Saturday, February 19, 2011

Run! Rain!

We've had a series of storms move through the region this week, bringing much needed rain to what's otherwise been a very dry 2011. Thursday's forecast called for mostly sunny skies before the largest storm moved in on Friday. Kona and I were quick out the door to catch the break in the weather. Off to our local peak!

The day after rain is my favorite time for a trail run. The infamous Los Angeles skyline is washed clean, leaving sweeping views of the city.
The air feels crisp, leaving bare fingers numb. Kona also loves the scents that seem to be intensified by moisture. She was a sniffing queen.
I shed my vest quickly as we rounded switchbacks up the trail. Our rocky forest had grabbed every ounce of rain, painting the trails shades of green,
and dotting the hillsides with our first wildflowers of the season. Our dry climate doesn't support the fields of flowers that emerge late Spring and Summer in other parts of the country, so these small bursts of color are a fleeting treat.
I shuffled along, feeling stronger than I've been for weeks. My pace was slow but steady. The rains washed the top layer of sand off the trail, leaving rocks and gravel more pronounced under my feet. I kept my gaze downward to keep my footing. I asked Kona to "be my eyes," so when she froze stiff, I quickly looked up the trail.
I scanned the trail above us, the the canyon below us. Nothing. Kona still stood, muscles tense. I finally followed her gaze and spotted two deer, pushing their way up the rocks in front of us.
While we've seen deer on the top of the peak, I've never seen them work up the unforgiving slopes. In the picture below, you can see the rocky hillside that they were traveling through. Our deer may have cushy weather, but they still earn their rugged points.
When I gave Kona the OK to start moving again, she went into a sniffing frenzy. After passing the deers' tracks, Kona spent the next several minutes taking breaks to scan the landscape.
With the deer finally forgotten, we reached our peak. Ice and frost covered our vista point. (So you thought my frozen grass picture at the beginning of the season was cool, right? Well look at this! Frozen sticks!)
We were the only ones at the top. I basked in the solitude, inhaling gobs of fresh air, watching my pup explore with infectious energy.

(Yup, that's frost on that log!)
Bring on the rain!


Sara said...

I can feel your excitement & enthusiasm in seizing the perfect trail day! Kona is a the best dog to have on the lookout job.

Frozen sticks...hysterical.

Diana said...

Im glad your feeling stronger. I was worried when you hadnt posted in a while. Beautiful place to hike!

KB said...

I loved seeing the clear air and the green! Wow, emerald green is shocking at this time of year. At one point, your trail looked like a tunnel of shrubs. Beautiful.

I love the deer silhouettes against the sky. Wow.

I'm glad that you and Kona are running. I was starting to worry that maybe your injury was still keeping you away from running. I'm glad that I was wrong!

Barb said...

That third photo of the tunnel of greenery and Kona is wonderful, AC! Glad you're running again with Kona.

Priscilla said...

So glad to see you and Kona again. We miss those trails, pictures of Kona and your hikings.
Glad that both of you are well, Kona looks so energetic and strong too.

Oskar said...

It looks like an amazing day on the trails!

I have a great blog I'd love for you to check out, It's a wonderful place for pet bloggers to find each other.

Nubbin wiggles,

Kathy said...

wow, you just can see how crisp and clear the air looks even from pictures, what a great day for a run! Kona just looks excited!

Dawn said...

I'm glad to see you back out on the trails too! Have fun!