pacific Crest Trail has seen a surge of growth in backpackers, as has the Appalachian Trail, and the hordes of altitude seekers in Colorado have turned once remote and seldom visited peaks into well-trod destinations.

Suddenly everyone is a hiker… until they’re not.

You’ve seen these folks before, or maybe this is you: You get excited about a hike, try to do the hike, then find that the experience ain’t near as fun as advertised. It gets cold. Or hot. There are bugs. And hills. Really steep hills. A lot of sweating is had. Blisters appear. And sunburns. Or windburns. Or chafing from those darned backpack straps. You find yourself wondering, sometimes aloud, “When is this damn thing gonna be over?”

Yeah, hiking can be uncomfortable. It’s not like a stroll through the park, the mall or your neighborhood. There are risks. And because hiking is a physical activity, it can zap the unprepared. So here are a few thoughts…

One of the more rewarding activities you can get into is hiking. If you’re just starting out, may as well ease into it first. (Jen Baines photo)

IF YOU WANT TO BE A HIKER

This one is for the non-hiker who wants to try it out. The good news is that everyone starts just like you. Even seasoned hikers started from the noob stage.

Pick your first hikes carefully. I’d tell anyone who is new to hiking to start small. Shorter routes, less elevation gain and loss, easier trails to follow. If you’re not a hiker, chances are you’re not used to walking 5, 10 or 20 miles in a day, and doing so will tax you more than you think, especially if you’re carrying a loaded backpack. Find those “beginner,” “novice” or “easy” trails online or in guidebooks and give it a whirl. There’s nothing wrong with your first hikes being in the 1-3 mile range.

Learn a few of the basics. The good thing about the internet is that you can not only easily research hikes, but also some of the things you should know before you go. Learn about the 10 essentials and Leave No Trace principles. Read up on the route you plan to hike. Pack a couple of liters of water and enough food for a lunch and some snacks.

Pick the right attire. Often this will depend on where you hike, and the season. But generally speaking, a sturdy but comfortable pair of hiking shoes or boots is preferred, as are wool or synthetic fiber socks. Cotton tends to absorb and hold water, which can cause blisters on your feet. A sturdy pair of pants and a moisture-wicking shirt is also advisable in warmer seasons. If it’s cooler, dress in layers and have some sort of rain jacket. A hat, sunscreen and decent sunglasses will also help protect you from the sun. Steer clear of cotton-based clothes (this includes denim), as the moisture-retention of cotton can make it impossible to dry out on the trail – a real hypothermia risk depending on this season and environment you’re in.

Bring a friend. It’s fun to have company, and if you’re unsure about what direction to go or some other complication arises, there is safety in numbers. Solo hikes are great, but when you’re starting out it’s better to have a buddy.

Watch the weather. Before you go, get up-to-date forecasts. Being surprised by storms can be unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous. When you’re on your hike, periodically check the skies to see what’s going on around you. Sometimes bad weather moves in earlier than forecasted. Knowing what the weather will hold should and will affect your attire and what other gear you bring.

Stop periodically to look around you and behind you. Things will look different on the way back to the trailhead. And noticing and remembering landmarks you see will help prevent you from getting lost.

Keep a healthy distance from wildlife. Don’t approach, feed, tease or get too close to wild animals. Our food is not good for them, and it’s never good for wildlife to associate humans with food. Getting too close to an animal could also prompt an aggressive response. Fifty yards or more is a good distance to keep from larger animals, 100 yards or more from predators. No wildlife selfie is worth your life.

Take plenty of pictures. Nothing wrong with documenting your day of fun!

Introducing your favorite hiking spots to others can be a lot of fun.

IF YOU WANT TO INTRODUCE SOMEONE TO HIKING

You’ve got some experience on the trail. You’ve got the gear. And you’ve got a friend who is eager to give this hiking thing a try. Before you go…

Remember to let them set the pace. A newbie hiker likely can’t keep up with a seasoned hiker. So don’t blast your way up the trail, leaving your friend struggling to keep up. Let them dictate how hard you all go.

Consider the difficulty of the route. You might be used to bushwhacking, scrambles, airy cliffs and gnarly weather. But your friend might not. Your rad adventure might send your buddy running for home, never to hike again. Suggest something doable by taking into consideration your partner’s experience, skills, fitness and tolerance for Type 2 fun.

