Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Return to Four Mile Lake, September 21 - 24

Bob and I took off on Monday, September 21, to camp at FourMile Lake, a lovely lake site we camped at last year at about the same time. Then, as now, as most of the cool, once unpopular or undiscovered campsites, FourMile Lake was surprisingingly full. But, enough empty sites to find one without neighbors on both sides, which would change as the week progressed.

Primary attractions for this site include the awesome trail that wraps around the lake, providing a healthy 13 mile trail run, and, of course, the lake! Perfect to explore in our inflatable tandam kayak!

Tuesday morning offered the first opportunity to trek out on that 13 mile trail. Give or take on the mileage.... The GPS readings Bob gets are notoriously short, and this is probably no exception from the reading he got last year..... This time, I would be going solo. Bob was still recovering from his hip/groin injury. I took off around 8 a.m..... early enough to avoid the potential heat of the day, and maybe before other hikers.

I took a map, and if was feeling up to it, Bob had marked off another loop off the main trail, that would bring me past a couple other high lakes, and would add another couple, or so, miles. I figured I would decide whether to go the extra option once I reached that junction ...... When I started out, I stumbled a few times, tripping over and twisting my ankle on the rocky trail of the first section, and I knew I was in for a slow run. The trail really is quite lovely, once the rocky section settles down. A lot of manure avoidance manuevering, for it is a popular horse-riding trail. (Indeed, there were several horse campers, corrals provided.) Not a lot of climbing, but it happens in the first few miles. One high point overlooks the lake, at its most NorthWestern end. I stopped, referenced the map, and waved out to Bob and the doggies, although he later said he didn't see me (duh). I did look at the map quite a bit, both to get familiar with reading a map, and to see where I was. However, in my focus on the trail, I missed the turn-off for the extra loop, for when I looked next, I was way past it. Oh well, I was kinda okay with that. As with last year, I visited the little Clearspring creek, off the main trail. I enjoyed the forested section, running with ease, albeit still slow. The trail follows the PCT for a while. The double slash wounds on trees marked the way in case I ever felt a bit unsure ..... In the middle section of my loop, the trail did not look like it got as much usage..... Okay by me! When I got to the 7 mile  junction, my watch said 1hr, 40mins. Wow, I was running REALLY slow, or was taking a lot of breaks, or the mileage markers noted by Bob's GPS were WAY off. I was also getting kinda tired, and ready to be heading back and be done. I scraped some lemonlime gu into my mouth, deciding it was my latest favorite flavor, and continued on. A couple miles later, I encountered the first hikers. They looked surprised seeing me. They were a young couple, totally decked out with hiking sticks, boots, camping gear in backpacks....(yikes, weren't they hot in those flannel shirts, long pants and wool socks?). Looked like they were just starting out on the PCT for a camping adventure. I waved and ran on. In another mile or so, I heard the distinctive jangle, then Albert bounded towards me along the trail. Yaa! My honey with the poopies greeted me. Bob said he started out about the same time I left, although he was walking. I gave him some of my water, as he was not carrying any. I knew I could make it back without too much more fluid, whereas he would be out longer walking. I walked with him for a while, then he encouraged me to continue on, which I did. From there, I did encounter several more hikers.... Apparently, this back side is the more popular trail to hike. More views and access to the lake. I greeted everyone I passed, everyone seeming surprised to see a runner. Was I that dirty? Dirt on my face? Something stuck in my teeth?  The last few miles are downhill. Yaa.... sort of. Gotta keep on your feet, and be nimble. Finally, the last section of the trail as it introduces hikers into the Wilderness area. I finished in just under 3 hours. Again, no speed records there.... joy is in the journey! I went over to the pump, and pumped. And, pumped. Pumped some more. Got a bit of a flow of water, enough to half fill my bottle and splash my face. I gave up, cuz the thing screeched like I was hurting it. There were other campers in the vacinity. After some quick pretend stretching, reclined on a picnic table, I wandered back to the trail to meet Bob. The rest of the day was spent relaxing around the campsite! Eating, too. And, reading. Then, walking the poopies some more!

The next day, instead of a run, we kayaked! Kayaked to the far end. I pointed out where I thought the high point was, and where I waved. Uh, huh. The water was just slightly ripply. No white caps. The far side was, what, 4 miles? Just a guess. While kayaking, we were excited to see a bald eagle. It swooped over the water, and found a tree on which to perch. No other wildlife sightings....No fish seen in the clear water. Not sure if the fishing folks were catching anything, although they were persistent in trying!

