Running on ...
HOME OF THE 'TALL MAN'... (And you can see the blog pictures below in much greater detail simply by clicking on them)
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Bored while rehabbing
I've finally got the pain and a persistent fever under control, so I'm on the mend!
I see doc tomorrow so will know more prognosis-wise tomorrow.
Above is the last pic before I fell last week. You can see a game trail above the trees to the right; I followed it for a while, got bored and decided to cut right, down the mountain to the vicinity of my car. Mistake.
You also can see what a nice early spring day it was. 😎
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Out yet again
Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny morning so I tried something new — going south from my usual state land parking place.
Update: Seeing a surgeon Monday afternoon in Great Falls. :-(
I followed an abandoned road zigzagging up a mountain to the giant pasture or meadow I've visited from a different starting point in the past. I then followed a deer trail along the top of the trees, thinking to find a different way back down.
Finally I decided to go straight down, because I was basically straight up from my car. I didn't get far on the steep slope before a hidden muddy spot got me. My right leg flew out, but my left hung in the grass. Full weight came down on the bent leg and something popped. After a couple of futile attempts at standing, I got on the cell phone. Two hours and a mountain rescue via litter later, I was in an ambulance headed to Helena.
Torn quad tendon and surgery now are in store. 🤕
Update: Seeing a surgeon Monday afternoon in Great Falls. :-(
Friday, April 01, 2016
Oh what a beautiful morning ...
So today's route returned to the state land south of the Blackfoot River. Happily (for me) it was chilly — 27 at the outset — so yesterday's thaw was frozen. Judging by the forecast, I'd say the ground will be dry enough after the next couple of days (barring more rain/snow) to run no matter what the temperature.
The top picture is just looking upstream shortly after sunrise; the other is just a 160-degree turn from the same spot to look downstream. Both are from my five-mile-run turnaround spot, near the deer stand I photographed recently.
Other than its beauty, it was an uneventful run. No elk; no unusual birds. I guess the chirruping of robins is a new addition to the soundscape now. Also heard kingfishers, ravens, geese and sandhill cranes.
I suppose in the spirit of the date I should say that I saw mountain lions, moose, grizzlies and wolves.
5; 22; 5; 152
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Into the clouds
It was a wet and gray morning, and as has been the pattern in the past week, it snowed overnight. I ran up the Contour Road today and managed to slog all the way through the north-facing snowbank to the gate and beyond (more pictures below). It was chilly (35 or so) but calm.
Looking out into the valley, some blue sky was in evidence and the sun even came out a time or two along the way.
About a third of the way into the snowbank, I received a phone call from my friend Swi, and I stopped and chatted with him for ten minutes. This photo looking on up the road with Baldy Mountain in the background was taken while we talked.
After talking, I continued the slog and now can say the snowbank is about a mile and a quarter long. The footing was not great — like running in slippery, ankle-deep mashed potatoes. But the payoff was good. From the gate on, I'm pretty sure I could go a couple of miles without fighting the snowbank. I'm sure it'd get deep again once you cross the saddle on the north slope of Baldy.
I was curious whether the Forest Service had closed the upper gate yet, and indeed it had. I think they do it in the winter and spring to protect calving elk from human interruption. At least that's what I've been told. It's OK to go up there, but not in a vehicle.
This is what the road above the gate looked like. I went about half a mile past the gate and this was the turnaround spot. There's snow on it, but not enough to notice.
This, too, was taken at the turnaround spot, but this is looking up the bald flank of Baldy Mountain.
I had intended to sneak in a run while doing a series of eyeball tests yesterday in Great Falls, but the appointments were too close together to do it (unless I wanted to go into the doctor's office a sweaty mess).
7; 17; 103; 147
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Wet and windy
The crossing at Keep Cool Creek looks quite a bit different now from early February, when I was last there. At that time, there was no creek, just snow. Even so, today it could have been called Keep Cold Creek because even though the temp was above freezing (barely), it was gusty and spitting snow and graupel.
