Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ditch Runs!

I went for some ditch runs today.  A ditch run is where you go running in a ditch.  Not a dinky front-yard ditch, but rather a big one that's a larger part of the local drainage system.  It's cool to run through retention ponds, but they don't go so far.  Some of these ditches just keep going.  Some are pretty deep.  One that I was in today had walls about 25-30 feet above my head.  The terrain is fairly varied, but there are a few main types.  There's hard rock with holes.  These are neat because you can see how they make sanctuaries for aquatic animals when they're full of water.  There's sandy area with loosely packed sand.  You also encounter broken bits of concrete.  Sometimes the pieces are stable and other times they're not.  Unfortunately, the ditches are not completely dry; you encounter patches of water.

Running today was good timing because they might not be so dry tomorrow or later this week.  For the first one, I snuck in through a hole in a fence.  After running about a half mile, I came across a purse.  I stopped and looked inside.  There were prescription medications, keys, eye glasses, personal letters, debit cards, and more.  Luckily, I found a name and address in there, so I decided to take it with me back to the house.  Running through the ditch with the purse was difficult at times and at one point I rammed my right leg into a protruding tree root.  Just a little bit of blood.  I had to throw the purse up out of the ditch before I was able to climb out.  Upon climbing out, I had to jump a fence to get to the road.  I couldn't find a number for this lady when I got home, so I called the pharmacy to ask if they could get in touch with her and give her my contact info.  I haven't heard from her.  I'm beginning to fear that her phone got stolen.  I found out where she works and left a message on her work phone.  I wonder how long the purse has been missing.  Since I'd only been running about 16 minutes when I got back home, I headed out for some more.

In the second ditch, I encountered 3 big snakes.  I think they were each about 6 feet long.  All black as far as I could tell.  The first one surprised me and I got pretty close to stepping on it.  I jumped up to avoid it then watched it squirm beneath me.  I was afraid that it would zig when I wanted it to zag and that I would land on it.  Fortunately, I missed crashing down on it and it got away.  The other snakes saw me coming and hauled ass.  Getting down into the second ditch was tough.  I almost slipped and slid down into it but was able to grab some plants (and get a splinter in my right index finger) to slow my descent.  I had to get up out of the second ditch after some impassible water.

On the way to the third (tall) ditch, I passed some people riding their bikes.  I asked the oldest if he knew of an entry point.  I followed the ditch around for a while and climbed down at a convenient point.  I think I should bring someone else along on these adventures because it would be very easy to twist an ankle something.  It was pretty fun.  At some points along this ditch I was almost at ground-level and at others I was about 30 feet down.  Parts of the ditch were very wide (a lower part about 4 feet wide and an upper area that's still part of the ditch another 3 feet on each side).  Other parts were only about twice as wide as I am.  I turned around and began back tracking and passed the point where I had entered the ditch.  I ran through the deepest part and it was nice.  I had a semi hard time getting out of this ditch.  I had to use my leftover rock-climbing skills (not as easy in running shoes) to get across a big pool of water then I had to climb out partially assisted by tree roots.  It would have been way easier to get up on the wrong side of the ditch.  After I climbed out, I had to climb a fence that had barbed wire wrapped around the top.  Why would they do that?  I managed to get away unscathed.

Hopefully I can find some more ditches in the future.  These were the best ditches I've ever run.  I'll try to go back next time we have a drought.  Want to come with me?
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