I have a confession: I’m maybe the only runner in the world who’s not into those adventure races. You know the ones I’m talking about—the ones whose courses have you run over some large, wooden obstacle course, through a man-made mud pit and maybe even over a fire, after which you are rewarded with a fuzzy Viking helmet and a turkey leg.
I know I’m in the minority here, and I’m not judging anyone for their love of man-made mud pits and fuzzy Viking helmets. I’m just saying that it’s not for me, and my trip to the Monongahela National Forest last weekend reminded me why that is.
We went to the Cranberry Wilderness Area, which is essentially one big bog. That means the ground beneath us was soggy and mucky—not because someone filled a pit with mud, but because a glacier created a cool little microenvironment when it plowed through thousands of years ago.
We hiked through seas of ferns and spruces that made us feel like we were in a northwestern rain forest rather than a West Virginia bog.
We sidestepped our own version of those wooden obstacle courses in the form of falling-apart footbridges.
On our route, there were two spectacularly dangerous footbridges to hike around—which meant “fording” the small streams the bridges went over.
We even fought our way through tall grasses when our path carried us through overgrown meadows.
We were rewarded with the peace and solitude that only comes from not seeing another soul for 24 hours or more …
… and with some stunning vistas.
We finished the three-day, two-night trek covered with mud, and full of peace—a prize I’d choose over a fuzzy Viking helmet any day.
What’s motivating you this week?