Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Assassins

I arrived at Lake Frank 45 minutes before dusk. I decided to kill time before my run and wandered from the car to read a yellow warning sign nailed to a tree. In short the sign indicated that marksmen descended into the park each evening from sunset to sunrise to cull the ever-present deer population. I glanced at my watch again and decided I'd be best to start this run sooner than later. Sunset was a comin'. 

As always, the run around the lake and her neighboring trails was pleasant and it was nice to run in the "heat" of the day. In actuality, Maryland is going through a freak warm spell and highs on Wednesday hovered around 67 degrees. Despite the threat of sharpshooters, the deer population was quite abundant. Throughout the park they bounded, white tail high in the air, away from me as I made my way along creeks and through thickets. I spent almost a mile running around a grass track tucked deep within the woods before realizing I'd better start making my way back to the car. The time was 5:25 and sunset was scheduled for 5:30. 

A few minutes later, while negotiating a trail alongside a babbling brook, I noticed lantern-like lights bobbing about over the ridge line to my right. It reminded me of the opening scene of "E.T." when government men, gripping flashlights, swarmed through the woods looking for aliens and their mysterious ship. Were they hunters? Soon thereafter, deer thundered down the valley with the utmost haste. I picked up the pace with the goal of getting out of range, but realized it was becoming harder and harder to see the ground in front of me. Climbing the ridge towards the setting sun, I soon found a meadow lit by a waxing moon. From here the journey back to the car was only a mile and a half through dark, tunnel-like trails so I squeaked out every last step I could through these fields that post-sunset light permitted. Sooner than layer, it was time to beat feat back to car. The trail was hard to see at times, but my thoughts were on the riflemen.They were always on the riflemen. All is fair on the run.

On Thursday I got in 8 with Karl and Jimmy, but that story isn't as exciting.

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