I've lived most my life here at the base of Mill Mountain, and probably looked at that "scar" (I prefer to call it a beauty mark) up the side the mountain more days that I care to count. There used to be an "incline" (cable car) that took wealthy patrons straight up the mountain to the theater at the top. The incline is gone. Now there is a power line and a 20 yard wide strip of briars and other thick brush left behind.
As a child, I always wanted to explore that incline. Once I became a trail runner the attraction was even stronger. And with the snow on the mountain this winter, it has looked more appealing than ever.
So today I did it.
Getting to the scar involved some skirting around public works and hospital property. But from the road, I was climbing the incline in less than 10 minutes. Staying the middle of the scar was almost impossible due to the briars that wanted to shred my legs and arms and back and stomach and face. I quickly learned that if I were smart (like the deer whose tracks I finally followed to the top), I would get out of the scar and stay in the natural woods to the right.
It only took me about 30 minutes to make the climb. My GPS tells me it was about 0.6 miles of steep climbing. Enough to break a sweat, but not nearly enough to wear me out. I have seen the view from the top many times, but today it was better than ever, knowing I had finally realized a boyhood dream.
From the top I took a series of trails back down, turning a 0.6 mile climb into a nice 4 mile run. The trails around here are still very snow covered. But the 50+ degree temps today made them quite runnable.
Run hard out there...