Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Day in This Blessed Life

Sometimes, one has to focus on how full the glass is. Ours is not half full; it's at least 90% full. Like many, I'm wired to obsess about the last 10%: where is the Girl going to do residency? Will it be far away from the kids in La Crosse? What will I do? Can I find a job?

But the 90%... Honestly, we are living the dream right now.

Today, I woke up a little after 8. The Girl had alreadt left to take Christian to school. I work tonight, so she let me sleep in.

I had the whole morning to enjoy a long run in the woods. We live a few blocks off Main St, which leads up to Granddad Bluff. You can see it in the distance, hovering over the city.

The road that leads up there, Bliss Road, has washed out several times, but this time it seems like they have put in some really strong supports. It's a great cycling hill, but today was about running. One of the trailheads to the Hixon Forest trails sits at the first turn coming up Bliss Road. Not many people use that trailhead. This is the bottom of Bliss Road:

Hixon Forest and the surrounding Nature Conservancy serve one purpose: giving people accest to beautiful scenery and trails. There are no logging roads; there is no entry fee. It's just there for people to enjoy. From almost anywhere in La Crosse, one can see the bluffs. They are mostly empty of any buildings, so they sit like a huge green bulge that spans the entire length of the city. Another way of looking at it is that La Crosse is a long, slim town squeezed in between the Mississippi and the Bluffs. Did I mention that I like Hixon Forest, the Nature Conservancy and the bluffs?

The trails are mostly singletrack. Running in Hixon and beyond typically looks like this: the trail follows the hillside, going into a couleee. There is often an option of a lower trail that hugs the hillside at the bottom of the coulee and a steeper trail that leads up to the next bluff. This is looking from one trail over to the other side of the coulee:

15 minutes of hard running later, I'm on top of one of the bluffs. They all have names, and I regret that I don't know them all. Look at this view of the city, the river, Minnesota on the other side, and even Iowa in the distance. The bluff in the picture is Granddad Bluff.

This is looking north, to the next big bluff.

An hour later, taking the long way there, I am on that very bluff. The view to the south still holds Granddad Bluff, the river, the city etc.

Hixon and the Conservancy (and the so-called Human Powered Trails) have an untold amount of trails. I have probably run most of them at one point, but it would be very difficult to run them all in, say, a week. A few years ago, this trail was open to bikes, but not any more. The trails are expanding and the scope of their use changes with time.

Then it's back down to town to pick up El Guapo. The Girl has an hour or so left of exercise, and the Y care is closing. It's about a mile from the trails to the YMCA. I pass Weigent Park, which in my mind is the epicenter of desirable location in La Crosse. In this picture, one can see the free tennis courts, some of the playground, the big lawn and the nice victorian houses lining the park.
This is "the castle on Cass St", which was just sold.

It had been on the market for an eternity for about $1 million. It sits a kitty corner across from Weigent Park. I wonder if the new owner will make it into a bed and breakfast. It's a few blocks from downtown.

At the YMCA, I am met by this. Yes, the glass is full.

And jogging home, with a body full of endorphins, I look up. And there they are: the bluffs, the woods, the trails, waiting for our next adventure up there


DDitlev said...

:D What a great post!

sea legs girl said...

So glad you caught Giaple sticking out his tongue and smiling. That IS his modus operandi.

SteveQ said...

Every picture of El Guapo is vastly different from the one before it, but he's starting to look like his parents now.

I'm craving some hilltops in the wilderness myself, right now. I've been to Granddad Bluff, but never run there.

Olga said...

Wow, a reminder of you as such a romantic...I almost forgot that's why I started to read your blog in a first place:)