Saturday, April 04, 2015

Because it is a Lovely Day to be in the Woods

That is reason enough for running.

Today's run was on the same route as last weeks, but done in reverse:
Jay Cooke 18 miler
A week ago our feet stayed dry, though as the day got warmer the top layer of soil softened and mud and slick footing became an issue. 

Today... well, wet feet were inevitable and mud was present in many areas. 

Temperatures were similar on both runs - upper 20's to low 30's F to start, warming to the low 40's by finish. Both days were breezy. But a week of temperatures above freezing has allowed even more frost to leave the ground. Last week the ground was frozen with just a thin layer of thawed soil on top; today it was much softer. There is still ice in many of the creeks and on some of the puddles, especially on the Spruce Trail (upper right hand side of the map). 

Normally I don't run into anyone once I am a mile or two from park headquarters. Not true any longer! We even found a large group out at High Trail overlook (a gentle 2 mile hike from Hwy 23). Stopped and chatted with a gentleman out enjoying the views on the Upper Lake Trail. While standing there a Golden-crowned Kinglet landed nearby and gave us all the opportunity to admire him/her. 

These last two long runs I have not been in much of a hurry, rather preferring to enjoy a beautiful spring day in the woods. Fortunately my running companions have been of a similar frame of mind! Last week we ran clockwise and finished in about 4 hours. This week we ran counter clockwise and it took about 12 minutes longer. Some of that could be accounted for by less use of the stop button on my gps but we also spent time clearing downed limbs and small trees from the trail today (reminders of the high winds on Thursday). 

Scenes from today's run:
Apparently the critters found this sign at the juncture of the East and West Bear Chase Trails tasty
Sapsicles found alongside the Spruce Trail
Pileated woodpecker's handiwork on the High Trail. We saw one and heard another while running.
St. Louis River - looking upstream from Lower Lake Trail
This section of the Lower Lake Trail was lost during the 2012 flood. The soil looks pretty unstable so I am guessing that if they rebuild it will need to be set back a few dozen feet to ensure long term stability.
St. Louis River and Oldenburg Point from Lower Lake Trail
Snazzy new bridge on the Silver Creek Trail
 The previous bridge was also lost during the 2012 flood. In order to cross this creek for the past 2.5 years you had two choices: wade through (at times water was up to my knees) or cross on a fallen tree.
From a winter run a couple of years ago
There were some pretty funny moments using the tree to cross.

The new bridge was brought to you courtesy of:

This loop has a total elevation gain of about 1,800 feet. It comes as steep, short hills - and lots of them. Perfect training for the local ultras.

Oh... it's official. I am registered for the Superior 100 (aka Sawtooth).