Sunday, November 28, 2010

Unusual Ice Formations

On the run today we went down to the beach. Not sure how these were formed, but they looked like unusual sculptures along the shore.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pederson Benefit Run

A generous man and his family lost their home in the recent flood in Minnesota. A fundraiser to help them get back on the feet Pederson Benefit Run was Saturday. Another perfect day filled with friends.

Even with all those people running the trails, we still managed to see 2 Pileated Woodpeckers, 10 Tundra Swans, 12 Bald Eagles and a couple hundred Canada Geese. At one point, there was a pair of eagles sitting in a tree overhead. They flew off as we followed the trail underneath the them. Here is a photo of one eagle flying off (see the tiny spot with the white head and white tail in the lower right third of the photo).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Thanks for the beautiful day.

We weren't alone, the tracks in the snow indicated a lot of activity even though we didn't see what made the tracks.

And we saw other runners, Bill and his family arrived just as we were leaving. Jeffrey, Lynnette, and their friends were enjoying a warm fire and conversation after their run.

I'm just thankful that we are able to enjoy such a beautiful day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

Today: Warmer, icy, cloudy, foggy, calm winds and deer. Just one other car in the parking lot.

In the open areas, the fog created a light mist, but not enough to soak my jacket. In the trees, it was like rain. The drops must form on the branches and then rain down. The white streak in the background is one of the runs at Afton Alps - they've been making snow.

The trails were pretty clear and a little soft in places. They didn't seem slippery but maybe it was because I wore my shoes that had cleats on the bottom.

It was a great day for photos, the soft light allowed more of the small details to light up, like the moss photo this week compared to last week.

The fungus are doing their part in the woods.

And there were a couple of deer, just enough to let me know that we shared this space with them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eagle Watching Day

Ran at Afton SP for about an hour and a half. It was a combination of running, walking and watching the raptors. I looked down to check my footing, then I'd look up to check the skies. Loren & I counted 22 Bald Eagles! They were both mature (white head, white tail) and immature (mostly dark) eagles. Also saw 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Rough-legged Hawk and two unidentified raptors. There were about 200 Canada Geese either flying over head or floating on the water.

We didn't bring the snowshoes and the trails were fine. The ground is frozen hard. Loren ran with his shoes that have spikes. Regular road shoes worked for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Changes at Afton SP

One of my favorite things to do while running is to look up from the trails and see what is going on in the park. A few of the changes on Sunday (and I don't know if the words and the photos will align) along the snowshoe loop.
Pilieated Woodpecker Tree Damage
I saw the wood chips before I saw the tree. The tree is about 4 - 6" in diameter with about 4' of woodpecker carving along the trunk. I hope it found some food for all of that work ! 

Fungus growing on dead tree
 I'm not very good at identifying fungus, but this looked so cool as the bright sky lit up the edges. I touched them and they were soft.

Moss on live tree
  The photo doesn't really show how absolutely green and soft the moss looks. There were melted drops of snow hanging from the edges of these little evergreen tree shaped mosses. They were outlined clearly against the white snow background.

Fairly empty parking lot

Not many other people out enjoying the trails so it was very quiet.

Didn't photograph the deer that ran across the trail as we got closer to the parking lot. Nor did I attempt to photograph the birds.

There were several flocks of birds, at least one was American Robins and the other was American Tree Sparrows. The others? I don't know. Near the park we saw a Bald Eagle (on the south end) and a Northern Harrier (on the west side).

Another change, Gene the Park Manager told us that Rachel (Assistant Manager) has a new job with Minnesota Parks and Trails.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let it Snow !!

Yesterday's forecast said the snow would be north and west of the Twin Cities. Today, not so much. It looked like about 3-4" of snow by the time we reached Afton. Along the way, 4 cars in the ditch. The fifth car was off the road in the park and it was somebody we know - Jim McDonnell. We stopped and he said he was waiting for a tow.

We tried to run but the snow was slippery so it was a combination run / walk / slog. The trees were beautiful with all that snow hanging from the branches.

And we had a running companion. We are doggy sitting the sweetest little cocker spaniel - Bailey.

This photo was taken "after" we went running. She is one soggy doggy. But she had fun.
We saw Cedar Waxwings, Black-capped Chickadees, Slate-colored Juncos, and a White-breasted Nuthatch. We stopped and watched as 7 deer crossed the trail in front of us - no antlers on any of them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Catch Up

It's been a quiet couple of weeks for running. Not signed up for any more races so the motivation isn't quite what it used to be. Here is what has been happening:

Someone named Joe found my cell phone and was kind and thoughtful enough to figure out how to contact me and return it. I am so grateful for his kindness. Awesome !!!

Continued doing Boot Camp and regular exercise classes.

Went to Kansas one weekend - didn't do any running there.

Procrastinated all morning. Finally did some hill repeats the afternoon of 11/4 - the first one felt awful and it didn't get any better. Decided to quit when I had to walk hill #3.

My sister got married on Saturday to a wonderful man. Wishing them and their children a "Happy Ever After".

Ran on Sunday, it felt much better than hill repeats. I was concerned about running on the snowshoe loop with deer hunting season open. But Loren wore bright orange and we didn't see anyone in the deer stands along the edge of the park. Saw a couple of other runners, they were cruising.

Stay motivated !!