It's 41F outside right now! Amazing. Amazingly nice. It's awesome to have a break from the Minnesota Hunch. You know, we scrunch our shoulders up to our neck and say BRRRRRR! It's nice not to do that today :)
I couldn't believe my eyeballs what I woke up this morning and saw that it was 36F..and 530 in the morning? Crazy!
It was just as foggy this morning as yesterday; a thick hazy white-grey fog from the ground to the sky. I never did see the sun during the my run. It stayed foggy the whole time. Lots of condensation in the air.
I grabbed my snowshoes, placed them under my arm pits and began to run up the dirt road to the lake. I put on my snowshoes and noticed that my foot was sore where the top strap rubs. I unlatched the strap and it felt much better. The lake was a little mushy after a day of melting. We ran across the lake, to the island and back. Back down the gravel road to the trail that I love to run upon so much.
The snow was much more difficult to run upon than yesterday. Yesterday was fast, running on top of the stiff snow. It held me well. Oh man, not today! With each step I sunk a good four inches. My quads became tired after 20 miles of sloshing through the snow!
As we came upon the first river crossing I was hopeful that it would still be solid as it was yesterday and that I would be able to cross upon it. There was water on top of the ice, I stepped across gingerly and it held me. We ran through the meadow, to the stand of pine trees where I noticed that something had sprayed yellow drops all over the snow. It was puzzling. As I ran along I kept on noticing the yellow that was splotched all over the snow. What kind of animal was spraying pee all over the snow?
We came to the second river crossing. I removed my snowshoes and threw them to other side. Topaz waited for me to go first. This is the only place that he ever waits for me. He always wants to be first, but not crossing this river in the winter. As I reached the other side, he again, catapulted from the bank, over my head, to the other side. I tried getting a picture of him mid air, but he was too fast. By the time I scrambled up the bank he had taken a roll in the snow to cool off and was ready to run.
As we turned came around the corner, there was Big Daddy Buck. Oh man, I've only seen him two times this fall/winter on the trail and he is nothing but majestic. He's muscular, but graceful. He actually looks intelligent. He's amazing. He just stood there, looking at us, Topaz stayed still, watching him. I looked away, Big Daddy Buck snorted and jumped 15 feet in one prance, through the woods. Topaz looked at me, I said go ahead, and off he went, prancing with Big Daddy Buck. He is spectacular and I am so grateful that he made it through deer season. I was beginning to wonder.
As we came to the cross roads, Topaz stopped and was waiting for my cue. Are we going to the left, back on the trail, or to the right, back to the car. I yelled out LEFT! He gave a wag of a tail and a smile, and ran as fast as he could, back down the trail.
This time around the trail was even more soft. It was tough trudging through the warm snow. My feet were soaked, I could feel water in my shoes. Gortex shoes are great, until they become soaked with water on the inside. The water doesn't flow out of the shoes. It felt like I was running in a spring rain. At least it was warm water!
As we began our final loop, miles 15-20, I noticed foot prints on the trail! I was shocked. I hadn't seen a print out here all winter long. I noticed that the person was wearing winter Sorell Boots, and that the person must be pretty heavy, the prints were a good 8" deep. It must have been tough navigating through the snow.
One final trip through the pine trees and I felt drip drip drip on my nose. The yellow splatters in the snow..it was snow melting off of the pines! It was not an animal spraying pee all over the place after all.
One final crossing of the river, this time I was tired. Real tired. I took off my snowshoes a final time, threw them across the river and crossed. Again, Topaz waited for me to cross first.
We came to the cross road, I said RIGHT..ALL DONE! Topaz sat down, feeling dejected that we weren't going to run another loop, and waited for me to remove my snowshoes. I placed one under each armpit and began to run down the road to the car. As I was running along I noticed a person leaving the cemetery. I don't know why there is a cemetery in the Wildlife Refuge. It must have been there before the Feds purchased the property. Anyway, he looked at me like I was a nut. I said good morning, he said, why do you have snowshoes under your arms? Oh, I was snowshoe running. He just looked at me like I was crazy. I guess not everyone runs along with snowshoes under their arm pits!
When I told the boys about my run, including Big Daddy Buck, Troy told me "Mom, they probably think you are the Woodland Princess and Topaz is your Elf". He is reading The Lord Of The Rings. Cute.