After five months of closure, they finally came to an agreement! There is now a free reservation system, and for the first couple of weeks, they are limiting reservations to (I think) 35 every 30 minutes.
I got my first reservation this morning.
I ran up Ruxton (quietly), and got to the base at my exact reservation time. I showed my reservation on my phone, got my wristband, and started my climb.
It was like slipping into an old sweater.
The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon as I headed up the mountain. It was quiet, with a few people well spaced out. A warm breeze blew over the hill. The stairs were the same. I noticed the grip on my trail shoes - and remembered the last time I was on the hill, there was snow.
At step 2000, the sun was enough above the horizon to stream directly onto the hill, and it began to get warm. The breeze kept up, keeping the temperatures tolerable. I passed the false summit, and continued to head up. The breathing was heavy, and my heart rate was a little higher than usual, but I kept the pace I had been at back in March. Not as fast as I was before I broke myself, but good enough for now.
I hit the top (step 2868)and there was just one other person up there with me. I confirmed my proof of life (I text
And then I ran.
It was beautiful and smelled warm and sweet. Down Barr Trail, my old faithful friend.
The gamble oak had grown up, and the trail was rutted from the recent rains. I scared up squirrels, chipmunks and more than one tiny lizard as the temps continued to climb (I know. I still sound like a trail running Snow White, but its clear that the small woodland creatures have taken back their territory during the pandemic.) I contemplated the possibility that my Altra Lone Peak's may be at the end of their lifespan. I tripped several times but managed to stay upright (which is an accomplishment in and of itself.)
I was home.