Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Winter Wonderland

For the last two days, the weather prognosticators have been warning of another winter storm for the Appalachians. Before bed last night, I thought I should take our Golden (Lola) out to one of my favorite Forest Service roads. I figured with it being the middle of the week, there wouldn't be any 4-wheelers or snowmobilers out running the roads. I got up and had a cup of "Joe" and a banana, grabed a couple of cookies to eat on the way to the trail head (well, not really a trail head but a parking area adjacent to the FS road), loaded my furry 4 legged friend and off we went. Lola gets so excited when she knows were going for a run. I really should take her more often, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. We pulled into the parking area and I stowed my keys and got out of the car, and immediately stepped into snow well over my ankles. I mean, it was drop dead beautiful. I let Lola out and off we went. She was going crazy, running wind sprints as hard as she could go. Ah, to have just a little of her energy. My plan was to run 4 miles and then turn around and head back. Lola is often the limiting factor. She does well at 8 miles, but 10 is about her max. Turns out today, I was the limiting factor for Lola. About 75 or 80% of that section of FS road is up hill. I've run it many times with no snow cover, but the deep snow made it another story. At 2 miles I'm thinking, "is there any way I'll make 4 miles in this?" There were some frozen ruts from 4 WD's that had been through over the weekend. The fresh snow covered the ruts, and I came close to "nicking" an ankle a couple of times. I finally found some even footing and managed to stay out of the ruts. That helped tremendously, but the climbing was a real challenge in the (fairly) heavy snow. I stopped and took a few pictures, or was it to catch my breath? We topped the first serious climb and hit a section of rolling road, for which I was grateful. Then my GPS buzzed the 3 mile split and I decided to call it a day. Lola was slowing down and having trouble with snowballs on her feet to boot. I took a couple more pictures and then headed back down. I was a little nervous about stepping into a rut or pot hole on the down hill run, so I really didn't just turn it loose. Nevertheless, the run back to the car was a blast. Snow blanked forest, no cars, hell not even any other warm bodies which suited me just fine. As much as I love the beauty of winter, I'm at the point where I'm beginning to long for Spring. Only two months away, as of today. No major layering up. Shorts & a light windbreaker. Yeah, that's it. I invite you to follow me on Twitter (I put up some nice pictures) Happy Trails & Stay Warm jim

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