Friday morning rolled around and I still didn't have a workable plan. I had intended to head out to the Ramsey Well area west of the Whetstones and map out the old "pack trail" that leads to the abandoned homestead in Shellenberger Canyon. With a few cairns and other improvements, the trail could be an excellent route to Apache Peak.
Nothing wrong with that plan, except today's forecast for winds gusting to 40mph. With the head cold not quite gone, it'd be miserable. A walk would be nice, but I'd want some shelter from the wind...hell, why not just do the old-lady loop in the canyon?
I slipped on my Vibram foot gloves and set off from the trailhead. Wind was already up, but as I got further down the trail the natural windbreaks attenuated it to just a fretful breeze. I set a quick pace to keep warm, and actually started to feel pretty good. About a mile in, a couple of mountain bikers passed me, causing a strong twinge of envy. Damn. I should have ridden today, I'm feeling pretty good. And I could do a helluva lot better than those guys. I jogged a few steps in the choppy, balls-of-the-feet stride necessitated by the Vibrams, and a thought occurred:
I'm almost as fast as they are.
Without pushing too hard, I found that a scout pace of alternating sprints and fast hiking sufficed to keep my prey in sight and even narrow the gap. When I reached the junction with the Pomona Mine Trail, the bikers were taking a trailside breather. I pushed on and made it to within a tenth of a mile of Ramsey Road before they caught up again.
Completed the 5-mile loop in a touch over an hour. I rarely run, so I had some tightness in my calves from the unaccustomed movement, but was energized by the impromptu game. So this is why dogs chase bikes...