Oregon - Washington - Running WILD without Reese Witherspoon on the Bridge of the Gods

"Run facing traffic, so you can see the one that kills you." That's what the toll booth operator said to me when I paid my 50 cents for a pedestrian crossing on the Bridge of the Gods.

Cheryl Strayed wrote and Reese Witherspoon said that "you can quit at any time." For Cheryl that is meant to relieve the pressure, but for me it adds to the pressure. There is no prize given for finishing. It is just a matter of do you still want to do it enough to actually do it and will the world let that happen. And so after a 4:30 a.m. EST alarm, a cross-country flight, multiple coffees, a vegan lunch and a great 4-mile RT hike from Eagle Creek to Punchbowl Falls, and with just an hour of daylight remaining, I set out running from the trailhead towards and onto the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. A stream rushed peacefully along beside me as ran. I paused and looked into a pool at the Salmon Hatchery to see thousands of youngsters awaiting their opportunity to frolic in the Columbia River. The air was fresh and everything was green and flowers were blooming and a feeling of dusk was settling over the trail - great running conditions. I thought "count this as fun and mark one more off the to-do list."

Oh, at least until I ran through a swarm of bugs and swallowed about six - with several more making their way into my mouth but actively refusing to travel any farther into my alimentary canal - or to leave, despite hacking & coughing on my part. Then I ran another 300 yards and a small snake sat in the trail & smiled at me. No real danger other than the extra adrenaline I produced. Then, in another half mile, a caution sign appeared, telling the story of a rock slide that had closed the trail ahead - yet advising me to "proceed with caution". That I did. Then I ran comfortably back in my zone until I reached the toll both operator. But I was wearing a reflective vest & knew this bridge and these adventure-friendly drivers intended me no harm. So I ran facing traffic, and with traffic, heading from side-to-side for the fantastic evening views of the majestic Columbia River, and then I finished dead center in the middle of the road for a photo under the Bridge of the Gods sign. Pretty wild, right?
Oregon stream along the trail

Columbia River from the Bridge of the Gods
 Running across the Bridge of the Gods
Proceed with Caution - Oregon - Washington

#CARPe Crazy Ass Running Plan