Don’t overwhelm your partner with advice and warnings. It’s not a bad thing to do a gear check before a hike. And a few friendly pointers are always good. But if your entire trip is dominated by instructions, admonitions and criticism, you’ll leave your friend feeling cold. You might even lose a friend. Let your bud enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and overall experience of a good hike.

But don’t be afraid to take charge if things go sideways. When something goes wrong – or could go wrong – you might be quick to recognize it while your noob partner is not. That’s a good place to step in.

Keep it fun. Whatever it takes to make the experience enjoyable, do that. Light conversation, deep discussions, photo ops, showing off a favorite view – all those things can make a hike a memorable adventure and not just a long, strenuous walk.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s a saying among long-distance through-hikers that applies to any hike. They say “HYOH,” an acronym for “hike your own hike.” In other words, you do you. Don’t feel you have to live up to anyone’s expectations, replicate something you saw on the ‘Gram, or match others’ feats. Make it your own.

And lastly, if you find you don’t enjoy hiking, that’s OK, too. There’s no sense in punishing yourself because you think you should like it.

Bob Doucette

Some good and bad on my local trails

Hi Chi Trail, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness, Tulsa.

Summer is about kaput, so my attention has been focused on my local trails. There has been some good and some bad news on that front.

The bad news is this: Some people just don’t understand that you can’t arbitrarily cut down trees on public lands because you don’t like where they’ve been growing.

There is a section of trail on Turkey Mountain called Tree Hugger that gets its name from a skinny passage between two maturing trees that have grown by each other right on the side of the trail. In the past, I’ve likened them to the ski gates you see on slalom courses. It’s not a problem for runners or hikers, but if you’re on your bike, it’s a tight fit between the trees. If you’re not confident enough on your bike to slow it down for a more careful passage — or if you’re too prideful to get off your bike and walk it through — Tree Hugger’s namesake feature might seem like a bit of a hassle.

But you can’t blame the trees for growing where their seed landed, and in any trail user etiquette, it’s bad form to remove rocks, cut roots or hack down trees simply to make your journey a little easier. It’s unsporting, and more importantly, extremely bad ecology.

Well, some jackwagon decided to cut down one of the trees.

I’m not sure who took this photo, but it’s not the person who cut the tree. We also don’t know who felled the tree.

My guess is this person came in at night (or some other time when no one would be there) and cut the tree down, simply so bike passage would be easier.

I won’t mince words. This is the kind of person who rides trails when they’re waterlogged, paying no mind to the damage that causes. Probably the type who never goes to a cleanup day, or a trail work day. A rider of limited ability who is all about “freedom” but absent the concept of responsibility that freedom infers.

The tree is gone, and there’s no repairing the damage. So I’ll put this out there…

Only the landowner has the right to use power tools or cut down trees at Turkey Mountain, and that landowner is the River Parks Authority. Anyone else who wishes to do so needs RPA permission. Otherwise, it’s vandalism and punishable as a crime.

RUNNING WITH THE TOTS

On to the good. I took last week off work, but didn’t go anywhere. I stayed home, and got to do a lot of things I don’t normally get to do because I’m at work.

Something I used to do was run trails with a weekly run group on Tuesday nights. They’ve long been known as the TOTS (Training on Turkey). Well, I work nights. So I haven’t been able to run with this crew for years. I finally got that chance this week.

Well, sort of. I got there late, so I missed everyone hitting the trail. I ran my own route, then met up with the gang at the trailhead when it was over. Most of these folks are new to me — it’s been a few years, ya know. So I spent some time introducing myself to people.

This is what some Tulsa trail runners do for fun after a group run: Compete to see who can get the best crushed can. (Kia Shebert-Smith photo)

Back in the day, we all headed to a taco joint when it was over and shot the breeze. That tradition has changed. Now, it’s simpler — sharing beers at the trailhead. When it’s time to go, everyone crushes their cans, and a contest is held. The can that’s most perfectly crushed wins. The prize? Bragging rights, and a mention on a blog managed by a gal who has taken the responsibility for shepherding the run group.

It’s a fun, laid-back group with runners who are faster and more accomplished than me. I’m used to that. As it turns out, a few of these folks have a thing for hiking Colorado’s 14ers, One of those guys is headed to Colorado as I write this to take a stab at some of the giants in the Sawatch Range. Hey, anytime I get to talk mountains with people is a good time.