Since I didn't do the longer route on Tuesday, I was getting psyched up to try it on Thursday. However, I knew something was wrong when I looked out of the camper window first thing in the morning, and could look directly at the sun!
Smoke! I thought I smelled something.... Once outside, it was obvious.

No running for me! We couldn't tell where the smoke was coming from.... it completely blanketed the whole lake. Since we didn't know what or where, we decided to get out! Maybe it was coming our way! Maybe it was just a matter of time before we were asked to evacuate! We packed up while sipping our french press coffee, and got out of there. Later, we discovered that the smoke was from the fires that were blazing outside of Roseburg, and accompanied us all the way back to Bend.

Good Samaritan or Dog-Napper?

Yesterday, during a daily walk with the poopies, I lost Albert......or, did I?

We were on the trail, above the house, a route we take almost daily. Once we passed through the gate, and got on the dirt trails, I let Albert and Rupert off-leash, to run free. Sniffing, exploring, chasing each other seems to be one of their great joys in life. They get so excited by the mention of the word "walk". As I am recovering from a cold (or flu?), I was walking instead of running. I didn't even change into my running clothes so I was not even tempted to run.

Rupert and Albert know to come when I call their names. Over the years, with development in the area, this trail has been discovered, and is now popular with other dog-walkers. Since Bob and I have little doggies, we keep an eye on them, within voice command, and often close enough to scoop up, as other off-leash dogs may not know how to respond to these curious, friendly little guys wanting a sniff.

Once off leash, the poopies immediately dash off, sprinting up the road before torn off the path by some enticing smell. It is fun and funny to see them run and pronk like deer as they race around the sagebrush. My pace was slower than usual, since I was not running, and I could see that they got ahead of me as they criss-crossed the road, expecting me to be further along on the trail. When both were out of sight for a few minutes, I started calling their names. Rupert is usually first to pop up on the trail ahead of me, and race back. Albert sometimes takes a few more calls, and can even be behind me, having been caught up in some especially enticing (but naughty) smell. (We have caught him munching on coyote poop.) This is the usual routine for our walks, initially letting the poopies have their fun to run around, but keeping them in contact through voice control.

After walking maybe half a mile, I was along a straight stretch of trial, and didn't see the poopies ahead, nor did I hear the jangle of their collars. I started calling out "Where's Rupert? Where's Albert?". After a few calls, Rupert popped out on the trail up ahead of me. I kept calling for Albert, but didn't see him. I figured he was ahead, so I kept on walking. When I didn't see him after continuing calling, I back-tracked, thinking maybe he went an alternate route, although an unlikely possibility as these doggies are creatures are habit. No Albert. Well, maybe he was further up the road than I expected, so I turned around again, and kept calling. I had Rupert hooked up at this point, and I could see he wanted to help, looking around for his brother/playmate. By now, I was getting nervous....where was he? So unlikely for him not to come running! The sun was sinking. I decided to call Bob. He suggested staying where I last saw Albert, and continue to call for him. I told Bob where I was, and he said he would come out. I turned around again, and headed back down the trail, calling, whistling, snapping my fingers. At the junction I stopped, and saw a figure walking up the trail towards me. It was not Bob, for this person was talking on a cell phone. As she got closer, she ended her call, and upon approach, asked me if I had another doggie. I said "yes", gesturing to my other empty leash.... and she proceeded to tell me about her friend who had picked him up....!! I don't remember the details of how it happened, only that someone had found Albert up there and decided to bring him home. This young lady told me which house it was. I repeated the description; I had to get Albert back! By then Bob was jogging up towards me..... I breathlessly told him that Albert was at someone's house, and gestured to the woman walking away, and what she told me. As we trekked on to the house, we speculated what may have happened. Apparently this woman had come across Albert on her run with her own dog. She must have decided to bring him back to her house. To me this seemed a bit odd. Didn't she hear me calling for Albert? Didn't she think to maybe look up the road for Albert's owner? She must have just taken him and kept on going, for I was never very far away, and certainly within voice calling distance.

Bob got to the house first. A male, who just bicycled up to the house, asked Bob if he was looking for a Boston Terrier. Bob called for Albert when the man opened the door in the garage leading to the back yard. Sure enough, Albert came trotting out. Apparently, the woman dropped off Albert in her back yard, then headed out to continue her run! Hmm....

