Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Ah the skidmore trails of Saratoga

Posted by heshman on July 6, 2006

Roots form a maze over the rocks and mud as if the ground were seething with snakes. The snaking roots come in all sizes and shapes, the squared off ones are better,theroud large ones create a huge obstacle in the wasteland of mud, mosquitoes, down trees, rocks and standing water that looks more like someonejustcouldnt make it to the next rest stop or even off the trail.

The trees shading me, providing shelter and a canopy from the ravaging wind and inevitable downpours from the anvil shaped evil looking clouds that hover in the mid afternoon sky. The darkening thick sky combined with the brown, grey and evergreen colors of this swampy poststormexitsance provide me with the neccessary solitude to wish away the fast paced city, any thoughts of work, and life in general.

My mind jumps back to now, my eyes shift downward, my heart stops mid beat- as if the arterries told the heart that something bad was about to happen- I can feel it and theres nothing I can do. This split second lasts for what seems like 3 seasons of 24, and then boom its over. My thought to be, over thebarsendo, has ended- my mind acting quickly almost too quickly compensated for the overbearing wieght on the front and somehow managed in its moment of glory to correct my ship of alunimum and aloow it to sail through the rotor deep muck. My tracks instantly vanish once the tires pass through this brown soup containing pine needles, twigs and recently trapped mosquitoes. It is as if my ship had never entered the muck- the only signs of my being in the muck- are left on me- but not a mark on the land.

The roots and rocks quickly change to a more forgiving hard reddish earth, a few branches that the wind in all its rage and fury decided to discard on the trail is a bout the only meaningful obstruction for this stretch- my red and black bike is gracefully gliding along at high enough speeds to look like a blurry deer that was just shot and wounded trying to escape being shoved into the back of a waiting F350, by a hunter drunk on 6 cans of PBR- whos awefully hungry.

Suddenly I am airborne- I am flying- the racoons and other rodents must think that the mushrooms they are eating are magical- the ones they heard from the migratory water fowl about- the kind that grow abundantlyinSequioa National Park in the Sierra’s. “dude I just saw a unicorn” I can imagine one of them saying, “No way man, it was totally a dead deer jumping a log”, “whaqtever man these shrooms are way better then the ones that last storm produced”.

I can feel the plush 5 inches of oil soaked travel absorbing the impact of mine and thebikeswieght . Rays of sun are trying to get a glimpse of the ground now, its creating a totally riveting effect at these speeds- the ground constantly changing color and the wind trying to conceal the sun with its clouds, forces the light and dark forces to battle it out at the expense of my vision. The clouds conceal the mud pits that may be bottomless- but one cannot tell until testing it, testing it may mean taking the plunge literally. Plunging successfully intoanother pit almost resembling the one that yosef was thrown in to, I feel my fork struggling against its depths- as the pit tries to take me down, and flip me over my bars. Once again fancy moves, fancy bike, and a stroke of luck saves my ass and proceeds to spray its load of nastiness all over my legs and back- “take that you disturber of peace”, the pit is screaming at my speeding sled of aluminium and rubber, “I was merely enjoying the calm before the storm- and munching on pine needles, sheesh”, “What’s a pit gotta do around here?”

The penut butter is revitalizing my muscles, my wisdom tooth with the hole in it is hogging all the preschious protein that this sticky, half melted, brown almost mudlike- soy, penut, chocolate bar can offer me. My sweat is mixing with the mud on my legs- making them look like marble cake, light specks of blood left over from the wrath of these annoying mosquitoes, as I bring another one to its untimely death every couple of minutes with the slap of my hand followed by my screaming “you bastards” at them- as I try to enjoy the remnants of the wind that is barely making it through the thick woods to try and satisfy my pounding head and sweaty back. The wind is fighting a war against the trees as are the clouds trying to repress the sun from gaining a foothold on this stormy sky. In the end the sun wins and glorious rays of light wash over the forest creating an almost lifesaving event- the forest goes from swampy-post storm over flowed toilet bowl, to a sudden land of brightly colored roots, beautiful pine trees- with their plentiful seedlings scattered about wiating for the corageous squirrel collecting for the oncoming winter.

There is a mudline where my shirt stops at my collar bone, where my socks end just below the ankle, and where my gloves end on my arms. I clap my shoes together and watch as the mud sprays in hundreds of directions scattered about like shrapnel from a homemade nail bomb. I am sitting shirtless on the tailgate of my car, sweaty, bitten up, slightly bloody, and looking like a black and white cookie met its fate in the blender- marble cake would be an understatement. Two bikes one extremely muddy adorn my bike rack and there is a puddle of brown sweat pooled up in my belly button.

My windows are open- the howling wind slowly drying the sweat that is running down all parts of my body- Less Than Jake is singing about teenage angst, skateparks and dead end jobs in small towns- and the sun is begining to turn orange in its nightly big bang and its eventual decent into twilight.

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