Sunday, September 30, 2007

Running with Owls

Crisp temperatures prevailed today making for excellent running conditions. Felt an easy day was in order, and I decided to hit the woods out back since the technical trails would help prevent any urges to pick up the pace. Also, I wanted to scout out a few potential hunting spots for when the season begins next month.

I meandered through the 1.5 miles of technical trails that leads to the fire roads, coming across a gaggle of turkeys which scattered as I approached. Despite seeing several hundred wild turkeys in my lifetime, the way their necks move when scurrying still amuses me.

But the biggest highlight of the day came when I encountered another bird, a barred owl (photo to the left courtesy of University of Oklahoma). I saw it on the uphill along the fire road, it's massive wings propelling it above the clearing to another tree limb several hundred yards ahead. As I approached, it flew away again, and I watched as it eventually made a left turn into the woods and out of sight.

Another mile or so later and I was at the lake. I stopped here to admire the view, as I usually do. I sat on the fallen tree that goes out over the lake, and watched an unidentified hawk fly along the surface.

Ran up the hill away from the lake where a guy was examining the engine of his ATV. His engine had overheated, and he asked me how far it was to a road. Told him a dirt road was just up the trail about a quarter of a mile, and he would be able to put it in neutral and coast down. He said he had a phone and planned on calling his son to pick him up.

Continued along and the trail brought me back to the fire road. Stopped to examine a small, dried out bog for any signs of deer activity, but it didn't look very promising. Continued along and was back on the trail, where I ran into two other friendly ATV'ers who were looking for directions and I told them about the paths.

Had planned on running to another bog closer to home to scout it out better, but opted to do that in a separate trip later. Wanted to get home and run errands before the football games start. Turned out to be a good decision, as my friend and neighbor Kate had just baked apple dumplings and she brought me over a few, which I mowed down in no time. Great way to end a run!

Ran 7.3 miles @ 8:40/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 142/163
Trails, fire roads.
Very hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.


Anonymous said...

Whooo knew there were owls out there flying around during the day? What a hoot!

Love2Run said...

I can see why you like your trails so much. We've had an owl hooting near our home in the morning but haven't seen it yet. Good luck tapering.

Marc said...

We should definitely get down to your neck of the woods for a group run - it looks and sounds wonderful.

Addy said...

Great run, those bird sightings sound great :)

Michael Jay Dotson said...

Sounds like a trail runners paradise. Love the photos and description of the wildlife.
Best of luck at MDI!

Runner NYC said...

Your wildlife is so much cooler than mine! Unless you count the hawk (saw it twice - very cool) and the black squirrels. I love reading about your trail runs!!