Last night, Martini and I decided to meet up for a five-miler. Our usual park run is a five-minute drive for me and a five-minute run for him. The park is also on my way home from work.
As I passed the entrance at 5:30 p.m., a park ranger had the road completely blocked off. Occasionally, a "road closed" sign will be up when there is a heavy rain making it impossible for cars to ford the stream that runs through the park, but parking areas and the running path are still open. However, this time, there was no way in whatsoever.
This was troubling.
An hour later, when I was heading back down to the park, I figured the road had to be open. Not so. The park ranger still had it blocked. I decided to park at a nearby bar that is on Martini's route. Instead of meeting at the park, I decided to start running toward his apartment to join him and we'd see about this park closing.
I was certain that it was a mass murderer whom the rangers had cordoned in the woods. I was equally certain that rangers would swarm us as we ran toward them, mistaking us for their quarry. The park ranger flicked out a cigarette on the pavement as we approached. He lit his flashlight as did Martini.
Good evening, we all said.
Park closed? we asked.
Yeah, there's a resource management retreat going on, he said. The whole park is shut down tonight.
He directed us to another park, the Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath, which was still open. We thanked the ranger and turned around toward the Towpath to run.
Resource management retreat? It had to be code. Perhaps it was time to thin the herd. We surmised that they were humanely shooting deer. People were complaining that there was too much nature in the park. Or maybe they were just acting out The Park Is Mine.
At any rate, our five-mile run turned into a 50-minute run on the poorly marked Towpath.
[Drunkard note: Take a driving tour of Sand Run.]