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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wet trails

Years ago when living in the Rattlesnake area of Missoula, my friend Hal commented every spring: "If you could bottle that smell, it'd be worth a million bucks." The smell to which he referred was the aroma that surrounded Rattlesnake Creek, especially in the vicinity of Greenough Park and below to the Clark Fork, in early spring. There were many components to the aroma, including wet leaves, flowing water and neighboring flowering trees and bushes. But the most important component was the sticky stuff that coated cottonwood leaf buds just before they emerged.

I mention that today, because the smell around Keep Cool Creek at this crossing east of Lincoln was the very same, and these cottonwood trees (and their neighbors) are the reason. The whole effect was compounded by the third of an inch of rain we got overnight. The rain was, in fact, the reason for my choice of routes today, the snowmobile/ATV trail system that radiates from the parking area a few miles east of town (much of the trail is rocky or at least bare, so I wouldn't be soaking my feet by running in wet grasses).

It was a nice morning, temp in the high 40s and no rain, although it was slightly threatening.

This is what aviators would call a "low ceiling." The clouds shrouded all the mountains around the valley, but were not on the valley floor like they were yesterday.

I ran out 2.5 miles, well onto the sliver of state land that I entered from the other direction on Sunday.

I disturbed a solitary bull elk, causing him to wander uphill into the trees on the outbound leg of my run, then encountering him again coming back. He stood and watched me from a distance, on the downhill side in the relatively open areas. I watched him while trotting for more than 5 minutes, until he finally galloped off into the trees along the downstream side of Keep Cool.

I also saw this little hillock full of holes. It's kind of rocky, and there were no fewer than five entries to the hill. If I had to guess who lives there, I'd say a marmot family. I'll keep an eye on it as I go by over time.

5; 17.5; 119; 432
Posted by Mose, 8:42 AM


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