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Sunday, May 31, 2015
Long run at altitude
I waited today until after 8 a.m. to head out, hoping the fog would lift. I went up Moon Drive (Black Mountain west of Lincoln) to just quarter of a mile or so short of a locked gate (I parked at a turnout, not knowing the gate was just ahead), and didn't have to go far up to get above the fog, which remained down in the valley until 9:30 or 10. The picture below was taken from a higher spot about an hour after the picture above, and the fog is still hovering but lifting.
I encountered a couple of guileless mule deer a short way into the run. They just stood and looked at me as I passed about 10 feet from them. I'm sure if I'd stopped or fished out the phone for a picture, they'd have left.
This trail started exactly 5 miles off the highway, 4.5 miles from the Moon Drive turnoff. I drove past the spot where I've been running a couple of times before, and the road went higher — exactly 2 miles past the previous spot's turnoff. Another 0.2 of a mile or so would have taken me to the gate.
Anyway, I stayed on what appeared to be the main road and it took me a good 4 miles from the car, with almost 800 feet of vertical. The car was parked at 5,600-odd feet, and the high spot about 3.5 miles distant was just over 6,400 feet.
At the end of four miles was this nondescript spot: the end of the road.
It's an overstatement to say the road was covered in scat, but there was a lot — most of it identifiable as the product of elk and deer.
The weather was beautiful. Started out in the 40s, but was 65 by the time I finished almost two hours later. I'll probably return to this area, though I've exhausted most of the evident road exploration. I did see some more beargrass blooms today, probably around the 5,200-foot level.
Aside from a variety of small birds, including some camp robbers that accompanied me down for more than a mile, I spotted a couple of blue grouse, including this fellow who fluttered up into a tree just 10 feet or so from me. I stopped and watched him for a moment, including identifying the red wattle or crest on his head, before shooting this picture. If you're looking at this on a computer, I'd recommend clicking on the picture, then clicking it again to zoom it up. The bird is just left of and a bit above the middle of the frame.
9; 33; 134.5; 447.5
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