Spider Stick!

Today I am going to share with you some helpful tips for trail running in late July and August. The first tip is this: Carry a spider stick.

This is a spider stick. Do not be fooled by the apparent absence of cobwebs. It is wound up like cotton candy.

The spider stick is meant to clear the trail ahead of you as you run. It is marginally effective. Your hat, your hydration pack bite stem, your gatorade bottle valve, and your entire exposed skin will be plastered with spiderwebs and their helpless bits of insect. But you can tell yourself how much worse if you were not carrying your spider stick.

The women who took these pics thought the butterfly hitchhiking on my hat was really cool. So did I until I took off my hat and realized it was stuck there. Big stories around the mudpuddle tonight, I bet.
Tip two: Carry a spider stick. You can entertain yourself as you run. What is the best spider clearance technique? (Answer: It doesn't really matter.) Is it "whisking the giant invisible egg"? Or the "timid schoolmaster's caning"? The "drum majorette"? Or the "Hogwarts figure eight"? What spell would you use to erase a spiderweb? What is the Latin word for spider? The Greek is arachnid, what is the Latin? Is that question seriously going to be stuck in my head for two hours while I run around the woods waving a stick? (Answer: Yes.)

Tip three: Carry a spider stick. If you round a corner and approaching you at a distance of twenty feet is a skunk, you can, after a moment of initial startle, use your spider stick to tap loudly against a tree. The skunk will be disconcerted and will toddle directly back down the middle of the trail. You can then follow slowly at a safe distance, whacking trees with your stick to confuse the skunk, until the skunk has enough of this bizarre harassment and vanishes into the woods. Do not be impatient. You are on the skunk's time.

Tip four: Carry a spider stick. If you are on a remote, deserted, overgrown trail, and you did not happen to think before you got on the trail, "My, if I trip and hurt myself today, no one will find me until I am bleached bones," but instead think this when you are six miles into a ten mile run, which takes your attention briefly off your path so that you immediately slot your toes under the lip of a rock, consequently flailing fully airborne, possibly toward a long fall into the lake, then staging a spectacularly improbable still-running recovery, you can say proudly, "Good thing I didn't fall on this stick and put my eye out."

The trail
Finally, tip five: Carry a spider stick. When you have completed your run with no trail scrapes or bruises, no badges of your trail toughness, and are walking out at the trailhead, you can use it to scrape the gluey remnants of spider silk from your person, administering to yourself the nasty scratch that your run itself did not succeed in delivering.

Doesn't look so bad here, does it? Bled pretty good.
Gah. Also, check out my dirt gaiters:

In sum: Spider stick! Enjoy the heights of summer, y'all.

Today's Tune:
Ladies and gentlemen, The Vapors!