Posted by: Matt | July 14, 2009

Owl Creek and Then Some

People look at the stupid smile I’ve got plastered to my face and they must wonder “Why?” Why does that guy have a smile on his face all the time.

Today was an awesome trail run. Tess and I drove up on the mesa and parked near the rim of the cliff just north of Lion Rock. It was dry and clear but not too hot when we got there. Last week we’d run by some trail head markers in this area and I’d speculated that they might be worth some time. Tess was still feeling the elevation gain from our weekend attempt at Mount Howard, but bade me be off at my own pace. I slung the bag, collected the girls, and whooped down the hill taking the first trail head I crossed paths with.

The Owl Creek Trail (#1371.1) gets a lot of motorcycle use after June 15th. But aside from a couple of blow downs and two mires with knobby studded tracks traveling all over the place this is a fun descent. I let the clutch out, so to speak, and the three of us zipped down the hill not even really thinking about having to come back up it. There was a good bit of howling going on in between panting breathing and I was having a good time.

Finally we descended low enough that we came to a small creek crossing and the girls got to water up. Just past the creek crossing the trail merged with another becoming the Naneum-Wilson Trail (#1371). It appeared to head down the valley further as well as back up the hill. I looked at my watch and decided if I was going to make this a loop run I probably needed to head back up the hill some time sooner than later. Thus the dogs and I began our climb.

Holy cow is that trail steep! I had to stick it in low gear and walk from time to time to make it up the first hill. Then there is a nice long traverse that rolls over small hills and through moist meadows. There was dwarf lupine and false hellsbore blooming everywhere. The shadows were getting long by the time we came to the next trail intersection.

Knowing the Naneum trail was heading in the opposite direction from the truck I took the Naneum Meadows Trail (#1389) back toward what I hoped would be the right way. This trail climbs steeply in a couple of spots, but isn’t as bad most of the way up. There horses like this better and there was plenty of hoofed tracks in the mud at stream crossings and bogs.

Finally we topped out and headed up the last bit of the road to the truck. The sun was getting really low on the horizon about then and the smoke turned things kind of golden red. I see the world through this lens and its bit like wearing rose colored glasses everywhere you good.

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