Saturday, March 28, 2009

High Plains drifter

I've been in Ft. Collins Co. working with a colleague, Cameron Ghalambor, who is a professor at Colorado State. One of Cameron's Ph.D. students is Corey Handelsman, who has run both Hardrock and Massanutten. Cameron had just returned from Catalina Island with his closest work buddy, Scott Sillet. As a grad student, I spent a couple of weeks in Alaska with a group that included Scott's wife, Christine. Scott's brother is the exxxxxxxtreme harrrrrrrrdcore tree canopy ecologist Steve Sillett. Check out his bio and spend a nice evening reading about his reasearch in the canopies of the giant redwoods. Or buy the book. Or watch the film when it comes out. He is a badass.

Cameron and I didn't climb any tall trees this week. But we had long, productive work days, good food and beer in the evening, and I did manage three morning runs. I also managed to bring New England weather with me - last week it was 70F in Fort Collins but during my stay we had cold mornings (this morning's run started at 15F) and a nice spring blizzard on Wednesday. All three runs were along the Poudre ("pooder") River trail, which is nearly entirely cement with some blacktop sections. But there are nice dirt paths that meander in and out of the woods along the entire route. The trail is flat, flat, flat as you might guess of a trail running along a river on the high plains. The first run was novel. The second was in about 1" of fresh powder at the start of the blizzard. The last was sort of monotonous (I said it was flat, flat flat) except that there were a couple of really, really fast guys cruising along. I thought about packing skis with me but the forecast didn't suggest snow. During the storm I was bummed, since I hadn't packed my skis. Turns out, they would not have been that great anyway since they continously plowed the cement part of the trail during the snow and skiing the side trails would have required frequent crossing of the cement sections.

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