As Bob and I walked back home, we discussed what had just happened. Was the woman being helpful by picking up Albert and bringing him home? What was she planning to do then? (He does have tags, and has a embedded chip.) Or, did she want to keep this cute, friendly doggie for herself?

I am grateful that this frantic episode for me had a good ending....however, I am not as gracious to the woman who took Albert. If I had found a loose dog up in the trails, I would explore a bit to find the owner. Usually, when I see a dog loose in the trails, the owner is either not far ahead or behind. Why didn't this woman look? I was barely up the trail. Or, was she plugged into a listening device so she couldn't hear me call?  It just seems suspicious that she was so eager to take Albert without further effort on her part. The man at the house did not seem overly helpful nor eager to let Albert go.

Today Bob and I walked the poopies, and did the entire loop, the one I didn't finish yesterday. We let both poopies off leash to let them run and explore freely. We had no misgivings.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Diamond Lake Camping Trip, August 10 - 14

At long last! Our first summer camping trip of the season! Waiting for the skeeters to die down a bit.... Plus, Bend is so nice in the summer, don't really need to go anywhere else!

So, here is our campsite. I brought along my camera, with fully charged batteries, but ended up taking pix with my cell phone! I wanted to take pix of the trails we ran, and my phone is so much smaller and easier to carry. Thought I would figure out how to get those pix onto my computer once back home..... It took a bit of experiementing, plus a desperate email to a techie friend, but I finally got those pix uploaded!

Good thing for digital pictures, cuz I take an extraordinary number of pix of the poopies! the BTs! Rupert and Albert! I love those doggies! But, many of those pix end up never seen by anyone but me, cuz the images don't convey what I was trying to capture....And, really, everyone is nutso about their own doggies, but maybe not about others..... Really, though, aren't those puppies cute?! Bob is pretty cute, too!
The Upper River Rogue Trail! Awsome Possom! I started at the Crater Rim Viewpoint with Rupert, while Bob drove here, at the sign,  parked, and began running up the trail with Albert. I definitely had the better deal, that is, if you like to descend! Bob gave me the keys when we passed, and we continued on our respective ways.... However, Bob did not want to leave me out of the fun, so on Friday, he dropped me off here, so I could experience the joy of the ascent! A climb of 1200 vertical feet!  Actually, I think I felt better after Friday's run, going up, than I did after Tuesday's run, going down!
On both runs, I did stop to take pix... This one is taken just a few hundred yards past the sign above.... Such a treat. The trail starts out nicely maintained. Lots of blowdown from the winter, but Bob had read that this year the trail had been cleared a bit more than last year. Yea, it is a bit clearer than last, but still enough obstacles to make it interesting.... and slow going. That can be a good thing, for then I can truly enjoy the scenery!
The cleared trail! Lots of downed trees! This part is still early in the run/trail.... deep in the run, trees do block the trail. Some serious scrambling. Makes it fun, and honestly, a nice break! See Rupert?! Great training companion! Great athlete! He is the endurance runner, whereas Albert is more of a sprinter...
Trail obstacle! and a hint of my thumb. Over or under?! This is in the woods, nearer the river.....
Water crossing! And, a place for the poopies to soak and get a drink! But, don't stop for long, cuz the skeeters find ya!
Gotta love it! This is what makes this trail so fun! The variety! Never a dull moment.... no chance to get into the zone, cuz you gotta be present, watching every foot fall. Although, random thoughts throughout the journey, like, golly, why aren't there more folks out here enjoying this trail, then the next moment, hey, I love this solitude, and don't want this trail ever to get too popular!
The river! The trail hugs the river for a while.... I am not good at guessing distances, hmm, maybe a mile or two, or perhaps three, four? I break up this run into 3 basic sections: the upper part, along the river, forest to trailhead/sign. It feels different every time, well, at least the 3 times I have run it. Another beautiful aspect of trail running....a new experience every time!
The Falls! Don't remember its name, but can ya see it on the sign there, on the tree? I didn't take the little detour to see the falls up close, cuz this is about halfway through the run, and am a bit tired.... going both ways! Going up, this part is deceiving, for it flattens a bit before the real climb. I take baby steps, trying to keep a quick turnover, but the steep incline, and my heaving breath, slows me to a hike. Plus, lots of debris on the trail make it tough... the twigs, branches, rocks act like rollers beneath my feet!
The waterfall! I think....View of the river from above. Stunning views... whew, that erosion is steep! Rupert kept wanting to chase chipmunks down the bank... I was afraid his momentum would carry him all the way down. Thankfully, he obeys voice command, and would always come back when I called!
More blowdown along the trail. This is the upper part of the trail.... great running, both coming and going! Going - cuz it is early in the run with a clear trail, enough obstacles and serpentines to keep it interesting, all with a gentle descent, and coming the other way its great -  cuz the end is near!
Rupert is happy to be running, too! This was my descent run on Tuesday, for when I came the other way on Friday, I opted not to have doggie company. The doggies are great athletes, but even they deserve some time off.
Friday, Bob dropped me off at the trailhead at Hamaker campground, then drove back to camp to pack up. He drove back to pick me up about 2 and a half hours later! I was finished the run when he arrived....I ran the 9.5 m. trail in 2:16. Not a fast time, nor is it a fast trail....
cuz The JOY is in the JOURNEY!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Running in the High Desert