The group has changed, but some things stay the same. People gather because they love trail running. They dig Turkey Mountain. They enjoy exploring the Rockies. It may be awhile before I get to rejoin these runners again, but it’s good to know that there’s still a chill group of runners having some fun together while getting their miles.

Bob Doucette

The silver linings of failure

There are silver linings in those clouds.

One of the challenges of living in the middle of the country is that my opportunities to go to the places I love – namely, the mountains – are far fewer than I’d like. I envy my friends in western states where mountain adventures can be had in the span of a day trip, or maybe a few hours by car for multi-day outings.

For me, it’s planned weeks and months in advance, saving up money, getting time off from work approved, and all the logistical challenges that come with it. Being from a lower elevation doesn’t help my cause when I get there. In any case, I have to make the most of things when I finally get away.

And I guess that’s what irks me about my last trip, that it ended a mere 800 vertical feet from a lone summit on what was otherwise a perfect day in the mountains. The weather, the route conditions, pretty much objective variable out there, was in my favor. And yet I got stopped short because the one thing I didn’t do – prepare well enough physically – bit me in the ass.

A return trip this year was out. Too many car repair bills, not enough cash flow. Middle class ain’t what it used to be. So this failure gets to stick in my craw for a while, maybe as much as a year.

I suppose there are plenty of adventures to be had close to home. But summer in the Southern Plains is not that inviting. Blazing hot temps, high humidity and plenty of bugs. There’s no cool of the alpine air to which I can escape, no splashing in an ocean nearby. Just hundreds of miles of baking earth in the Sun Belt.

I got home a little ticked off. It was great to see friends and family, and really, any time in the mountains is worthwhile, even if it’s hard, uncomfortable, or ultimately leads to less than what was planned. I spent four hours driving from my campsite to civilization, and another 10 hours from Denver to home. Plenty of time to think about the whole mess.

And therein lies the silver lining. I knew my conditioning wasn’t up to snuff. I could do something about that. So as soon as I got back, I got to work. And worked harder. More miles on the road. Bigger effort in the gym. Getting outside in the heat and tackling it head-on. I sucked on the trail, so I was going to make myself pay for it now so I wouldn’t suck later.

In about two weeks, I’ll be starting a training cycle for fall races. Looking back on the last few weeks, and the improvements I’ve already seen, I may just enter that 12-week cycle better prepared than I have in years. Which means come November, I might not suck at all.

So there it is. Failing to plan begets failure in execution. But failure in execution can be a great motivator for the tasks to come.

Bob Doucette

Not quite ready for prime time: Stopped short on Colorado’s Mount Lindsey

Not a bad view, folks.

Humility is a good thing to have. It’s also a hard thing to receive. Receiving it, by definition, means being humbled. And that’s not a fun process.

I came into the summer doing what I usually do with the hopes of getting into the Rockies to see some new peaks. In the past, I’ve had various levels of conditioning – sometimes excellent, sometimes not so great. If I have a weakness, it’s that there are times when I try to see how little I can do and still get my butt up these things.

I took that a little too far this time. Sure, I lifted a bunch. I ran a little. I did other bits of “conditioning.” And then I drove myself to Colorado to climb Mount Lindsey, a peak in the Sangre de Cristo Range that has a fun route up its northwest ridge.

My hiking buddy for the day, Laura. Strong lungs and legs on this gal.

Some things that went right: I had another one of those meet-a-partner-at-the-trailhead moments. Laura is a Colorado gal who had roughly the same kind of experience as me, and as it turned out, she was a great partner. Knowledgeable about the high country, great conversationalist, and overall a pleasant person to be around. She was also remarkably patient. Girl’s got Colorado lungs, you see, and she could have dusted me at any time but didn’t.

We had a perfect weather day, too. No storms forecast until evening, warm temps, light breezes. Given the mileage (8.5 miles), the gain (3,500 feet) and the route difficulty (Class 3-4  on the crux wall), this was a mountain well within my wheelhouse. That is, if I was in shape.

Normally I can find a rhythm between 10,000-12,000 feet. It’s not a fast rhythm, but it eats mileage just the same. Once I get past 12,000 feet, I slow down considerably, but by then I can usually chew up the rest of a route in decent enough time.

Not so this time. The night before, I didn’t sleep. Not even a bit of dozing. I tossed and turned for seven hours at camp. Not exactly a good omen. Once we got going, I handled the easy portions of the trial just fine. But the route up Lindsey includes some steep sections in the trees, easier hiking in a basin below its summit ridge, and then steeper switchbacks going up to 13,000 feet.

