The run down near Benner Springs on Thursday sounded so enjoyable that Jimmy the Eye chose that location for our run this morning. The morning was again a crisp 17° but instead of a crystal clear sky a persistent glowing haze and contrail tracks muted the sun’s rays a bit.
We parked at the commuter lot at the top of the hill and carefully started down the, now maintained, steep road. I could see the road could easily be icy so we kept a careful pace. When we reached the bottom there were about 4 cars in the parking area but no one was around. Jimmy joked that because the gates were open and the hours allowed they were probably taking advantage of the visiting hours at the fish hatchery.
We chose to run on the trail the whole way to the no trespassing area. What a difference a couple of days made on this trail, there were tracks of all kinds! The first thing we noticed were something like sled tracks in and out. Sadly, with a trail of blood drops, we pieced together that it was a carcass of an animal that had been shot and dragged out by hunters. A gut pile, somewhat off trail, soon confirmed that.
What is sad and gross to some made for an amazing morning buffet for others! Jimmy was actually able to determine the location of the pile well before we reached it because it had drawn the attention of crows, ravens and 2 bald eagles! Pace calculator be damned, I stopped and took photos of these beauties!
Deer tracks were now all along the trail as well as what looked like bobcat and a bear! I saw them on the way out, made Jimmy the Eye come back as we jogged back and forth and I showed him again and again the super large pads along the trail. On the way back I stopped for a photo of one of the best with my hand for scale. Such an awesome print in the snow, leathery pad wrinkles and all.
Even the shoulders going up the hill had a lot more signed of animal life. I saw a lot of deer tracks and again some very large cat-like tracks. They were all welcome distractions and my lead legs took their time. A car needed to pass us and we went single file to make room, Jimmy the Eye took the lead. Zoom! Up that hill he went and I can’t blame him, why prolong it when you can open up your stride.
Back at the car we stretched out and looked at our photos. We were both so pleased to have back tracked to get them and share them on this blog.