Into the Woods

Riding on Wednesday afternoon, the sky hung low and there was a misty fog in the air, and it was cold, around 50 degrees. More like the east or west coast than the usually dry, airy foothills west of Denver, which was nice for a change.

There were a few other riders out, but not many, and only a handful of hikers, so the gray and the solitude gave the ride a dreamy feel–which didn’t make it any less painful–Apex trail is a long grind no matter how you ride it. The section called Enchanted Forest is deeply treed, smooth, and up, up, up, and just to get to the small bridge that serves as an entrance of sorts, you have to climb for at least 30 minutes.

It was nice to pedal and suffer in the gray quiet. It was nice to feel the cold on my face and hands and feel the warmth of blood coursing through me. It was nice to just ride and feel confident–something I haven’t felt for a while. Being alone was nice, too, and it reminded me of something fiction writer Chris Offutt once wrote:

My life’s progression had been a toxic voyage bringing me to the safety of the flatland, where I began each day by entering the woods along the river. I’ve become adept at tracking animals, finding the final footprint of skull and bone.

Many people are afraid of the woods but that’s where I keep my fears. I visit them every day. The trees know me, the riverbank accepts my path. Alone in the woods, it is I who is gestating, preparing for life.

—from The Same River Twice

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4 thoughts on “Into the Woods

  1. It was a little creepy, and out there I’m always a little bit scared–of mountain lions, breaking my neck, getting a thorn in my eye, crazy toothless men in overalls carrying shotguns, etc.

    That’s what made me think of the Offutt quote.

  2. Seems like that place was always on the cusp of breaking into spring. And then on one of those trips I got obsessed with Mark Hendrie’s cassette of U2’s “Joshua Tree.”

    Ah, good times.

    (PS Is the ballet over?)

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