I was struggling right off the bat, maybe like I never have before. Poor Laura was having to stop and wait on me every couple of minutes or so, even when we were below 11,000 feet. By the time we hit 13,000 feet, I was getting a little dizzy and was pretty much zapped. We struck up a conversation with a couple of dudes who’d come up behind us, and they were going to do the same route we planned. At that point, I suggested to Laura that she continue up with them and I’d call it a day. I’m sure I could have topped out, but I feared that I’d have nothing left for the downclimb, and that’s just not safe. This way, Laura could get her summit and I could take a slow walk down to contemplate my failure.

This is where I had to stop, below the crux wall at 13,200 feet. Behold the scene of failure.

I’ve been turned around before. Lindsey is the fourth mountain I’ve attempted and turned back short of the summit. But the other three times there were reasons that were either beyond my control (weather and route conditions) or something understandable (pooping out after having done three peaks the previous two days). In this case, the fault was entirely my own. I didn’t prepare myself for the task, and I got my butt whooped accordingly. I deserved what I got.

That’s not to say it was a total loss. The scenery was, again, drop-dead gorgeous. I met some cool people. I got a heck of a workout. But no summit. And that’s too bad. It’s rare that everything lines up so well for success, but you find yourself unable to seal the deal. This one’s going to stick in my craw for awhile.

Anyway, here are some pics of what is one of the more scenic mountain scenes I’ve laid eyes on. Maybe next summer I’ll come back, and have the fitness to get it done.

Blanca Peak showing off over this broad meadow.

Going up!

A bluebird day, folks. Shame I couldn’t make the most of it, but the scenery was grand.

Looking down at all the vert I ate. Heartburn ensued.

Rugged stuff. Lots of rugged stuff.

Looking down the west slope basin from 13,000 feet.

Blanca Peak (left) and Ellingwood Point.

A scenic creek close to the trailhead that included an interesting crossing.

Laura looks ahead toward the summit.

Until next time, folks.

Bob Doucette

Happy first birthday, ‘Outsider’

I was hiking with my friend Bill on a hot July morning when we got to talking about the book I wrote. He’d already read it – he was actually in it – and gave me the kind of cool feedback you really dig as a writer. It was a fun way to keep the conversation going that morning as we put in a few miles on some of my favorite local trails.

Altitude wasn’t the issue, obviously. Bill was used to hiking at 12,000 feet and up, and nothing goes much higher than 800 feet in Tulsa. But he’d been kind enough to surprise me by showing up for an informal launch party the night before, so I figured I owed him a hike before he flew back to Denver.

“Hot,” was his main observation. Colorado gets heat. But not Southern Plains heat.

As far as the book? He noted how its title, “Outsider,” was appropriate to me. I’d orbited Colorado’s 14er hiking community for years but wasn’t really quite part of it. At least not in the way that Coloradoans are. The same could also be said for the local trail running community, one I don’t get to interact with nearly as much as I’d like because I work nights and they all have normal gigs that allow for plenty of night time, early morning and weekend get-togethers. So I orbit that group, too.

Not that I realized it. It took someone looking at that book, and at me, to point it out. As it turns out, there was a layer to “Outsider” that even I wasn’t aware of.

That’s the kind of thing writers live for, to see how something we create affects others, to see how readers interpret it, relate to it, and maybe even get moved by it. As of this week, I’m one year removed from when “Outsider” was published. You dream in your head it was like a countdown to a rocket launch, or some other big deal, but it was just a click of a button on my computer and presto! People could order it without the slightest bit of ceremony.

When a book comes out, I imagine a lot of writers fantasize about hitting that New York Times best-sellers list. Maybe getting interviewed on the Today show, or get chosen by Oprah’s book club. You dream about launching this new, big thing that will finally give you the freedom to do what you love for the rest of your life, and live out the rags-to-riches tale of J.K. Rowling. I know I did. But it usually doesn’t work out that way. It didn’t for me.

I told people I had three goals. First, break even. Even self-publishing has costs, and if you really care about your work, you’re going to invest in it. My hope in this regard was to at least recoup my costs. Second was to make enough money to fix my car. Years of deferred maintenance had piled up, and the price tag to cover this multitude of sins wasn’t small.

So far, check and check.

Third, I really wanted to make enough to get an adventure-worthy rig that could take me to the backcountry places I love. It would be nice to not always be the guy bumming rides from people with high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. I haven’t made that goal yet.

