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November 9, 2014

The Last Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking the forecast mid-morning on Saturday, two things became clear.  A high temperature around 50F and sunny skies meant it was going to be a nice day.  Starting Sunday, however, winter was going to make a full appearance, beginning with rain but quickly turning to snow.  By mid-week, with luck, we’d drop below 0F at night---twice actually.  After Sunday, no day showed a predicted high above freezing.  Days and nights were going to be cold and clear, snowy, or cold and snowy.

Being mid-November, Saturday would probably be my last chance of the season to jog outside in nice weather.  I enjoy long runs outdoors and, while I tolerate running on a treadmill very well, it’s not the same.  I took no time to decide to go for a jog, my 3.5 mile route, just around sunset.  Though not as pastoral as my favorite, the 2.3 mile route, with the nice weather I wanted a longer run.  I’d still get a view of the Swan Range, and the 3.5 mile route does pass through a pretty stretch of forest. 

With the temperature outside at 40 F as I left the house, I had on a warm set of clothes.  The one “California Native” preference I do have is I’ll take running when the temperature is over 100 F over when the temperature is under 32 F anytime.  Still, with it dry and clear, I could jog without any rain or snow clothing, just a whole bunch of polyester. 

Jogging up my driveway, I get a good view of my pond and the aspen that ring it.  The bare trees, as well as the low angle of the sun, make it seem much bleaker than it would otherwise be.  It’s only gotten cold enough on a couple of nights to form a skim of ice on Silly Lake, but given the forecast for the coming week, the pond will probably freeze and stay that way until March or April.

At the top of my driveway, I turn south on Boy Scout.   The jogging I’ve done the past few years, and particularly this season, means I move easily down the road.  With this, I do simply enjoy the run.

Boy Scout Road is about 40 feet higher than my pond and the water table, and I am running through lodgepole, tamarack, and even a few ponderosa pines.  There are a couple of solitary aspen, but that is it. 

As I jog through about half a mile of thick forest, ravens fly across my sight.  It always strikes me that these birds suffer from their adaptability and large numbers.  They are as stunning as bald eagles, at least to my eye, and yet nobody seems to notice.

It doesn’t take long to make it to my turnaround point, the bridge over Deer Creek.  The creek is full from the recent rain we’ve had, but I don’t linger to enjoy this.  I’ll be running the last three quarters of a mile just at sunset----I will get to see alpenglow on the Swan Range---but I’ll also just make it down my driveway before it gets dark. 

Right before I break out of the forest and start running through the cleared fields with views of the  mountains, a medium sized doe stares at me for an inordinately long period of time without moving.  Particularly given that I’m running, that’s a bit of a surprise.  Still, it eventually runs off.

As I hoped, the red from the sun just before it drops below the horizon illuminates the snow on the Swans.   When I first break into clearings, the western faces of the peaks are entirely lit up.  By the time I get to the top of my driveway, the sun is striking only the summits.

One of the things I haven’t done, but should, since I’ve moved in, is have the driveway graded.  That, along with the freeze thaw cycling that’s now occurring, means rocks on which I could easily twist an ankle are everywhere.  Particularly on the steep part of the driveway, I am glad that it is light enough for me to focus on my footing.  Turning onto the shallower slope, I again wonder how much longer I’ll see water and lily pads as Silly Lake’s surface. 

I finish the run with a ceremonial tap of the back of my truck.  I have no watch to stop---this run was purely for fun rather than a time trial of any sort.  I step inside before I cool off.  A pretty good way to end the autumn, if I do say so myself.

   
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