Summer time running in the high desert! If it hasn't rained in a while, the trails are DUSTY! On Sunday mornings, I run with about 50 others, as part of Trail Running 101, put on by Fleet Street, a local running store. This picture was taken upon my return home from running up at Wanoga Sno-Park, a 6.5 mile run, on Sunday, July 26. Very dusty that day. Not only will your shoes, toenails, legs, shirt get dusty dirty, but eyes, ear crevices, nostrils, even teeth get a bit of that grit! Gotta love it! It is the high desert! Hot and dry!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Granite Pass in the Mohave Desert. Boondocking site. Rough drive to the site, but worth it for its privacy. This was early in our trip, and I was still nursing a cold (or infection) so spent most of the time resting/relaxing/napping, drinking tea, and reading (yaa!). Bob and the poopies explored, both the roads and the rocks! No snakes discovered yet! Not terribly hot either. Just about right! I loved these huge boulders! Like a giant was playing marbles, or was stacking stones!
We spent an uncomfortably windy night at this site in Borrego Springs. A giant hand shook our camper all night long.... would it have been worse to be on the ground on a tent? Yea, probably would have been blown away! At least, our laundry dried quickly that afternoon in the sunny wind. (Darn laundro-mat in town! Dryer ate $1.25 worth of quarters!) Overall, spent a lovely several days in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Folks are passionate about that place! Stellar visitor's center! Neat to read and learn about all these deserts that I have read about but not personally experienced before. (As, a kangaroo rat here can live its entire life without drinking any water! All those adaptions by plants and animals for a place that receives very little rainfall!)

This is our boondocking site in which I received nicely scarred elbows and knees due to that crash course on rock climbing (those 4 points of contacts should have been feet and hands!). Washed my hair in a 10 gallon bucket.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday morning..... a week into our Spring Camping Trip. Sitting in a Starbucks just outside of Indio.... the past couple of nights we boondocked in BLM land off the Painted Canyon Road. Yesterday we explored that slot canyon hike, and I got a crash course on rock climbing! My knees and elbows show the result!
So far, cell phone reception and internet access has been nil! Out of Bend, we headed East, then South.... spending a couple of nights in the Mohave, then another in Joshua Tree National Park. Pictures soon to follow! More news, too! Not sure when we will have internet access again.... Bob is much more into boondocking this year... maybe cuz of all the bad economic news, and all our retirement funds evaporating! The good news is that we are finally in warm temperatures, our health is good (although my cold, or infection, still lingers!), and the puppies travel well, also enjoying the change of scenery!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mt. Bailey, July 2008

Yea, I know.... these are out of order, but I am just now getting around to learning how to get images to the blog, so give me a break!
Over here, to the left, that is Rupert, the delicate one, in the back pack. He is so CUTE!

At the top, we stopped long enough for pictures, hydration and nutrition, then started the climb down. Unfortunately, it was not a super clear day, due to wildfires..... A good hike..... 5 miles up, then 5 miles DOWN.... Ugh. My knees were ready for a rest after that....(and a beer, or two!)

4-Mile Lake campground

This is from one of our last camping trips of the season.....back in September. A gorgeous weekend....We were a bit surprised to see the number of campers; the campground was "closed", which really meant no one was there to collect fees, and the water had been shut off. One day we did a run around the lake (9 miles? maybe more..... we don't keep track!) That weekend we also were treated to a full moon...a lovely sight as the moon reflected red then yellow on the lake as it rose into the sky.

Day One of Spring Camping Trip '08