I haven’t run the same route yet. Mostly, this is intentional. I have to think about a number of factors. In town, I want people in town to know me. I greet them, and they recognize me. I know which streets the sheep go down and which streets the cows go down. As soon as I cross the pastures to the feet of the mountains (about 5 minutes out, if that) I don’t want people to expect me. Also, I’m still looking for a path wide enough to escape from the remarkable thorns.
I have tried to run the same route twice, and unintentionally found myself somewhere else. I like a short path on a ledge that looks down on the village. It smells like apricots. This area of Kazakhstan is one giant orchard. Every living thing that’s not an animal is sprouting fruit all over the place. Except the thorn bushes. I run along that path for 1K or so, then it turns off into a cemetery. Below the cemetery is a fallow vineyard and a bit beyond it is an enormous scary ghost gas-station-type-thing which I avoid. The water never runs the same route, either. Here, in the mountains, everything is complicated by the water. There are few creeks that are always creeks, and few dry paths that are always dry paths. Few bridges always link two shores together, and most rocks travel a bit each day; sometimes, you just have to find a different way home.
Today, I ran a bit south to see if I could catch one of my favorite trails from a different angle. As it turns out, there is only one crossing for the river that separates the pastures and the city. I had to find a new way. As I was coming home again, the neighbor’s cow was mooing and banging her head against the gate, wanting to be let in again. She doesn’t like being out to pasture and often tries to follow people or to go home. Today, she was limping heavily (there was a lot of broken glass on our street) and I wished I could help her. There’s a pretty strict rule against messing with other people’s livestock, though, and I couldn’t imagine what would happen after I pulled the glass out of her foot and found myself with a bleeding cow on my hands.