Pitch black and cold. Rain and fall weather. I spent a big part of the night finishing a book that I started reading few days ago. (Me before you by Jojo Moyes) A sad story that I felt I had to finish before I switched off the lights. I wiped my tears and went to bed around 1.30. A nice, warm story but so sad. Heartbreaking.
My alarm went off around 5.30 and I considered ignoring it until I felt a punch in my left side. I usually wake up before the alarm, not today. I slowly walked towards the closet and got dressed. As always I got my clothes ready last night. One of my few good habits. Trying to find the right clothes early in the morning will usually end up in disaster. I would probably end up wearing a purple cocktail dress and trail shoes. My closet is extremely unorganized. Stuff disappears in there and it’s always crowded. It is overflowing with dry fit, polyester, race t-shirts and dresses. I even changed batteries in my good headlight last night. I could barely see a thing when I ran the other morning and I thought it was something wrong with my eyes.
It’s been a long week and it felt like I just fell asleep. I woke up a couple of times during the night because I heard the rain but remember thinking it will probably pass until the morning. I checked the news online had a cup of coffee and breakfast and drove to the first meeting spot. I also checked the weather but realized later that I must have missed the most important part. It said 90% chance of rain, it could be worse. I didn’t see anything about wind. Alone in a dark parking lot, no cars and no traffic. I packed up some extra clothes, a banana, and water and waited for my ride.
A familiar car shows up and we take off. It’s always a little bit quiet the first minutes, we are both tired I guess. I remember the first times we met, it feels like years ago. My friends’ dog always got a bit anxious when I got into the car. She is all quiet now, she looks up and blinks at me. We follow the road on the side of the lake and it is still dark. When we get closer to the mountain it feels like it gets even darker and it starts raining again.
The parking lot is dark and it always feels a bit uncomfortable or uneasy this early in the morning. It’s another car there and that person turns off its lights when we park. It is so dark we can see small squirrel eyes out there. We stay in the car for couple of minutes, waiting for our other friend. The lonely mountain is dark and covered with high trees that has been there for hundreds of years. Big pine trees, ferns, leaves, rocks, creeks and almost quiet animals. The only sign of humans is the warning signs. Black and white signs about bears and cougars. Comforting.
We snapped our headlights on and tiptoed away on narrow paths. A little up and down, mostly up. The super dog knew the way and stayed up front leading the way as usual. The trails were covered with yellow leaves hiding the rocks and roots. It was difficult to see today, the wet leaves covered up everything. Every step felt like a surprise and my ankles got a good work out from twisting around in the mud. My shoes were filled with water and mud after a few minutes. We run by very fresh animal droppings, large and steaming.
About 45 minutes into our run we heard something we thought were gunshots. We all looked around trying to figure out the direction of the sound. It happens quite often when we are out running early mornings that we hear shots far away and it always feels uncomfortable. I am happy I wore bright pink, very visible.
The wind picks up in just a few minutes. The trees makes noises and we hear cracks around us. And then suddenly, about 25 yards ahead of us a few trees start to fall. Big trees, crazy wind, dark sky and we all froze for two seconds. J screams for the dog that is right by the trees and the super dog stays by our side. I suddenly felt my heart beating so fast I could feel it in my ears. We started to look around, trees are moving and cracking everywhere. We decide to go for it, sprint back. I don’t think we have ever run this fast our eyes pointed up. We don’t trust the trees. We flew up and down the trail for 30 minutes. And we got to the car and listened again. We heard strange noises around us, a loud rumble from the mountains. And we started to talk. We always have our death talks when we run in the dark. We talk about horrible accidents, deaths and crazy things. So this is how it feels when the world ends, the Armageddon. And someone starts talking about earthquake insurance.
We almost made it back to my car in Redmond when a big branch fell from the sky and hit the car roof. And the heart jumps again. We look out over the lake and see double rainbows and the water looks yellow like a hurricane is about to hit.
I get into my car and drive home. After taking a shower, eating and napping I realize what is going on around us. The bridge is closed, there are trees down everywhere and lots of houses don’t have power. It is not the end of the word but a huge storm.
Photos: Johanna Brekkan