Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Robinson Park Bushwhack

Went out Saturday with a portion of the recently formed Dead Runners' Club. Dave picked me up noon for an exploratory run in and near Robinson Park. Strangely, Eureka was devoid of precip, but just west of Washington there was suddenly 3-4" of snow on the ground and coming down. We met Troy at his house on Mossville Rd. and headed out. From Troy's we took a gas pipeline right-of-way up to an entrance to the woods, bushwhacking through a snow covered section in the northeast section and untrailed section of the park for about an half an hour, negotiating multiflora rose and hopping several small tributary creeks. We finally hit the regular trail in Robinson just to the northwest of the new wooden footbridge.

From this point we headed down the large hill on the new connector to Camp Wokanda and looped back on the shorter trail around the camp. After finishing the Robinson loop we went across Mossville Rd. to explore the connector to Detweiller. Troy had his topo map and a fairly good idea of where to aim for. I had never been on this section and was stoked to get the guided tour. We went up and over a substantial bluff, tailing slightly to the east, the fresh snow was making treacherous footing for me in my regular running shoes. I struggled at times anyway to keep up with these guys as they are quite a bit faster than I am. Graciously they slowed their pace. The bluffs and valleys in this section are basically untouched and as yet have no maintained trail. The beauty of this section is spectacular and I'm really looking forward to the continuous footpath that will be here in the next couple of years. Scrambling over the lung busting ridges to Moon and Strawberry Hollows, we ended at route 6, where there is supposed to be a culvert under the roadway where you can cross to Detweiller. Short on time, we headed back along 6 to Mossville Rd. Total elapsed time: 2:17

The first meeting of the DRC topped off a great day in the woods. Pints of beer and wings.

Soundtrack: Sun Kil Moon "Ghosts of the Great Highway" and Neil Young "Prairie Moon"

This topographical map is of Robinson Park. If you check it out, please be gentle

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I done went had me a mini Kurosawa film festival. I watched his 1950 classic Rashomon, a film I for some reason hadn't seen before. The movie makes ingenious use of flashback sequences (say thank you, Usual Suspects) to tell the story of a man's murder and the rape of his wife from four different perspectives, thus calling into question the nature of objective reality.

Kurosawa sprinkles powerful metaphors throughout his works, especially impactful are the shots of the sun coming through the dense forest canopy as a parallel to the inherently clouded nature of our being. I'll steal a quote from a review that I think captures this point wonderfully:

"I think that Kurosawa is saying that, much like the scenes in the woods, the world is dense with sin and hurt, but sun shines and pokes through the foliage. It is therefore our job to reach for the sun when we can see it, and when we cannot, to take shelter from the rain. That sun, in a world full of contradictions, is the only truth worth embracing."

And so it is. And so is Rashomon.

As is Kurosawa's final film, Madadayo. In this movie a sage professor is met by his adoring students annually on his birthday for a "Maddha Kai" (Are you ready?) party, where over a huge glass of beer (I want to age this way!) he invariably answers with the sing-song "Madadayo!!" (Not yet!), while then summarily downing the beer in one marathon chug. This is a beautiful, lovingly paced meditation about life and the wisdom and serenity of aging and the calm assurance and nobility of death as a part of the continuum of existence. What a way to go out. This rockets into my top 20 favorite movies.