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 01, 2015
It was exactly three weeks ago today that I blundered my way up the mountains that some wanted to make into a lake as they extracted some gold from the rocks that comprise it. It was not a "good" run in the sense that snow clogged many of the roads, and that led to two problems: 1) the footing was erratic, sometimes not firm enough to hold even my size 13s; and 2) it made the roads hard to follow, which caused more than the usual amount of wandering up dead ends and into bad situations.
Today, figuring that the snow would be just about gone, I tried it again. Good decision. It was clear, if steep, sailing all the way to the top. The shot above is looking west from near the top, essentially looking down (instead of across like I usually do) the Blackfoot Valley toward Lincoln, which is about five or six miles away.
In exploring a bit around the top, including a northerly circumnavigation on this road (that's Silver King Mountain in the distance), I still managed to get onto some snow on the north side and into a messy logged area on the east side, but mostly the roads were easy to follow and clear.
The vertical of this run was a couple of hundred feet more than my birthday run, and about the same (800 feet) as last Tuesday's run up the mountain overlooking the site of the Unabomber's land. I think if I do this or similar runs a couple of more times, interspersed with my normal rambles, I'll be ready to try the Continental Divide again. The snow up there should be about gone by now, except for one stretch about halfway to the ridge that's on a protected north slope.
The weather was again full of squalls, as this view — much different than my usual — of Stonewall Mountain from the east shows. The temp was high 20s and low 30s, but it was very windy. I had to put up my hood because the ragwool stocking cap didn't do enough to keep my bald pate warm. I'll call today's six miles (down from 6.5 last time up there because I did less wandering).
6; 11.5; 6; 208.3
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Meandering in the trees
Went back to the Herrin Lake area today after taking Monday off, and I went half an hour earlier than usual in hopes of catching the brilliant sky. It didn't happen today, at all (just a hint of pink before it got boring). This is just after sunrise, looking across the valley at (what else?) Stonewall Mountain.
I picked my way north and west into the deep draw where the heavy logging has been going on. I thought I might be able to find a new access point to the Blackfoot River.
Once down there, I wandered up and down what amounted to a logging road, looking for egress toward the river, but not finding it.
As you can see, though, I did find lots of elk tracks in what had been mud a few days ago.
I'll have to go back to Google Earth and see if I can figure out that convoluted area — it shouldn't be that difficult.
I did find plenty of open spaces once I got back to the area I've been running in for the past few weeks, including this spot where the tall man greeted the dawn.
As I wrapped up the run and got back to the car, Herrin Lake itself was looking rather scenic.
Just for contrast, here's what the lake looked like from close to the same spot three weeks ago. Spring comes on fast hereabouts!
Today the lake had three kinds of ducks and two kinds of geese on it, honking and quacking like crazy, but they were at the other end, so the reflective quality at the west end was ... picturesque.
I think tomorrow I'll go back to a snowmobile/ATV trail so that I can actually run. Today I ran where I could — probably 75 percent of the time — and there were plenty of hills to navigate, but the going was slow in the logged area because of all the limbs, stumps and even patches of ice.
5.5; 5.5; 123.3; 202.3
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Went to the Herrin Lake area again this morning and poked around some more in the vicinity of the mouth of Poorman Creek. There was a spectacular orange and purple sky as I drove to the spot, but it already had faded by the time I got onto the hilltops. I guess I'll have to start about 20 minutes earlier (almost in the dark) in order to catch these breath-taking skies. Here the first rays of sun hit the hills west of Dalton Mountain Road.
An area along the way that I thought was just a snow cache turns out to be a pond and marsh, and today there were sandhill cranes in it. I was even closer, judging by the sound, than yesterday, but again I couldn't see them (heavy woods around the pond).
Birds are out in force and great variety. Today I saw juncos, robins, magpies, Canada geese, snow geese, crows, redwing blackbirds, meadowlarks and probably a few others. The whitetails seem to be running in larger groups now, too. About 20 of them were in the field just south of the Poorman mouth, and about 20 more were in a field just east of Stemple Pass Road near the sheriff's office.
Nice morning, low 30s and no wind, which was welcome after yesterday's gale-force winds. No trees down, thankfully.
4.5; 31.2; 117.8; 196.8
Saturday, March 28, 2015
This is looking west at the very start of today's run, probably 10 minutes before dawn. The rain squall and winds weren't upon me when I started — or as I ran a couple of miles eastward — but they hit with a vengeance right about when I turned around to return to the car. As a result, I was bucking a 20-30 mph headwind, rain and a temperature drop of almost 10 degrees (to 29 or 30) all the way back.
This was the view from my garage this morning as I prepared to drive out for a run. Stonewall Mountain, which has been featured in quite a few pictures on this blog in the past month or so, rises to a peak just to the left of this frame. There is a staffed lookout tower on the peak (summer only).