But those weren’t really my aims. And I knew better than to pin my hopes on becoming the next big name in the publishing world. What I really wanted to do was write something honest, something I could be proud of, and something that would affect people in a positive way. I hoped to communicate the way the outdoors has blessed me and describe how wonderful the people I’ve met and traveled with really are.

“Outsider” is about all those things, and more. It’s about family. About grief. And God. It’s about being lost, but finding yourself in the midst of wilderness, both physical and metaphorical. It’s about finding healing in those wild, difficult and beautiful places. That’s what I hoped to communicate, anyway.

On that note, feedback was more valuable than the money. My friend Matt brought a bunch of his California friends to town late last summer, and one of his buds had read it. She wanted to talk to me about it, particularly about the chapter on my oldest brother Mike. Reviews posted online were gratifying. And just this week, a friend of mine texted this: “Your book struck a deep chord in me.” These conversations, reviews and other messages help me believe that maybe I don’t suck after all.

That might sound a little sappy, but here’s the reality of writing a book: It’s a lot like anything else someone builds from scratch. You write a paragraph, then a page, then a chapter. You string those chapters together. You edit. Revise. Tweak. Edit again. And again. And again. Eventually, you check the last box, call it good, and send it to market, the same way a carpenter might take simple boards and end up with a fantastic piece of furniture, or a custom bike builder would take sheet metal, a frame, a motor and scores of parts and fashion a road-worthy machine. A lot of time, effort and love goes into that kind of work, and that’s what makes it meaningful. The hope is that the effort and meaning you place in that comes through with satisfied buyers.

And this is the point where I have to offer some gratitude. A good number of you all plunked down a few bucks to buy a copy of “Outsider,” and for that I’m hugely grateful. You invested in the thing that took me a few years to build. My sister and parents became a pro bono marketing machine, so there are a bunch of copies of the book floating around in Texas right now. And more of you helped the cause by word-of-mouth via social media and in person with your friends and family. It really does take a village.

So what now? Well, there’s always something on the fire. A few interviews done here, a few more to get there. A chapter written. I guess I need a little more time in the shop.

If you haven’t read ‘Outsider’ and would like a copy, you can order it here.

Bob Doucette

A break in the storms and some time on the trail

Look how green that is.

The weird weather cycles have kept me away from the trails of late. We get big storms, huge rain dumps, maybe a day of no action, and then it starts all over again. It’s been like this for a couple of months now.

It’s not that I’m shy about getting dirty. I’ve gone through plenty of mud. But a big part of me believes in giving the trails a chance to dry out before I beat them up with my boots. It’s been too long, though — too many rained-out weekends, too many tornado warnings, and too much flooding. I’ve put in enough road miles. My feet need more dirt and less pavement.

I finally caught a break this week. The rain backed off long enough for me to get out on the trails and at least hike a few miles. Man, I needed that.

All this went down around the same time another series of articles came out extolling the benefits of spending at least a couple of hours every week in nature. Not in a park, or in your yard, but in true natural settings like a forest. You don’t get the same sounds, smells and sights in man-made “natural” settings as you do in the woods.

What I noticed was the change of seasons. It’s summer now, and the forest has, indeed, moved on from spring.

Seen on the trail: things that grow.

First of all, the foliage has gone from that bright “new growth” green of spring to a more mature, deeper shade. It’s still dense — the heavy spring rains have guaranteed that. But the greens are darker, maybe even flatter, as trees, bushes and grasses maximize their ability to turn bright sunlight into sustenance.

The sounds are different, too. In the spring it was all birds, all the time. The birds are still there, but they’re quieter. Instead, you hear the bugs. The heat of summer seems to liven up the chirping, buzzing, screeching insects of the forest to the point of being loud. Summer songs of the woods are distinctly invertebrate.

Then there’s the heat and humidity. If you’re living anywhere in the Sunbelt, your attitude toward summer hiking has to come to terms with the fact that you’re going to get very sweaty, kinda smelly, and feeling a bit gross when it’s done. Maybe well before that. If you’re cool with that, you can enjoy yourself as long as you’re hydrated. If not, well, you’re going to end up waiting a good four months for the temperatures to come down.

I don’t plan on waiting. I’ll take the sweat and get my miles as long as the seemingly ceaseless train of storms doesn’t wash me out.

Summer in the woods.

Bob Doucette