As I described in a post earlier, I started running to gain physical strength and boost my self-confidence. But not any more. I run because I love the activity. It gives me the kick; the kick that Mathematics gave Erdos, the kick an abuser gets from his weed. And that’s why I run, even in extreme conditions. I run without seeing the hour of the day. I ran when it was pitch dark and when other runners wore their reflective safety jackets. (must get one for me too). I ran in extreme weather, in rain and wind, also when it was snowing. Even when there was no crazy gora/gori runner in sight for the whole two-and-a-half kilometer long trail. I have run till I got a blister on my foot. I have swallowed an insect while running and still ran back home. But today was different.

For most of the past week, the temperature hardly went above zero. White layers of snow and ice had accumulated on trees, rooftops and cars. There was only one colour outside – white. So when yesterday night’s thunderstorm brought a downpour melting all snow, it was awesome. The temperature soared to 11 degrees above zero (which is “warm” compared to winters here) and I set out to run.

Lake on the way to the trail (cf. anomalous behaviour of water)

The snow had melted partially overnight  so the trail was marshy. But it was good compared with yesterday’s condition, when the whole trail was covered with snow and ice and you couldn’t distinguish the trail path from the  woods. In fact, that was the reason I skipped the trail yesterday and ran to the ‘Happy Hollow Park’ and was delighted to see little kids sledging in snow; but that is another story. So, here I was on the 1.5 miles trail jogging and enjoying the weather. As I came across the bridge, I could see and listen to the water from the molten snow dripping off the bridge.

It was all good until I came upon this layer of ice which I realized was but snow melted into water and frozen back into ice. One wrong slipped foot could bring my bones cracking down. I carefully trudged the ice layer. As I ran further, there were more such layers of black ice and marshy path. Umpteen times I got that mini-heart attack as I slipped on snow. I realized the trail was too risky and decided to follow a different safer path, the footpath (sidewalk) on my way back.

As I was nearing the end of the trail, the sight ahead froze me dead. I don’t really remember whether my life flashed before me, but you do get the idea, don’t you? I saw a huge layer of black ice covered all along the path. Usually when it rains, this part being shallow gets covered with water, but today the water had frozen back into ice. It was a thick blanket of transparent ice laid over the entire path and beyond. Skidding on the ice meant a sure bone-fracture and the way back was no different. It was the devil-and-deep-sea situation. Slowly and cautiously, I stepped on the ice. The friction was near zero so I soon gave up. I tried crawling also but even that was not so feasible. I waited there for a couple of minutes thinking, some of the longest in my life. Going back was not an option. Finally, after summoning some mental strength, I set out for the woods thus by-passing the ice mass. It was a wet mucky lowland and my shoe would sink in but I soon learnt to step on the fallen twigs. I balanced myself over two fallen (chopped) tree trunks as I passed the layer of ice below. Foot by foot, I crawled ahead and after a long struggle, finally made it to the other side! At last, I lived to tell the tale!

The situation was so terrifying that I forgot to take a picture of the ice-path after conquering it!

Even though this little tale of mine might not be so exciting as that of the crazy people’s in this video , its my adventure story and recollecting it gives me that “kick” which makes it all worth!

 

PS: Here is another adventure I had while cycling.

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