Bluff Lake… Again

   I think I just had my first tick episode.
    I was driving in the mountains and I made a move to brush something off my leg  and found that the something was embedded in my skin, wretched it out, painfully, and am now seriously wondering if that was a tick. I have no idea where the mystery something went, as I was driving home from Bluff Lake, winding mountain highways and was watching the road and not the potential insects I was flinging around.

    Alicia and I had just run six point five at Bluff Lake on the journey to Bear Creek. It seems quite possible I may have met a tick or two on my journey today as we ran through a autumn forest full of creatures big and small.
    We met Bobbi, the worlds most friendly coyote.



   We saw Bobbi the first time on our run through Bluff Mesa near the giant Lodge Pole Pine. He was just chilling in a meadow.


   Hi Bobbi.



   What’s up?


   By the time we ran back by this meadow about an hour later, guess ‘ol Bobbi thought we were friends. He didn’t care we were there at all. He just continued his business, stalking gophers or what ever bored coyotes do on a Indian summer afternoon.

    We seriously watched Bobbi for quite a while, and Alicia whistled at him insistently ( No, not because he was one good looking coyote, but because I wanted him to look at me for the pictures) None of that phased Bobbi at all. He was a very pleasant coyote experience. mainly because he was not hunting any neighborhood felines at the moment.
    I thought that would be our only adventure involving nature today. Than I almost stepped on a gorgeous orange and black Caterpillar, I’d guess a monarch to be? At least no snakes were found on today’s run. Yesterday I almost stepped on a Gopher Snake while running at Keller’s Peak and I am just amazed by the amount of snakedge I have seen this year.  As Samuel Jackson would have said in 2009
   “These mother fuckin snakes are all over this mountain!”
    So today led to nothing but friendly coyotes at a distance and ticks, not so at a distance. No snakes at least; yea. Oh and bear scat, the ever present bear scat that we see every where in these mountains and yet I have not seen an actual bear in years.
    
     We started today’s run half a mile from Bluff Lake Preserve at a locked gate.

   I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again;

   DOES EVERYONE ON THIS MOUNTAIN OWN THE SAME CAR AS ME?
  
    Just wondering. My new Subi actually handles amazing off road. Seriously the handling off road is so much smother and not as bumpy as my other Subaru and I have way more clearance when off roading, also nice as today’s run began five miles down a bumpy mountain dirt road.
    I wanted to take Alicia to Bluff Lake Preserve and maybe check out the Lodge Pole Pine area if we had time.
   We got a late start around noon by the time we drove to Big Bear from our small town thirty minutes farther down the mountain. It was about seventy degrees out, about as hot as I could take it. Thank god most of this run would be in the shade.

    We started running down this abandoned dirt road past these HUGE logs that had been cut down recently. Some of these logs are as tall around as I am tall! We wondered aloud how old they may be than we came across this log.

    At first we thought it was graffiti and thought what assholes to do that to nature in this most pristine forest, but some one marked the different rings in this log, that must have been cut in the seventies. It’s kind of hard to read in the photograph, but we could clearly read the rings that went back to The Civil War, World War II, the 13th Amendment. The first ring just said America Yea!

    The tree diagram was pretty cool. It’s amazing to think how old these huge pine trees are.

    We had planned to run around little scenic Bluff Lake than run back up the road and up the other dirt road to the Lodge Pole Pine two miles from the car, but we found a side trail winding through the forest and just decided to go exploring.
   
   Turns out the side trail goes to the Lodge Pole Pine!

    So we kept taking that trail, that meanders near the creek and every bug in the forest it would seem.  This trail eventually takes you to Bear Creek, which is about eight miles down the trail. I have hiked part of Bear Creek before from the Snow Valley side. It’s a long hike but the creek at the bottom is supposed to be abundant with wild rainbow trout; legend has it. We tried this hike in May a few years ago from the Snow Valley side of Bear Creek. Number one, the May heat almost killed me, and number two that side of the trail is so completely over grown four miles in. Suffice to say we gave up before making it to Bear Creek.

    Today’s run did not take us all the way to Bear Creek. We ran about three miles down the trail before turning back. This trail just has spectacular views of the valley and the fall colors today were really intense.
  

    I got SO many great pictures of the fall colors. As we did an easy run through an autumn forest of yellows and greens I just felt so blessed to be here doing this. All those people in the valley below have no idea what they are missing.


   This trail was pretty cool as we saw awesome views of the valley below us and we also had views across the mountains to Snow Valley and the other leg of the Bear Creek Trail.

   At this point the trail was no longer maintained and it got a lot harder to traverse.
    This is also the point when I inhaled a large bug up my nose and loudly proclaimed
   I’m done with nature! Let’s go home!” It was my first runners experience inhaling a bug into any of my orifices. It really was huge, some kind of flying ant. Alicia was shocked I didn’t take a picture of it.

The North side of Bluff Lake Preserve.

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