Toward the east end of my run, in a stand of mature aspen and cottonwoods, I got really close to the sandhill cranes, but I couldn't see them. Louder than ever, and by the sound probably no more than 50 feet away, but they must have been hunkered down a bit.
Looking at Google Earth, I think my turnaround point wasn't far from the trail I ran (from the other end) yesterday. In a few weeks I may push farther east and see if I can make a loop out of this run. If I do, it'll be a bit long (7 or 8 miles).
One more picture below, just of one of the many little tributaries that braid this area. Not sure if it's part of Keep Cool, Sucker or Spring creek. They're all out there.
4.2; 26.7; 113.3; 192.3
Friday, March 27, 2015
Same spot, longer run
Not raining today, so I went back to the same trail as yesterday and just ran farther. This is looking downstream from the little footbridge over Keep Cool Creek.
Fifteen or 20 minutes before sunrise, I came into the elk herd again. That's probably why the road is closed to motorized traffic: elk calving season. The wildlife managers like to keep folks on ATVs and motorcycles away from the elk when they're doing that.
Elk are amazing. There were about 100 of them just standing around, 100 yards or so from me. As I approached they moved — walked, really — off to the north, into the trees. I ran to where they were — a matter of 20 seconds or so — and they were nowhere to be seen. It was as if they'd faded into the scenery. It wasn't even a dense forest, just scattered pines and sage. But they were gone.
I went on up the trail to where I saw the wolves last week, and a little beyond, turning around at a culvert.
The return trip was about as uneventful as it could be. I mentioned being cookish yesterday. I made matzah bread (pictured here, interesting but more trouble and mess than it was worth), roasted Brussels sprouts and a casserole that I'll bake today. Also have it in mind to make some cookies today.
5; 22.5; 109.1; 188.1
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Almost rained out
I wasn't prepared for how hard it was raining out east of town, where I chose to plod today. I wore my usual overshirt, which unfortunately is not waterproof. As a result, I cut the run short because I was getting cold (wet) — the temperature was in the mid-30s.
This is where I turned around, approximately where I saw the big buck elk and his girls last week (and half a mile or so short of where I saw the wolves). Looks a little different in the rain with what sailors would call a "close" sky.
Today I'm feeling a little of what I like to call "cookish," which means I might spend more than the average amount of time this afternoon fixing up something good to eat today (and into the weekend, depending on what I fix). Those of you who live alone know that it's sometimes hard to get motivated to do anything elaborate in the kitchen. I don't want to waste my cookishness today.
I note that yesterday I went over 100 miles for the month of March, which, truth be told, surprises even me. I resumed running in early January (yes, it was part of a resolution) after almost two years off.
According to the archives of this blog, my last real run had been to the Continental Divide on July 2, 2013, and by that date — six months into the year — my annual total was only 138 miles. It's just March and already I'm at 183.1 for this year. It's been a very long time since that happened. In 2012 I basically didn't run, and 2011 logged just 200 miles before my right foot went to hell on me. I had major reconstructive surgery on it in December of that year, which explains the dearth of running in '12.
Continuing my stroll through history, it appears that the last time I really was running was 2010, when I reached 660 miles by the end of September, when I stopped because of a bunch of travel and work issues. I guess what I'm concluding is that I've run farther since January than I ran, total, from October 2010 through December 2014 — more than four years, 1.5 of which I was still working at the Tribune.
Sorry about this digression, but I was curious about the true duration of my "hiatus." And what is a running log if not a log of my running activity?
2; 17.5; 104.1; 183.1
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Exploring by the river
I'll post a few moderately redundant pictures below; this is the only new thing from today's run: I wandered upstream once I got to the Blackfoot River and this is the mouth of Poorman Creek, which meanders down from near Stemple Pass to this spot. It seems small, considering the area it drains. I wonder if much is drawn off for irrigation, etc., above. Or possibly there are other channels. I know my Spring Creek, Keep Cool and Sucker all are braided out on the flatlands before they hit the Blackfoot.
Anyway, that's where I went today, back to the Blackfoot from Herrin Lake Road. I explored a few side trails today, including one that led more gently through some of the steep draws.
Saw plenty of sign of elk, and heard sandhill cranes (maybe just one ... hard to say), but saw no critters other than small birds. The meadowlarks are out in force, by the way.
There had been a dusting of snow overnight, but the morning was crisp and beautiful — right at 32 degrees. I think I'll make pancakes for breakfast.
5; 15.5; 102.1; 181.1
Here's today's sunrise, as always over Baldy Mountain.
This is coming up to the highest point on this run. If I remember next time I'll get an altimeter reading. I'm pretty sure it's less than 200 feet above the river, which would certainly be the low point. I'll check.
This was the view north across the Lincoln Valley this morning. I liked the coloring in some of the clouds. This was maybe 15 minutes before sunrise. The higher mountains north of the valley looked as if they'd gotten a decent amount of new snow, which is good.