Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fragrance Lake in February

A few pictures here of my Fragrance Lake jog/hike/run effort from last Saturday morning. I'd like to eventually get pictures posted of this little gem of a lake during each month of the year. I suppose the last picture is bit of an "outlier"---it is a view  from Two Dollar Bill ridge on the way out. FWIW, this lake and Two Dollar Bill ridge are at or around mile 10 or so of the Chuckanut 50k. Fragrance Lake is a favorite place of mine, and a default destination when injured or short on time.

Saturday morning was one of those days, with winds going this way and that, and snow reported here and there. This sequence is memorable to me, as it wasn't snowing when I was jogging and taking pictures around the lake, but it started snowing right afterwards, as I climbed above the basin. This has been a mild winter, but there are no rules when it comes to February weather around here.

I'm still not getting major miles in--just listening to the body. I might run the Honeywagon 1/2 this weekend, or may opt to do something nearer to home. Not sure. Probably will decide Friday night.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Ditch Access

Saturday was a regular squall of a day. Rain coming down, bouncing off the street and roof. There were some good running options, but since I'm not running well, and because I had work to do, I decided to take the morning and head up to the Chuckanuts. I was out for 2 hours-plus, and got drenched, despite being under the trees. Good to see WTA working on the Fragrance Lake trail, despite the weather. And a lot of faces I didn't recognize seemed to be scoping out the Chuckanut course. By the end of the morning, all I wanted was to be dry and inside.

On Sunday, I discovered the Big Ditch Access, south of Conway. This is a DNR site--Discovery Pass required--with wetlands reaching out to the sea, with views of Whidbey Island and Camano Island. Very cool to be discover wild places near home. Big Ditch Access is off the Conway to Stanwood road, at a junction with railroad tracks. There's a sign, but it's not all that clear.

And this isn't a real great place to run, but it is a wonderful quiet spot to stop, observe, and reflect. Acres of marsh and cattails, with old logs and snags, here and there. I guess a whole lot of cattails are edible. The roots are "nature's spaghetti," so I've heard. And then there were eagles sitting on poles, hawks on logs, ducks in the slough. Shotgun shells here and there--obviously a place favored by bird hunters.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snowy Owls

I've been looking for snowy owls all winter, and finally made it to Boundary Bay in British Columbia on Sunday. Snowy owls everywhere--25 to 30, easy to be seen, just hanging out on logs. All I had was my phone for a camera, so the photos leave something to be desired.  News of the irruption was a birder thing originally, but now has become an international story, with this being the biggest southern migration since 1998.

Directions:  Going north, take Ladner Trunk Road exit, roughly 10 minutes past border. Take Ladner Trunk north to 72nd St., left turn, drive to the end. Lots of people checking them out. They've been camping out there for a couple months. The birds I mean, not the people. Occupy Boundary Bay, big white bird style.

Here's an article for the Seattle Times by my friend Mike, plus a couple more bad pics from me, just to prove I was there. Nothing proves presence like bad photos.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

First Half Half Marathon

I had to be in Vancouver, British Columbia this weekend for work, and so I went ahead and registered for the First Half Half Marathon.  This is one of my favorite half-marathons—this was my third time, but first since 2005.  The event always sells out in hours, with over 2000 registered.

Not a lot has changed—still a spectacular circuit of Stanley Park’s seawall, with great views of the city, the bridges, birds, and tankers in the bay. I saw two eagles fighting over a fish during the run. The seawall is paved, but the views feel like trail. Stanley Park is perhaps the best urban park in North America, maybe the world.

We had a light drizzle, but that kept the temps down, and I suppose it was ideal racing conditions. Fortunately, I wasn't racing. I took a bunch of pics starting out, and picked it up a bit after running under Lion's Gate Bridge. More than anything, I wanted to remind myself what the 13 mile distance feels like, enjoy the views, and feel ok afterwards. Success as far as that goes. I'd like to get healed up and in better shape--one week at a time on that, for now.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Scotty v. The Waterfall

The waterfall won.  

These are some of Rich W's photos from our Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal last September. He's got some amazing photos--better than mine--and this is a particularly funny and memorable sequence.


The waterfall goes directly across the trail. It's a little hard to see here, but there's a pretty decent drop on the left. I started off walking the edge, to avoid the falls. But the footing seemed sketchy. So, with no good explanation in retrospect, I move away from the slippery edge, but then directly into the waterfall. That thing hit me SO HARD. You can't even see me in the one photo, except a bit of my backpack--I am in the waterfall.  I got drenched. My pack got drenched. The force of the waterfall almost knocked me over. When I popped out, this nice guide decided to point out the rocks that I should cross on. Then he gave me a hand.

Life is good! ( :