Going off-trail for once

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Tuesday night I almost fell asleep driving home from work, which is always super scary. I cranked up the AC and music to try to jolt me awake. I did make it home in one piece and when I hit the bed, I didn’t get out. I was very upset because I was supposed to ride my bike that night, and I love to ride my bike! But I just had zero energy to do so. We ended up watching the last Hunger Games and I tried my best to rest.

But… My body can’t seem to figure out that it is tired and that it should sleep. I am still waking up in the middle of the night and cannot seem to go back to sleep. My adrenal glands suck. When my alarm went off for work, it just wasn’t going to happen. I knew working from home wasn’t even going to happen. I took a sick day.

I rested all day and felt better by dinner. Steven brought me some Chipotle, which I could pretty much eat every day of the week, and I wanted to get some fresh air. Bowie said he didn’t want to run so I asked Steven if he wanted to ride his bike along beside me while I ran. It is nice to have company and I wanted to run Flint Hills, which is creepy at night.

We made it to the trailhead, I snapped my usual “before” picture and headed out. After a mile, I decided I had over-dressed and needed a drink of water.

I planned to do 2.5 or 3 and then turn around. I stopped at 2 miles because something had caught my eye. Off to my right, up the hill was a bunch of really neat rock walls. I have never gone off-trail before. I have never stopped during a run before. But I felt like I really wanted to check out those rocks! I was pointing and telling Steven, “Look at those! I want to see those!” He probably thought I was nuts since I have never stopped before. But he was game and climbed up the hills with me. Suddenly, I was glad that I was wearing long tights and long sleeves. There wasn’t a path or anything, so I picked my way through thorn bushes and spider webs.

We crossed under a fallen tree and made it to the rock walls. The walls were not really “walls” in the sense that they weren’t man-made walls. At some point, it seemed like something had cut through the rocks to make a path. Either for a narrow path maybe? Railway? Early Settlers? I have no idea. But when we explored, we saw that the rock walls actually were more like a tunnel that had sections missing.

It was very dark, so my pictures are not great. I will definitely go back in the daylight with my boys.

By this time, I had turned my headlamp on because there was no visibility. Flint Hills has a thick canopy overhead and is not at all forgiving at sunset. Other trails you might be able to get away with moonlight. At Flint, there is only darkness.


I set off for another half mile and turned around at 2.5 miles. On the way back, I took of my shirt and tied it around my waist. There were lots of scary sounds happening around us. At one point, I could hear an animal running in the woods on my right side. Steven asked if I could hear it, and when I said I had, he asked if I wanted to go check it out. I was like, oh hell no! What was he thinking?? You never check out the sound. You get the hell out of there!

We made it back to the car and while I was tired, I was so happy that I took the extra time to do some climbing and exploring. I need to do that more often!

Update: Just got a note on Instagram that the picture of me on top of the rocks is being used on the Flint Hills website. How cool!

4 thoughts on “Going off-trail for once

  1. Gareth says:

    Nice discovery! Sometimes it’s good to forget about times and distances and just enjoy being there. You’ve gone through some tough times and can still appreciate the happiness you can find in the most unexpected places. You’ll be just fine I reckon:)


    • customgrind says:

      I think taking a little time for myself on the trails will be a good thing, for sure. I need to stop being so competitive and slow down sometimes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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