Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bunnies, bikers, planes and hills at Stillwell

Low flying craft over the Field of Dreams
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.75 miles

It was off to Stillwell Woods for me this morning. I had a great time there a few weeks ago with SIOR and wanted a shady route a this sunny day. I managed to get my gear in gear and hit the trail before 8:00 AM. Conditions were cool (70°) and felt even cooler in the canopied woods.

My one negative about Stillwell Woods is that some mountain bikers ride aggressively without regard to what may be around the bend. I've had my share of encounters, near misses and resentful riders who acted like the bikers owned the trail. Today was different. There were numerous bikers and everyone was careful and respectful for my safety.

Also in abundance today were cottontail bunnies. I stopped counting after ten. Some of them were as big as raccoons. There was a lot of stuff to look at besides the fauna, including a group of glider enthusiasts who had assembled in the center of the big field. These gliders have wingspans of 10' or more and they look huge as they float above you while you run.

I took a couple of detours off my normal loop, one of which put me in front of a very steep climb. I managed it well, and I'll give much credit to my Brooks Cascadias for getting me over that hill. My detours took me through some rough winding paths that had so many sharp edged rocks it felt like I was running over a herd of stegosauruses. That's one of the reasons I love Stillwell. If you want scenic, hard packed trails, there are plenty to choose from. If you want extremely technical terrain, be careful what you wish for.

Forty feet to the top
The Emerging Runner family Skyped with Adventure Girl later in the day. She and a friend had spent their afternoon running trails up a 6,000 foot mountain outside Missoula, Montana. Adventure Girl got bitten twice by a dog during that run.  As wild as that all sounds, it was just a typical Sunday for her. My run up a 40 foot rock covered hill at Stillwell can't compare with that, but in the moment it felt like a mountain.

I'm glad I got away from the neighborhood for today's run and it felt good to be challenged with some difficult terrain. If the summer is as hot as it's supposed to be, I think I'll be spending a lot of weekends in those woods.

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