Mike C., his wife Tamera, and Jim K. resurrected the Blanchard Ultra this weekend. Good of them! These trails should be shared, and it kept me in town. Three loops, 11 miles each loop, with 2ooo feet elevation gain, all figures estimates. I ran it, along with probably 20 others, split evenly between the 7 AM and 8 AM starts. It was supposed to be hot, but it wasn't that bad under the trees. By and large, I felt good, although the third climb was annoying, get it over with type stuff. There is a half hour section in this run that is rather steep climbing. The run also goes by two lakes, and by an island overlook where hang gliders launch from, out on to the Skagit Flats. The nice thing about the Blanchard ultra is you can stop after one or two loops, and still have had a terrific day. (Or, you could always sleep in too.) Also, it's nice that you run right by your vehicle on each lap, which can therefore be an aid station of sorts. Mainly though, I like it because it's near, small, and cool people do it.
Huckleberries are everywhere on the mountain now--see the picture above. "Vaccinium parvilfolium." I spent an hour point five picking these a week or so ago----sloooow work. I also saw some "Witch's Butter" on the run, but didn't stop to eat it, though I'm pretty sure I had it picked out right, could eat it, and it wouldn't taste good.
Earlier in the week, I did a two night tour of the Lynden Fair. I was up there for Randy Travis and Little Big Town, a couple acts I like, but it was a real kick checking out all the great poultry, swine, and goat contests, et al. This blog needs a goat picture. I'll save the swine pics for later. Go 4H!!