Last Sunday, August 19th, we Fishtown Beer Runners crawled out of bed at an abnormally early hour, packed our water bottles, snacks, and bug sprays with toxins enough to rid the state of West Nile, and loaded into our carpools to set off on a grand forest adventure—the 2nd annual trail run through Wissahickon Park. Wissahickon means “the catfish stream,” and, while no one I know of had the opportunity to noodle any fish for part of our post-trail picnic, it was refreshing to take a break from our usual pavement pounding to absorb the wonders of nature.

Once we acquired our picnic tables, we set off on a 4-mile loop around the park. Running the steep and curving trails, you felt like you could be one of the last of the Mohicans, lacking only buckskin chaps (suggested dress code for next year?). Though, luckily, those of us without frontier orienteering skills could rely on the trailmarkers kindly set up by Erin Broadhurst and Todd Euston. That and the calls alerting obstacles up ahead both major and minor–Bike! Bridge! Stump! Child!—helped us make it through.

Whether we took the ominous-sounding Forbidden Road or turned around before the river, everyone returned unscathed. And good thing, since one wouldn’t want to miss our spectacular potluck spread (we probably made the neighboring restaurant diners jealous).

Justin Relkin’s insane brownies, like a hyperactive toddler’s art project, were a delicious, sugary treat, and a boon for the under-caffeinated among us. Tim Patton also helped revive us with tasty keg of wet-hopped pale ale. Thanks for keeping the beer runner’s spirit alive before 11am!

This run was also occasion to mark all the August birthdays. Happy birthday to Donna, Loren, Kristen, and David and everyone else born within a few month radius! I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate. And, best of all, we could return home, having conquered the wilderness and eaten an entire smorgasbord (at least I did)—all by early Sunday afternoon.

–Jessica Clegg