Leaf season in Connecticut lasted all of nine days this year and yet there it is, a tree with green leaves leaning into red with pale yellow. I wasn't expecting much today; yesterday was perfectly disgusting and some of those trails, ok, a lot of those trails are dangerous when they're covered in six inches of wet almost mulch. Some of those hills weren't much fun coming down today either. This section of rocky, tree rooted trail screams New England and I wondered for about two seconds today why we, as a community gave up farming these acres and let it go back to forest. Because there are more rocks than soil if you look down at your feet when you're walking.
Speaking of looking down at your feet while you're walking, I got myself good and lost today. Eventually I turned on the GPS which informed me I'd gone about a mile and a half past my first turn and my second turn leaving me with two choices, back track or keep going another half mile to the next turn which will eventually bring you back to the top half of the Dayton Tract which goes back to Pillar. I'm not fond of backtracking.
Why would you not just follow that road forever? (because it leads to NOT THE WAY HOME) There were people in my fern forest today; lots of them although lots is subjective especially when you've seen all of two people in four months. Nearly everyone had ski poles, one couple was dressed in alpine gear complete with those odd socks, one man carried an old fashioned compass and kept looking at it as if he couldn't believe what it was telling him (the sky, I wanted to say, look up at the sky), one couple played on some very large rocks until he fell off and bumped his head on something. Then they went home I think. Quietly. I felt bad. There was a couple with a small baby followed immediately by a girl and a boy in their mid to late teens who couldn't have made eye contact without contracting this terrible disease called humanity. They'll outgrow it. And then there was the runner. I saw her up ahead coming off the trail I needed to be able to get back. She moved lightly and with a fair amount of speed. I couldn't tell how old she was or wasn't, just that she was moving. Good, I thought, the ground is going to get easier. It did not. It led me to believe she was nuts.
I stop because it's beautiful in what has become late afternoon light but also I am shaking for moving so fast and I wonder about those rocks and leaves and how much I'm torquing my knees because four miles is about my limit without support and I'm going to break four miles. I consider slowing down and I have to when I start coming down the hills because the leaves are in piles twelve inches deep in some spots. It's as if all the trees agreed to lean as far over the trails as possible and just drop that shit there. I live in Weston. Someone will come out here with a leaf blower. That's only funny if it's not true...
On the way out my right knee started to bitch but only on the down hill. It didn't get ugly until the last half mile when I was just glad there was nobody there to witness this weakness. There's a sharp left turn at the very end of the trail and I made that left hook planting my left foot securely between one rock and another and then flew.
The way I see it is it saved me from walking/sliding down that hill and didn't do a damn thing to my right knee. After the initial tumble I made it to the near bottom of the hill on my back before I managed to stop. I wanted to stay still on my back and smell the ground but two women coming in from the road thought I might be dead and one of them already had her cell phone out by the time I sat up and I thought, shit, can we at least stop and examine the body before we decide I'm a corpse. I muttered, hello and staggered across the road to my car.