Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kiara Tackles the Trails #12 Banks-Vernonia State Trail

Yesterday morning looked beautiful and sunny and cold - perfect for a long run with Ki, so I perused a couple of blogs with my coffee and thoroughly freaked out for Julie B and her bear experience this week. Thought to myself, Thank God I don't have to worry about bears today. Got in the truck for a beautiful drive to The Banks-Vernonia State Trail to arrive at the trail head and find this:

Dang it! Would not have been a big deal if I hadn't just read Julie's report, but I did read it, so I'm freaked out a bit. The first part of the trail is pretty dark and and it was very foggy and cold, but we warmed up good right away. At one point I heard some voices in the distance, but they didn't really sound like in the distance, more like muffled and in right behind my ear. Took my brain a minute but realized it was my phone talking to me, so since I was a little freaked out from bear watching, I pulled it out and saw my mom had called, so I called her back and we did a little Christmas shopping talk before I told her about the bear situation. She assured me I was fine until I told her about all the gun fire I was hearing. What color are you wearing she said? Black says me. whoops, bummer. Now I'm sure the hunting was going on quite a ways away from where I was, but it was still weird hearing so much gun power. Steve assures me it wasn't even hunters, just a bunch of red-necks playing in their backyards (to be sure, I was way outside of Portland and the fact of gun playing big boys was def a possibility).

I would occasionally break into some area where the sun could shine down through the vanishing fog and it was beautiful. Just me and Ki and a lot of quiet and trees.

It wasn't until we came to our SECOND Railroad sign (duh) in the middle of nowhere with no tracks around that I realized we must be on part of the Rails to Trails project. The trail was about 8 feet wide of paved and 4 feet wide of woodchipped horse trail (which felt much better on my shin splints and not too much horse poop to sidestep). I read later that this trail is built on an abandoned railroad bed that stretches 21 miles from Banks to Vernonia. The railway dates back to the 1920s when it was used for moving lumber to Vernonia and passengers to Portland. It also makes since now why the trail was SO incredibly clean. Not a leaf on it, not a piece of litter, horse poop cleaned up. This park is maintained! as I found out for myself when in a moment of bear terror, I was looking back, looking foward as I heard the hum of something coming upon me, when all of a sudden a huge sound of a Jason like attacker came towards me with chainsaw roaring for me...around the corner comes an old guy on his John Deere mini street cleaner. Phew. I had to pick my heart up off the ground and put it back in. Jeez, Julie B - you really freaked me out.

We came along this Diary Box towards the end of our jaunt. It had lots of little notes in it and even a Hilton key card. I imagined all sorts of romantic meaning it could have had to the person who left it there until Steve ruined my story with his man-view that someone lost it and someone else picked it up and saw on the back where it reads "if you find this card, put in nearest mailbox for return". Boo Hoo on man-views.

So that was our run on Saturday - probably about 8 miles. Shins are for shit and I'm ready for them to be healed.


Krissa said...

Those are awesome pictures! Beautiful. It would be so nice to live close to places like that--to go hiking. I need to do my research for trails close to me. I live in Kentucky for goodness sake, I am sure there are plenty of trails around. I am just not taking advantage of them.

Loved the diary box.

Jessica said...

Holy cow...this read like a suspense novel to me...I was all tense and then I relaxed and then tense again as I was reading. But DUH, you WROTE the post so I knew you were ok! ;)

Sounds amazing and beautiful. I am doing 6 mile trail run by my office today. Can't wait!


Julie said...

Krissa - I had never been on any of these trails until I bought a book for Ki and I last year - The Best Oregon Trail Runs or something like that. Anyways, I bet you you could find a similar book for Kentucky!

Jess - Hope you had a great run today!