our last trek went from martin road, through hartley and on to chester creek, where we ditched out on east sixth street. we did our previous 7.1ish miles in the rain and when we finally emerged on arrowhead less than midway through, my shoes were caked with mud and my braids were ratty and i just overall felt like a fugitive from a maximum security women's prison. then charles turned to me and said something i'll never forget. he said "haha. you look like a hippie." about two weeks later, i still have dirt under my toenails. i tried to scrub it out, got bored, and instead opted to just paint my nails bright red until the dirt eventually flecks out on its own accord.
yesterday we plopped back into the wilderness where we left off. our route went from this spot, to the rose garden, along the lakewalk, behind the DECC, over the pedestrian bridge arching I35 and then a zig-zag uphill to twin ponds -- where we'd ditched a car near one bikini'd hood rat and a horizontal couple mashing their pudgy bodies together within plain view of the parking lot. [when we returned to twin ponds at the end of our hike we will also find young people swimming and a suspicious mustached man in a trench coat leaning against something and watching them.]
i am enamored with chester creek. i love the idea that you can be seeped in wilderness, turning your crannies into a tick farm, and fantasizing about your yet-unrealized black lab named jake, and just above you -- at street level -- people are plugging their thoraxes with emperial chicken from burrito union.
on the other hand, i also liked that this segment of our trip was more of an urban prowl. where, when i had to pee, i could use a comparatively posh stall in the fitger's complex, rather than answering natures call in nature. a situation where distractions took the form of contemplating a speedy weinie from a man in a little cart in leif erickson park and/or a corndog from a vendor in canal park. in other words, a scenario where we're pulled off the beaten path by things that don't look as much like this:
*deer head stuck in a tree. photo taken by chuck, but dear head not planted satanically by chuck.
we were near the hotels when a chubby little roller blading novice tried to impale herself on the boardwalk. arms flailing, she stopped the suicide mission long enough to say in that garbled, lispy, uneducated way in which elementary students talk:
"the skateboarding crew is here again!"
down by the pier were about 100 people cheering on dozens of skateboarders who were finding creative ways to carom off the steps to the lighthouse. we approached at about the same time as a short security woman dressed in the adrogynous uniform of all security guards regardless of bust-size. the skaters saw her coming and quickly tried to get their final ollies and 360s and whatever the hell it is that skateboarders do before she officially kicked them off the premises.
she didn't say anything. she marched to the skaters' pivot point and stood there with her arms crossed in front of her. a skater whizzed past her undaunted, and attempted his trick. she expanded her wing span. another skater zipped toward her and she dodged left like she was going to give him a hug. he bailed before the act of intimacy was consumated.
a skater with a megaphone instructed the crowd to head to their next skating spot, the plaza, and a long line of people filed off the pier and wound around on the lake walk.
"skateboarders are people, too!" a kid on a bike said to the security guard.
"well they sure don't act like it," she said.
"hey, dakota," another skater said to one of the younger skaters. a kid resembling the youngest member of the band hanson. "go stand next to THE MAN. let me take your picture with THE MAN."
the kid on the bike told us that it was national skateboarding day and that this group was going from venue to venue to bring skater awareness and to demonstrate to duluth its need for a skate park.
[later, in front of the library, another friend told me that when the police showed up to kick the skateboarders off the property, a young kid pouted "we've been waiting 20 years for a skate park." to which his mom answered "honey, you're only six." or something like that. i like to think that kid was the aforementioned dakota.]
whatever. i love watching skateboarders. [insert tirade about loving and hating bam margera here]
the wilderness aspect of the hike was at about a 90 degree incline. moving up hill always brings out my dormant inner runner. when i run, which i don't, but if i did, i would prefer going uphill to flats or down hills. so i spent about an hour fantacizing about running, which is what i do instead of running. i also fantacize about owning a dog instead of getting one and being a sexy hitchhiker with a blown tire on her jeep wrangler instead of actually taking to the road in a wife beater and short-shorts. whatever. you have your bgtc, i'll have mine.
hours later, my muscles lapped up all the fluid i had sloshing around in various parts of my body. which was, essentially, busch lite from a carefully executed $5 beer night in which i once again beat the pioneer by consuming more than five dollars worth. when i woke, i had a belly-full of gas station burrito and my brain felt like it had been laid in the sun and dried to kippered jerkey.