I ran almost through the state land along the snowmobile trail east of town. I saw dozens of elk tracks, and they looked fresh. However, I saw no critters.
This is on the state land in the vicinity of my turnaround spot today, looking south into the valley northeast of Lincoln. Most of the snow visible this morning fell overnight. Even more fell the night before, but all of it, at least down in the valley, had melted by evening.
Felt pretty good; tomorrow I'll try to squeeze a Great Falls run in between a series of visits to the eye surgeon, who's doing multiple (about two hours apart) tests aimed at determining whether I am developing glaucoma. (He didn't think so, but wanted to test nonetheless because the other surgeon, doing followups to last September's retina surgery, kept finding slightly elevated eyeball pressure. It's always something.
Standing on the little (and degenerating) Keep Cool bridge, this is the view downstream. Tonight in Great Falls I'll have one of the Scottish ales named for this very creek!
5; 10; 96; 140
Monday, March 28, 2016
High meadow, with wolves
On a whim, I pulled off Herrin Lakes Road just up the hill from its turnoff and ran where the heavy logging activity was going on a month or so ago.
It was startling the morning in early February when I ran into half a dozen logging trucks, some loaded, some preparing to head up this road south of Herrin Lakes Road and west of Stemple Pass Road. They were parked around the intersection, plotting their day. The road up to where they were logging was really torn up, and it was still that way today. In fact, if it hadn't been frozen (28 degrees) this morning, parts of it would have been a quagmire.
Tall man says hello from a newly created clearing that now is home to three massive slash piles, one of which lies straight ahead.
They were in here less than a week, but they logged the hell out of it — "selective" cut (as opposed to a clearcut), but boy did it change the character of the area. it was a place of fairly densely growing ponderosas like these:
These two bruisers, one live and one dead, stood isolated near the trail I was following.
Also following the trail were wolves, sometime in the previous few hours (fresh snow). I'm no tracker, but I made out at least five sets of tracks and I followed them out into the open meadow where the top photo above was taken. You can see them in that top picture. The wolves went straight on out into the meadow, while I turned left at the gate and followed the fenceline a ways.
I saw several bunches of whitetails, but no elk and no wolves.
As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful morning.
This is the area that used to be a nice, park-like P-pine forest. We'll see how it looks later this spring without snow. I counted six big slash piles like the one in the tall-man picture.
This was taken last July in more or less the same area as the previous picture. The big curved tree featured here is gone, as are about 80 percent of the rest of the forest.
I skipped Easter for no particular reason, though I did work during the day on my water-coloring "talent."
5; 5; 91; 135
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Hmmm ... wolf or dog?
For the far mile and a half or so, I was following fresh tracks that had to be either wolf or big dog. I saw no other human tracks anywhere in the 2-inch-deep snow, so either there's a big, free-range dog out there or a wolf. Could be either. Almost to the end, I saw a small group of elk — a big buck and three or four cows. I wonder if they're forming their little harems now? I don't know enough about elk patterns.
Anyway, I repeated the past few days' runs on the state land, mostly because it was snowy and rapidly warming. Judging by the forecast, it may be sloppy tomorrow, so I may go to the Humbug Contour Road which is steep but rockier and thus less muddy.
Beautiful sky contrasting with the bright snow field and trees. This and the next picture of the pond both are maybe half a mile short of my riverside turnaround spot.
This is the same pond where previous pictures showed hoar-frosted grass blades sticking up through ice.
This is what much of today's track looked like — melting, popcorn-like snow.
I felt pretty tired today and ran pretty slowly — partly because footing was a little dicey on the snow. Yesterday I mentioned bluebirds, sandhill cranes and wood ducks. Today I heard and saw the kingfishers, heard the cranes, and, on the creek in front of my house, saw a pair of hooded mergansers, which may even be cooler looking than wood ducks.
This is an Internet picture of a pair of the mergansers (in other words, I didn't go out and try to photograph them). This is, however, exactly what they look like.
5; 21; 86; 130