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HOME OF THE 'TALL MAN'... (And you can see the blog pictures below in much greater detail simply by clicking on them)
Sunday, April 19, 2015
The other Lincoln
So here's the new Valentino's Pizza, which I must say was a disappointment. It was such a Lincoln (Nebraska) institution and now it's just another corner pizza joint.
Today's route took me from my sister's house south and east to the University of Nebraska east campus. My Moseman grandparents lived there for many years – actually my whole life before I moved to Montana.
The picture above is a beautiful lilac garden next to the campus's library. I wandered fairly aimlessly, marveling at how the campus has grown.
It used to be called the 'ag campus,' but now it's the East Campus, still a decidedly agricultural bent, but law and dentistry, among other disciplines, are there.
The picture below is one of many rows of greenhouses on the campus.
Finally, this is a newly renovated area that used to be a dark grove where, I was once told, my dad proposed to my mom more than 70 years ago. I recognized the old well.
It was raining the whole time, about 52 degrees. Very pleasant, but I had to dodge puddles and worms.
5; 26; 72; 274
Friday, April 17, 2015
Yet another route
When I was looking at Google Earth the other day, I noticed yet another trail west from Sucker Creek Road, this one closer to the mountains but eventually winding up back at the same old pothole marsh and big meadow as several other runs I've made in the past week or so. This one took me across what I believe is Liverpool Creek without benefit of a bridge or culvert. There was a spot narrow enough to hop over just downstream from the road.
The route was fairly unspectacular, past a couple of marshes and minor side trails before hooking up with the aforementioned track I've been running. It took me again to the pothole marsh that I've photographed multiple times now. Couldn't resist today, though it seemed to be in deeper shadow.
It was colder today, 23 degrees when I started and about 27 when I finished. I was in the sun much of the time though so got a little warm. I saw what I thought might have been a pile of moose scat, but now that I've read a bit about it, I guess it was from a horse, though I saw no signs of horses on the trail or around it. Moose scat, it turns out, is similar to elk scat, but a little bigger and generally lighter in color with more vegetable matter in it. I'm sure I've seen it around too — I just figured it was older elk scat. Now I'll know to look more closely. (Fun running facts!).
Skipping tomorrow while traveling; probably will resume on Sunday. I'm eliminating the tenths of miles on my log at the end of each post. It was useful to me when I was just resuming and adding 1 or 2 tenths on each run, measured by vehicle. Now that I'm out on trails, I'll round 'em off based on my known speed (or lack of it) of running. If you've wondered what the numbers are and missed an earlier explanation, they are, in order, the distances from: this day; this week; this month; and this year.
4; 21; 67; 269
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Up and away
Today I returned to the mountains south of Herrin Lake Road (the Blackfoot lies north of the road and I run there a lot), last visited the day after my birthday. From a fair way up the road, I turned for a nice view to the north of Red Mountain (not visible from Lincoln because the Stonewall complex blocks the view from the valley). Instead of taking the left turn a mile or so up and getting onto the ridge that overlooks the little valley where the Unabomber's shack used to sit, I stayed on the main track that goes around the ridge and into the deep woods south and west of the ridge.
This is in fact a vast forested area that stretches as much as 30 or more miles to the south before any paved roads, probably 20 or more to the east to the Continental Divide, and maybe 50 or more to the west. There are some dirt roads and quite a few logging roads, but otherwise it's practically a de facto wilderness. There are creeks, but few lakes other than potholes. The road I ran on today goes many miles south and west, with really nothing back there but woods and probably some cattle grazing. No houses, but there are a few abandoned mines. I look forward to exploring some of it in the coming months/years.
This is what the road ahead (south) looked like near where I turned around (I was already out three miles or so and didn't want to overdo it yet). The highest point I reached today was about 5,500, and I started around 4,700 so the vertical was plentiful.
This is a view to the west toward Dalton Mountain, which as it happens is the first Lincoln-area mountain daughter Nora climbed, 20 years ago (she was 7). She climbed Tiger Butte south of Great Falls with me a few times at earlier ages.
Anyway, it was cold today — 23 when I started — but clear as a bell.
6; 17; 63; 265.3
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
High road in light snow
So today I took the left fork in the road, as I said yesterday that I would, and it did, indeed head up the canyon. There are a couple of options once you get up there; today I opted for the road most traveled, which happened to go up the side of the mountain. Inasmuch as I was already more than 2 miles into the run, I didn't pursue it too far, but I went far enough to get this view of the road I'd come up, as well as this higher view:
This is the meadow that I ran around yesterday. Something in it was making a weird screeching noise as I came by it today, but all I saw was a few geese and sandhill cranes. I'll have to take a look at Google Earth and see how far this road goes. I love running up high, so it has definite potential.
Yesterday was weird. It was 45 degrees and sunny when I ran, then the temperature dropped 15 degrees and it snowed pretty much all afternoon. Not a lot stuck, but it prevented work on my deck. Today, it was still about 30 degrees and spitting snow, but it was perfect for running. And it looks as if snow was falling hard in the higher elevations. That would be good because snowpack has fallen below normal thanks to the relatively dry months of February and March.
