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Black Mountain

Posted on August 25 2009

Is hard. Very, very hard.

But the view from the top is indescribable, it’s more than the view in a sense. It’s the whole aura around you. The stillness, the silence, just the sheer vastness of the place.

Running-wise it wasn’t one of my best, but not because of my legs or my lungs. 800 meters into the run I was already sick of my camelpak bouncing up and down so I tried to tighten the center strap in an attempt to make it stop bouncing. Unfortunately the strap came off and now it was even looser. So I went from a slight bounce to a continuous juggling. I tried many things to stop it; holding the straps, but that looked stupid and was tiring, wearing the backpack on my chest which made me look even stupider. Using my shirt as a strap to hold it tighter which just cut off my breathing and gave me cramps. So basically if it weren’t for the backpack I wouldn’t have had to stop as many times as I did.

The uphill, more like uphell. The first 4 miles started off steep then turned to a gradual climb that wasn’t too painful. The last one and a half miles though, now that’s another story. Steep hill after steep hill, the sun beating down on my back, the end no where near. It wasn’t pleasant. The view just kept getting better and better which made the wait even more unbearable. I finally got over the last crest and found myself in the middle of the most beautiful sight ever. I couldn’t find the little plaque that said “Black Mountain” at first so I went on some small trail and found a beautiful view and place to sit. Then I went to the other side of the hill and looked for the plaque there, no luck. After laying out under the dark blue sky for a while I admitted defeat and started to head back down, but two minutes into the descent I had an urge to go back and find that damn piece of metal, and urges are to be listened to. So i turned around and after some stupidity on my part, and an extra mile of running around looking for it, I found it, on the rock that I was sitting on before…

On most runs the downhill is nothing to write about. Boring, long, makes your feet burn. This one had two of those qualities, and neither of them were boring. Making up for all the time I lost on the way up I charged down the mountain, since the word hill really doesn’t do it justice. Faster and faster, skipping over roots, taking the switchbacks as tight as possible, and singing along to my music. The camelpak stopped bothering me, my burning feet went unnoticed, and my pace just got faster and faster. This was the best run I’ve had in a while, and definitely the best I’ll have for a long time.

The most amazing thing about Black Mountain is that it’s for runners. “Cool kids” can’t drive up there just for the view and place for a drink, hikers would take five hours to make the trip, and bikers have to take the easy way since bicycles aren’t allowed on the Black Mountain trail. Priya’s will always be ruined by some people, and so will Hunter’s, even the Vista point in Rancho has it’s bad days, but this view, this view is special.

Black Mountain is a perfect metaphor for our endeavor to Fresno. The uphill will be killer, it will seem impossible for us, we will want to stop and give up. But we will keep going, harder and harder, no matter how hard it may be. And if we can get over that last hill…

The world will be at our feet.

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Have you ever seen a view this beautiful?

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Listening to the wind rustling through these was the most relaxing sound i’ve ever heard.

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The cause of my pains, yet this thing was full when I started the run…

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Is the no bikers sign really necessary? I doubt they can even make it up this far.

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Just the sound of it is scary.

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The elusive marker.

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Black Mountain: conquered. My legs: dead.

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This may seem like a pointless picture, but seriously where else do you get such a blue sky? New York? No way. San Fransico? Not in a million years. Sadly not even in LA do you get blue blue skies like this.

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I had to.

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Yes my sock tan is horrible, but I’m proud of it.

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It doesn’t beat GO2, but Pepsi will have to do.

Finally here is a panorama picture I took from the top of Black Mountain. (Click on the image to get the full picture)

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I’ll be back Black Mountain, that, I can promise.

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