If it had been a little warmer, Jackson would have been a nearly perfect town to run around in with bare feet that morning. The roads and paths were asphalt well within my comfort zone for longer distances. Also, there were wide bike pathways throughout town, without more than an occasional bike, so there was lots of room for us to run through many parts of town. I had walked barefoot the evening before, but the ground was sufficiently warm from a day in the sun. Although I liked my polar fleece poncho for a jacket, my feet had been quite comfortable. I tried to wear my flip-flops some, not wanting to complicate my husband’s attempt to take me out to dinner. However, I was getting some blisters from them. I probably need to look into some other minimalist walking sandals. I really cannot stand to have my feet unnecessarily in sweat boxes. (click on any photo to enlarge)
First, we went on a walking scout trip right after breakfast. My husband had seen an asphalt path indicated on the map handed out at the hotel desk (apparently available from all hotels, because we got lost in the road construction and had to stop at a hotel on the main street to get directions to our hotel!) I had checked the weather report and knew it would be borderline for my barefooting capabilities. When I saw all the ice crystals on the walkways, I knew I would be wearing my running moccasins for at least the beginning of the run. My toes were also getting a little numb during the scouting walk. They warmed up right away when we got back to the hotel, but I could tell that I would need to be good and warm to the core before going barefoot would work.
When we got started, we headed north, toward a wide asphalt path that ran along the main highway, but to the side enough that it felt safe. Besides that, there wasn’t all that much traffic on the road. I didn’t notice engine noise and certainly not exhaust. There was the ridiculous barricade saying the path was closed due to the government shut-down. Like they have to constantly stand there taking care of things when the government isn’t “shut-down.” We disregarded that juvenile attempt to bully us and proceeded. However, we soon saw very permanent signs saying that it was an elk migration corridor closed October through April, so we turned around and headed back to town. Would be a nice run another time of year.
From our base at Parkway Inn (which was a very pleasant establishment in spite of the bathtub not plugging for my evening hot bath), we headed for the main street through town, W. Broadway. After I went (gracefully?)leaping over patches of ice on sidewalks in the shade, hubby lead me down Virginian Lane and we found the library. From there, we ran down W. Snow King Avenue and found a trail head.
He was pretty sure there were paths there, but initially we kept finding signs saying private property and no access to trails. Fortunately, one of those people had the foresight to actually put directions to the nearest trail on his sign. Whoever you are, thank you so much! I was on about mile 6 by then and I needed some assurance of where I was going!
The trails were damp to life-threateningly slippery, but strewn with gold coin aspen leaves making it look like a treasure hunt. It was a rolling path, that went up and down at about 40° angles. Being at just over 6000 feet above sea level, when my circulatory system is only used to about 2700 feet, I needed to walk some at these uphills. No worries. My husband would run ahead, then come back to check on me… to see if I had been eaten? There was no one else on the trail until the very end when we were leaving. I had time to examine the animal prints in the mud and wonder what kind of canine was on the loose there. And to remember the front headlines that said a cougar had “spooked” a bicyclist.
By the time we were hitting mile 9, my heart decided to ask for some extended walking. Just a niggle of palpitations, but I didn’t want it to get worse. I figured I was doing well to have gone so far at a decent pace at that elevation. No need to try to be “tough” about it. I was able to run some after that, which not only felt fine, but was fun. We ran by a road construction group that had seen us earlier and were told we looked “very healthy.” Have to be happy with that at our age. :-)
That was the most I had run in my Moc3′s for months. With dear hubby having been recuperating from major surgery much of the summer, we didn’t get in the usual Owyhee desert runs. (Although, you can tell that he is quickly gaining speed!) But, I was concerned that I might get blisters from the Mocs. I never got warm enough to take them off, always feeling just a half a degree above chilled. However, I could tell that all my miles totally barefoot have really helped my form. I felt much lighter than I have felt in the past when I put on the minimalist running footwear. I did not get blisters, even though I did feel like some toe tips had been rubbed tender. All feels fine a day later.
Jackson may be a small town, but all the paths made it feel open and friendly for exploration on foot or bike. I can get to feeling claustrophobic if there are not opportunities for such things. Being limited to driving around leaves me agitated. I would definitely consider another trip to Jackson.
Below are a few more photos related to the trip to Jackson, but not from the run: