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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mount Helena!

The "stray thunder showers" forecast for last evening turned into more than half an inch of heavy rain and almost three hours of good thunder. Beautiful. However, it meant the trails around here would be a mess, so I went to Helena to do a little shopping (mostly a weed whacker) and to run up Mount Helena. This view is looking generally east over the top of Helena.

I did it nonstop, with little difficulty, I'm happy to report. I went up on the north side and a more direct (i.e. steep) route to the top, and a more indirect and very rocky route back down. In the past I've called this run about 7 miles, sometimes longer, but looking at the map, I think it might be closer to 4 total. Nevertheless, there's an 1,100 elevation gain in less than 2 miles, so it's an aerobic workout either way. I was happy with my time to the top (32 minutes), but I don't remember (and couldn't find a reference to it in my archives) if that's good or bad by my standard. I guess getting up there trotting nonstop is good no matter what the time.

Also, it was warm (mid-70s) and mostly sunny, and I forgot to bring my sweat towel along so I was a salty, sweaty mess by the time I got back down.

This is looking more toward the north from the peak. I've never seen so many people on the mountain (roughly noon hour on a Wednesday). No one else was running, although I had a nice chat with a fellow who appeared to be about my age on the peak. He departed the parking lot probably 10 minutes before I did while I adjusted by clothing and loaded my water into my pack, etc. He was using walking poles and had a heavily wrapped knee, and I passed him about five minutes short of the peak (although I don't think we took the exact same routes — the mountain is crisscrossed by trails and I think he was on an even more direct route than I). He said he blew out his knee (ACL) on the trail sometime in the past, but he was back at it.

I got back to the parking lot about the same distance ahead of him (10 minutes), but I hung out there for a bit to cool down and eat a chicken stromboli I'd bought beforehand at Park Avenue Bakery.

Earlier, I went by a woman, also similar age, on the back side (west) of the peak attempting to photograph a bird. I apologized for interrupting her, and wasn't sure whether she wanted me to pass. I hesitated, then heard a pretty birdsong. Turned out she had some kind of device (not a phone) actually playing the birdsong. I saw her at the bottom a little later and asked if she found what she was looking for, and she answered that she didn't find that but that she did find two other kinds that were better and rarer.

Because of the aerobics, I'm still going to call it:

7; 17; 49.5; 497
Posted by Mose, 1:55 PM


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