Thursday, February 26, 2015

I took a few day to recover from Orcas Island, then headed back out on the trails.  After a couple foggy days, the sun broke through and has been warming the Willamette Valley for almost 2 weeks straight. The sunny, warm weather and an earlier sunrise has had it easy to get up and get out.
The next race coming up is the Georgia Death Race so I'm starting to think about that, but mostly am focused on enjoying my everyday running through the local hills.

Here's a few runs I got some pictures on:

1/2 mile below the top
I headed up Mary's Peak a couple weeks ago on one of the first sunny days.  I could see that the peak was clear of snow from town but I was surprised to see not a single patch when I got up.
Looking back at some lingering fog in town
On top of Mary's Peak the view was incredible.  There were a few clouds up high and some fog in the valley but the horizon was very clear.  Although you can't see any mountains in this picture, there was 13 peaks I could name along the horizon.  That's pretty special.
The last stretch to the top
Just below the top and out of the wind, it felt like summer up here.  I think that the top was as warm as it has been when I head up here early on a summer day.
Three deer in the meadow-they look like specs in this picture
Enjoying the heat, I took my time coming down from the top and got some super views of the Coastal   Range surrounding Mary's Peak.  Also, a trio of deer looked up as they enjoyed their day in the meadow.
Mom took this one of me coming off the top
I got in a real long run with my friend Cary last weekend.  We started from the opposite side of the forest so there was a few new views for us.
The backside of  Lookout Mountain
Looking North, early in the run
McCulloch Peak from the Lunch Counter
The main goal in the run way to get out to Beazell Memorial Forest.  Initially we wondered toward Forest Peak and then headed across the lunch counter.  Now that we were in some familiar territory we began to discuss the best route out there.
Cary, a few hours in
Of course the best route is not always the most direct so we headed by this lake on some less traveled trails.
Elk-they also wrecked the trail
Even though there haven't been many humans on some trails, the elk come through too.  Unfortunately we didn't get to see the elk today.  Anyhow, at this point we were both starting to feel a bit tired but we were still in good spirits and kept on shuffling onward.
Almost to Beazell
We started to realize that we would need to get to Beazell sooner than later if we were going to make it back to the car so we scouted out the most direct route and pressed on.
Cary got this one of me in Beazell
We were both glad to at Beazell.  There is a little bit of route finding to get out there as there are numerous logging roads that aren't on the map.  Also, there is a short section where we had to leave road and trail and head cross country.  All in all, the route wasn't too difficult and we made it there with no problems.  After getting there, we realized we had a long haul back to the car and focused on finding the most direct route back.
Almost the same view as the first picture, just many hours later
Eventually we made it back to the top of the last hill and headed down the backside.  We ran into some revived single track on the way up and headed back down it hoping to find some more.  The old maps showed some trails in the area, but there was numerous clear cuts since the trails were built.  We lucked out and headed down an extra couple miles of trail which made a great end to a long run.

The next morning, I started in the dark.  I wasn't too excited to get up early but the sunrise made up for the lost sleep.  Here's some early morning pictures:
Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters on the horizon
The Three Sisters
Mary's Peak
Looking down the Oak Creek valley
 I got started at a later hour today so the sun was shining when I got up Dimple Hill.  From there I headed north out toward Forest Peak.
Looking out from Dimple Hill
McCulloch Peak and Mary's Peak on the horizon
After a nice view off Forest Peak(above), I headed down, following a logging road above the a clearcut.  The view out let me see the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood.  I'm not sure if any of the mountains are visible in the pictures but under the February sun their white slopes were clear to see.

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