The calendar may indicate spring, but the temperature and outdoor conditions are still wintry. It is a challenge to go out and run in the cold, surrounded by snow-covered landscapes, but I need a break from the boredom of the treadmill.
When I step out the door I feel so cold and miserable and I am tempted to return to my warm house. However, if I can withstand the freezing temperatures for a few minutes I will survive. So, I walk as fast as possible for 10 minutes to warm up before running. Thank goodness, in a few minutes, I start sweating and quickly forget about the frosty weather.
Last week I did three 3-mile runs and one 4-mile run. The running trails near my place are still too icy, so this means that I am limited to the main rural highway and some side roads in my neighborhood. Luckily there is virtually no traffic on the side roads, so it is possible to run in the center of the street where the pavement is less damaged and there are fewer potholes. Nonetheless, I have to pay close attention to my footing to avoid injuries and by doing this I usually miss the nature around me. There were lots of deer on the roads, but my huffing and puffing sent them running in the woods, making it difficult for me to get my camera out in time to snap many photos.
This is a side road that gets little traffic, so still plenty of snow here.
A couple of deer out for a run.
Close-up of one of the many potholes that I have to skirt around.
This is the road where I am training until the trails are open.
Looks like the trails won’t be ready for a few weeks.
Still too much snow here. Is it really spring?
The first week of 2017 is in the books. I was able to stick to my exercise plan in spite of some cold, wintry weather. I began the year with a 8-mile (about 12 km) cross-country ski excursion on New Year’s Day. It only takes me five minutes on foot to access the off-road trail that travels across New Brunswick. The trail is used by snowmobilers in the winter and ATVs in the other months. It is a great place to bike, run and walk in the summer and a perfect place for cross-country skiing in the winter.
Starting point in Smiths Crossing.
The pond is under the snow.
A path off the trail – something to investigate on another outing.
Looks like some deer have already hit the trails.
Highway up ahead, so I better slow down.
A winter scene, with a tree that looks like it might not make it through the winter.
Where are the hills?
The path narrows as I approach Blackville.
After a longer than expected journey on Sunday, I had sore muscles (especially my upper body – the ones that don’t get a workout from running) and I really wanted to skip training on Monday, but decided that this would not be a good start to the new year. I managed a mere 2.3 miles in 35 minutes. I used Tuesday as a rest day to recover from skiing. I went to bed early thinking about running. On Wednesday I got up at six and did a 3-mile session (36:31) before breakfast. The next day I did an early morning yoga workout and then shovelled snow for two hours. Yesterday, I did another 3-mile run (35:41), followed by 30 minutes of stretching. I ended the week with an easy 6-mile trek on the trails this afternoon.
A couple of days ago my friends and I left Nizwa, ready and eager to climb the Persian Steps to the top of Jebel Akhdar. We headed to Izki, eventually making our way to Qaroot Al Janubiyah, a small town at the foot of Jebel Akhdar. According to my directions, gathered from a couple of websites and several colleagues, we should drive through this town into a wadi, look for a small, one-room hut and park our vehicle and go on foot from here into the gorge that was straight ahead. This is exactly what we did.
This is were we started.
The steps should be straight ahead.
This is me with Achmed at the start of our journey.
No sign of the steps on this ridge.
Maybe the steps are in this direction.
Our plan was to locate the Persian Steps and climb up to Jebel Akhbar to see the same spectacular views experienced by the ancient Persians who built the steps many centuries ago. The gorge was quiet and peaceful as we hiked over massive boulders and encountered some curious goats. We continued for about twenty minutes but we couldn’t locate any steps.
Get ready to climb over some big boulders.
Short break under a tree.
Thanks Achmed for carry the food and water.
What are you doing?
We stopped for a short water break and debated whether or not to continue looking for the steps or to forget about them. I wanted to keep searching; Achmed and Rachel wanted to hike farther into the gorge. Sefa complained constantly about the heat and wanted to go back home. In the end, I sided with Achmed and Rachel because if we couldn’t climb the steps I at least wanted to get some exercise. So, we spent the next three hours hiking though a gorge with no final destination in mind.
Where do we go from here?
How do these plants survive in such a dry place?
Let’s look for the steps next week!
Although we did not stumble across the Persian Steps we had a fun day of hiking and we got plenty of exercise.