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Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Can't escape the smoke
From the Humbug Contour Road's customary vista point, you can barely make out the mountains north of town, including Stonewall Mountain, because of smoke from the approximately 12,000-acre Park/Arrastra Creek fire (they've combined into one fire now). We're told they will be burning — hot at times, not at others — until the snow flies, probably in a few weeks.
Here is the same view from less than two months ago, and a few weeks before the fires started in a dry-lightning storm on an otherwise lovely Friday evening:
It was a nice morning other than the light smoke, which this route took me above for the most part. It was in the mid-40s when I started and into the 60s when I finished.
Yesterday was the historic eclipse day, about 91% total hereabouts. My attempts to photograph it with my camera were unsuccessful, but here's a selfie my friend Becky shot with the eclipsed sun behind us:
Smoke depending, I'll get back into a running routine henceforward.
5; 5; 30.5; 391
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Back on the Humbug with little smoke
The usual vista point on the Humbug Contour Road, shot only to show how the smoke is just hanging at the north side of the valley today. The air where I ran was actually pretty darn clear.
The sky and view at the turnaround point demonstrates that the air this far (six miles or so south) from the fires was almost pristine today. Felt good chugging a little farther up the trail than I did the last few times with Swi.
About halfway up, in the vicinity of the crack I attributed to our earthquake a few weeks ago, and for a fair distance, I saw tracks like these that I am unable to identify. They probably are some kind of deer or sheep, but they seemed basically round instead of narrow and cloven. About 2 inches in diameter. I was thinking bighorns maybe, but they, too, appear to have deer-like cloven hooves like those of deer or elk.
5.5; 5.5; 25.5; 386
Sunday, August 13, 2017
South from Stemple
A photo by friend Swi on the Continental Divide Trail south from Stemple Pass southeast of Lincoln. We went up there to check the water cache for through hikers (left 15 or 16 gallons for them), then went up the CDT the other way to the high ridges between Stemple and the Granite Butte Lookout. It's a steep bugger, I figure something over 900 feet of elevation gain in two pieces totaling about 1.5 miles. I was sucking wind bad at the top of each big up, one about 500 and the other 400.
It was a warm day, exacerbated by the fairly extreme aerobic work.
This is Swi chugging up the first major steep stretch, just off the pass.
Here's Bert catching his breath near the top. Fun and strenuous run.
5; 20; 20; 380.5
Wednesday, August 09, 2017
Out of the smoke
We returned to the Humbug Contour Road, earlier in the morning, and repeated the last couple of visits there. Today, Swi dragged me into a slightly faster pace so that I got to my usual 11-to-12-minute milepost at Disappearing Creek in about 10 minutes! I slowed a bit and let Bert go ahead with the agreement that we'd turn around at 30 minutes.
The above is looking uphill from my turnaround spot, which is farther than it has been but not as far as Swi's. I'd guess he got about half a mile ahead of me, and so ran closer to 6 than to my 5.
This is looking downhill from the same spot.
Fixed a big breakfast of leftovers (old hash browns, a couple of pieces of potato pie and a couple of pork chops we grilled last night, plus eggs. Nice. Lazy day ahead.
5; 15; 15; 375.5
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Over to the Meadow
Today, a little later in the day than usual, I took Bert up to the meadow above where I injured myself last year. This selfie was at our turnaround spot.
Beautiful day; a little warm (70s) as we ran. Saw an eagle and several deer, including a muley.
5; 10; 10; 370.5
Monday, August 07, 2017
Humbug with Bert
On the final stretch, here's Bert going down toward the car on the Humbug Contour Route.
And here's Swi at our turnaround spot with Baldy in the background
It was a chilly morning — in the 40s — thus the long shirts.
Tall man says howdy from the Humbug. Last week we did some power hiking with Swi's friend from Richmond and his brother. 5 miles up the Dearborn and back on a 100-degree day; and a couple of Rogers Pass jaunts with another on Stemple while resupplying the water cache. No thru hikers in more than a week, but the northbounders are reaching southwest Montana now.
Smoke from the fires north of town is visible but not blowing up.
5; 5; 5; 365.5
Monday, July 24, 2017
Long on the Contour Road
From just yesterday to today, this giant puddle (really big, almost blocking the road a week ago) has all but disappeared.
I ran later today because a morning shuttle appointment got postponed to tomorrow. I shot this from one of the vista points toward the fires, and as you can see they've calmed down a bit today. I think it might be because the wind is more or less northerly, which puts the fires in the lee of Stonewall Mountain.
In any case, the smoke reprieve was welcome. Warmer during the later run, however, ranging from 68 to 78 in the 90 minutes or so of shuffling.
Here's the turnaround spot, a faded trail that cuts off the last big switchback before the saddle.
Felt pretty good, considering today's run was something of an afterthought.
7; 7; 82.5; 360.5