Summer sprung on us this year. We went from temperatures in the upper 70s to near triple digits this week. My perfect running weather is mid 40s and sunshine, so this Summer business has not been my favorite. Solution? Beat the sun.
Dawn patrol it was. I stopped to say hello to sleepy Downtown.
I would not run alone in our forests before sunrise. That just wouldn't be wise being that we share our trails with other predators that are active in the pre-dawn hours. I feel safe on our ridge. It offers me and Kona a place to get away from the city rush, but a big cat would have to be terribly lost to find its way onto our trail.
Just as I reassured myself that we wouldn't be ambushed in the dark, I ran into a spider web. Thankfully, I only hit the edge of the sticky food trap. I turned around to see the silhouette of the big spider as it scurried to safety. It's shaped was unmistakable--a brown widow.
I shook off the thought of face planting into one of the most venomous spiders in town. Brown widows are new to our area. They have a similar shape to the black widow, with the same hourglass tummy. Unlike the black widow, they aren't nearly as shy. They spin webs in full view, not hiding in dark corners like their cousins.
Spider averted, we kept running. The sky lightened as we started the steep portion of our run. I stopped to watch the sun awaken our forest to the north. Many of the mountain trails are still closed due to unstable trail conditions after last year's fire.
This Summer, Kona has gotten better at waiting while I stop on the trail. She use to immediately whine whenever I paused. As I watched the sun rise over the mountains this morning, she stood quietly. She still wasn't completely relaxed as she shook off her nerves before we started running again.
As we started back towards the car, something caught Kona's attention. She sniffed the air and looked down the hillside. I wondered what she smelled that I couldn't see.
The sun reflected off the downtown skyline, promising another warm day.
Lucky for us, we returned to the trailhead just as the sun peaked over our eastern mountains. We stealthy runners slipped into the car before the sun could catch us.