Sufferfest. Today we decided that our nature walk should be a run along the creekside trail that makes up parts of the kids' race and the 25k trail run I'll be doing. It was a trail we'd never done together, and I had only ever done part of it. It was a lovely memorable outing. We crossed the darling pink covered footbridge. We saw a snake, which Sophie almost stepped on before it bolted. (Can snakes bolt? Or does bolting require legs? Anyway, it was outta there!) We stumbled on a little stone labyrinth in the garden behind a church on the edge of town, which entranced the girls. We found a pitchfork within and through a growing birch tree. Saw a neon orange fungus, and a bright orange and black woolybear caterpillar, and sparkling light-blue pools of glacier-fed water in the creek, huge steep slopes of lush moss, dark passages through quiet old cedar forests devoid of understory.
As we walked along we noticed a fair bit of gravel underfoot to prevent the trail from getting soggy and messy after rains and to provide traction on the steep slopes. It's clearly maintained by a very dedicated group of volunteers.
Our shoulders started to get tired from the straps of the denim bags, but we carried on. Everyone was sporting fairly new shoes. Fiona has some little Salomon trail shoes that she hasn't used much yet. Sophie has some new Nikes that were the least rigid, built-up youth running shoe I could find urgently last weekend after we realized she'd outgrown her old runners and was planning to run next week's race and join the school's cross-country team. I was in my recently purchased New Balance WT100's. So it was good to be doing a variety of types of walking, climbing, running and carrying to break in our various footwear. We probably carried our gravel for almost a kilometre.
The entire trail is clearly being gradually gravelled in just this manner. Every week I expect that the small pile of gravel is spread a bit further along the trail and the lean-to and tarp are moved another 25 metres up the trail. An amazing amount has already been done. And it's thanks in part to people like us carrying small bags of gravel. Day after day, kilo after kilo.