Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Adventure Time: 16 miles

Today's LR was a 16er that I opted to do from home. I'd planned for this to be a basic out-and-back jaunt along Hwy 136, but ran into little irritations and segways throughout the run. It became "Adventure Time!" Enjoy!

Mere feet from my home I had to repack my phone and camera. Because I have
a palsy-like tremor in my hands, I'm unable to take clear pix with my phone
and must use my point-and-shoot. With my 4-bottle water belt,
camera, phone and tunes, I was a bit loaded down.

My dad always called our portion of Hwy. 136 a "ridge road" because it stayed
atop the hills and curved along with them, offering great vistas of the surrounding
hills and farmland. The little cluster on the horizon had been an Irish Catholic
settlement originally called Quigley, but eventually took the name Petersville. 
The church remains and still holds mass (the cemetery is beautiful and peaceful)
and a few houses and old buildings still stand though much is abandoned.

As I headed past a neighbors farm, I noticed these vines twisted around a corner
fence post. I found the color on this grey day to be very inviting.

From the "ridge." I never tire of the view...even when Mother Nature
lies dormant, I find the land gorgeous.

With our crazy-warm winter, things have been pretty sloppy. Of course, the
bright side has been running outside! Usually I'm logging megamiles
on the treadmill during January and February!

This was the first of many times I opted to leave the road and climb through the
ditches for a closer look. It made for extremely slow going, but felt kinda cool
in an urban adventurer kind of way...only this pretty dang far from urban.

I love how the ice melted, silhouetting the leaf.

To the east of this farm you can spot portions of an old railroad bed that once spanned
northern Clinton County. I was told the train went UNDER Hwy 136 in this area.
Despite climbing through some ditches and into some fields, I found little evidence.

Rather than simply running through Delmar and continuing to the 8-mile turnaround,
I went in search of the railroad bed that's seen from Hwy 136 just east of Delmar.
The town park sits in the area where the original railroad bed had been, to the west
is a tall embankment on which sits the restored depot. To the east? This...

A few feet south of the original "bed" is another, which I'm guessing is now used
as a rec trail as evidenced by the arrow signs (snowmobiles). I did find a hunter's tree stand
(and yes, I climbed it). The trail totally reminds me of the last leg of Lost Nation's Rustic Run!

This is the gully between the two railroad beds. I don't understand it....

The really OLD railroad bed is filled with bracken and crap. At least the lichen was pretty.

End of the road. Given the crazy-steep embankment, I'm not sure how we could pull off
a Rustic Run-type of course, but I'm game for trying!!!

The view from the top . . .

From abandoned railroad beds to abandoned houses.

After fueling up with a Snickers and Gatorade, I headed back toward home
back along 136. It was great seeing a small herd of momma cows and their new babies!

Five miles from home I look up and see 2 black dogs up the road. I got a little nervous.
Fortunately when they spotted me, they turned tail.

Three miles from home I spotted a couple of "Sam's" (I'm a muppet of a wo-man),
see him? Also, see a remnant of the old railroad bed? Aw yeah!

It was an exhausting run, mainly because I was in the ditches because of all the mud.
Hey, good training for the upcoming Hawkeye 25k trail run, right?


  1. Great pics, Jen. It's amazing how much there is to see in the Iowa countryside if you take the time to look.

  2. I love you picture posts, Jen! Awesome run!