This is the marshy pothole my route today and yesterday passed. The difference isn't that dramatic, except for the color of the sky.
I'll have two more days of mountain running around this Lincoln before I fly to the other Lincoln in my life, in Nebraska, for a visit. I will try to keep the posts coming via my phone and the blogger app, but it'll be typing on a phone, so I expect the posts will be much shorter until the end of the month. I actually have a number of routes I love to run there, including a couple around university campuses and one in Lincoln's Wilderness Park, where I happened to participate in the park's inaugural hike back in 1972 (for the math-impaired, that's 43 years ago!)
6; 11; 57; 259.3
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Today I again drove a mile or so up Sucker Creek Road and took a westward trail (I've been going east from the main road). I was rewarded with yet another complex of trails into new country. This scenic pothole marsh was about a mile from my turnaround spot. Near there was a well-traveled alternative route that, from the bottom, appeared to head into a canyon in the Stonewall foothills. I will check that out tomorrow, I think.
I came across one small (20 or so) grouping of elk while driving on the main road. They moved off to the east, and among the group was a large, well-antlered buck.
I didn't even try to photograph them, but then I came into a second, slightly larger group about half a mile into my run. They're in this picture. I didn't notice any big bucks, but I did see a few smaller critters that I'd guess are yearlings. They were grazing peacefully as I approached, then unhurriedly moved off down the hill when I got to them. Nice.
I took a trail about halfway around this meadow to a posted gate beyond which lay a few items of haying equipment. I'm not sure to which farmstead it belongs; I passed only one, and it was near the beginning of the run. Most of the land I was on appears to be managed by the Nature Conservancy. It's open for camping, firewood gathering (with permits), etc., but I didn't see much water besides the potholes and a few small springs.
This old loading chute was near the gate where I turned around today. It was a beautiful day, sunny and temps in the 40s. I was overdressed. I'll pay more attention to that going forward.
5; 5; 51; 253.3
Sunday, April 12, 2015
What a difference a day makes
Discerning viewers of this log will recognize the scene above as identical to one in yesterday's post, except for the addition of about two inches of snow. That's what greeted me today — that and a 30 mph wind. I didn't see any scenes that could adequately show in a still photo that I ran today in a fairly constant ground blizzard. It snowed a little while I was out, but most of the snow flying around — and filling my footprints almost as soon as I passed — was the result of that wind.
Fortunately, it was relatively warm (about 30) so it wasn't too unpleasant, and it was pretty.
I duplicated yesterday's run exactly, and felt good. Had it not snowed, I might have gone farther.
This culvert crossing occurs within half a mile of my starting point on the west end of the snowmobile/ATV trail. I lose track of which creeks all these laced tributaries serve. I know some of them out on the lower trail are part of Keep Cool Creek, but this one runs near Sucker Creek Road, so it could be that. Anyway, it's kind of nice.
Didn't see any critters on today's run, except for the "slow elk" clustered in a thicket near the road on my way out (below).
I'll go to Great Falls late today for an early morning dental appointment (to fix the tooth I broke a long time ago), but I probably won't leave until the result of the Masters golf tournament is settled. This year's version of it has been more interesting than usual, and I've been spending more time than I should watching it.
4; 33; 46; 248.3
Saturday, April 11, 2015
From the other end
Today I drove a little farther up Sucker Creek Road and ran on what turned out to be the other end of the trail I've been taking from an area several miles east of Lincoln. As I suspected, this one runs parallel to the lower trail past pothole ponds and a big aspen grove. This is a view through the trees from what I'll now call the upper trail, to the flatlands and pastures where the lower trail runs. Moments before I shot this, I saw three elk in almost the same spot just below me, but they'd moved into the trees by the time I fished out the phone.
This is a pretty nice trail, and I think I could make a fairly long and not-too-hilly loop out of it. I could park just about anywhere and go one direction on the lower trail, run up the road half a mile or so and go back on the upper trail. Based on some of the runs that almost made it to the other end, I'd guess the loop would be in the 7-8 mile range.
Saw many white tail deer today. They seem to be bunching up, while the elk seem to be breaking into smaller groups. I really don't know anything about these critters' behaviors, but that's what it seems like right now. My neighbor says when the deer bunch up it means there are predators (cat, wolf or bear) in the neighborhood. Beats me.
Running "in the woods" around here these days usually means running through areas of this: trees killed by the pine bark beetles. They're not quite as starkly ugly as when the trees are in the act of dying. That's when their needles turn reddish brown. And I think they're not quite as much of an explosive fire hazard once they get to this stage of dead (less volatile sap in 'em).
Nice day, breezy, overcast and a temperature in the low 40s. I got a new cord of split firewood yesterday, so I'll do more splitting and stacking today before settling in to watch the Masters golf tournament.
4; 29; 42; 244.3