TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Best Part

My feet didn’t hit dirt this morning until after 10:30AM. That was late for a run in the middle of August. I’m not lying when I say that it was struggle from step one. Just don’t focus, I told myself, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the music. I really thought that today’s trail run was going to be one of those runs where the best part of it all was when it was over, when I finally got to stop.

Wood Canyon (Aliso Viejo):SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I played that same old game, the one where I mentally cut the run in half just to make it seem easier. The halfway point was only three and a half miles. I can do 3.5 miles. And then I counted the miles down beneath a throbbing sun with little or no breeze.  Then oh, about five miles into this run, as I staggered over probably my tenth snake track in the dirt, I noticed something in the distance that looked like animal. Running up on it closer, I couldn’t quite tell – was it a dog, perhaps a cat? Upon closer examination, it resembled more a pile of brown rocks – just like the ones strewn all over the place in this canyon. I’m not sure why I didn’t trust what my eyes were telling me, that it was just a pile of rocks, but something made me stop and focus my sight. And after standing there a few minutes, the bobcat came into clear focus.  

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Its been years since I’ve seen a bobcat in these coastal hills. What a treat! I watched cautiously, but confident that I probably wouldn’t cause the cat alarm. He was focused on something in the field. And then cat pounce on something. He missed. He whisked off into the brush behind the field but not before giving me a good long stare. Well, this wasn’t going to be one of those runs where the best part was when it was over. This was definitely the best part, right here in this field.

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Still on a high from spotting the cat, I continued my struggle beneath the heat, but this time with a smile upon my face. Yes, I still counted down the distance left – by quarter miles. They moved by slowly.

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Within a mile of the bobcat, a deer surprised me by darting across the trail. Stumbling for my camera, I missed catching a photo of this very secretive animal. But I had it in hand and was able to catch a photo of the second deer that quickly followed behind.

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