Ok, so I went into this one dreading it a bit, remembering my previous long and somewhat remote trail run experience in the Ouachita's of SE Oklahoma. This is rattlesnake and copperhead territory...and I hate snakes ...more than Indiana Jones. Last time I was here I went out too fast, pushed hard trying to make good time, fighting every rock, root and hill and ended up lost and completely defeated at 18 miles. This one was to be a 4 hour run per coach Eric. It started off on a bad note. Tried to go out Saturday at 6:30 am. It had been a moderate rain for several hours. Jumped outta the jeep and bid my husband goodbye and started down the slippery rocks. Couldn't see with my glasses on, so put them in my pack. Even worse with them off. Rocks were blurry and I felt the panic set in. "I can't do this for 4 hours", "I won't be able to see the snakes", "I'm going to break a #@$!ing ankle, "I hate you Eric". Those motivational phrases became a loud roar at about a mile in and I freaked out and ran strait back to the highway and called 'ole Todd back in. Now I was REALLY dreading another attempt. I emailed Eric hoping he would say, "you poor thing, just go run some dirt roads and you can hit the trails (in some other nicer/easier location) next week". Nope. His response to my sheepish query, "should I try again..or (enter suggestions of dirt roads, going somewhere else next weekend...)? "Yes, try again in the morning or (get this!...) you could run later today/night if you have your headlamp". Seriously?! You think I'm going to go out there in the #@$ing DARK?! Thanks for planting that 'lil seed Eric, I know this means I will have to go out there in the dark all too soon..dammit. Ok, so I pulled my big girl panties on Sunday morning and headed out again. First mile was really rocky and narrow and jungle-like. Had to fight every instinct to go back to the car fearing the unknown ahead. It was hard to see where my feet were stepping that first mile. After about 2 miles the trail opened up a bit and I was able to relax more. Now this was more like it! Hit some low grass about 6 miles in with just a 6-8 inch barely visible trail. The beauty around me was AWESOME! could see the mountain tops around my shrouded in early morning clouds. The cold wet grass hitting my lower legs felt great. Didn't really notice how much uphill climbing I had been doing. Felt so good taht I decided I would jump onto and over the huge log in front of me. Big mistake. Slick log + slick shoes = face plant! Lesson learned. I've never run switchbacks before. Got pretty tickled at myself. I'd hit the end of one and wonder, "where'd the trail go?". I'd finally look over my shoulder and see it zig zag up. I'm such a goob! Made it to the top, then weeeeee the roller coaster ride down! Turned around two hours in and made the trek back. Legs got a little jello-y when, BAM! Toe stumped a big rock and planted my R knee and shoulder in the dirt. Pretty sure that toenail's a gonner. They say it's not a trail run unless you kiss the dirt and leave some skin. Did both, at least a couple of times! Must...pick...feet..up was my mantra the last few miles. Hit the creek at the end of the trail....ahhhhh...best ice bath in the world! So glad to have a positive trail experience under my belt.