Thursday, April 28, 2011

no no ~~ i bet i'm sicker than you...

gotta get better so i can get the fluffies back out on the trail this weekend.
i was seeing patients today and all of a sudden it hit me:  i started feeling like someone turned the heat up and i got really tired.  i got this weird scratchy feeling in the back of my throat and had a weird dry cough with it.  then i thought to myself, "how many strep throats have i diagnosed and treated in the last 2 weeks?  12?  20?  30?"  the answer is:  a lot.  my nurse did a rapid strep test on me, and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't imagine away that faint blue line that confirmed that the test was positive.  crap.

i'm the only provider at the clinic, so if i get sick, nobody works.  the rule is, that if you have strep throat, you are contagious until you've been on antibiotics for 24 hours.  i gave myself a shot of penicillin in the butt and seriously i don't know what was worse:  the gag from the throat swab or the shot in the butt.  ouch.  but it should kick in quickly.

the thing that makes me really irritated is that i'm sure i was sicker this afternoon than some of the patients who came into the clinic for treatment.  ugh.  at about 3pm i really just wanted to go home and go to bed.

i wanted to go for a jog with the dogs this afternoon, but i think we will opt for a nap instead.  my throat has a weird itchy-pain that radiates up into my left ear and honestly i'm kinda worn-out feeling.  hopefully i won't be too much of a grump at the clinic tomorrow and hopefully i'll be feeling better.  i hate to waste the weekend feeling yucky.  i'd really like to get some more running miles in.  i'm sure the dogs will drag me out at some point.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Miles and More

i got some really good miles in this weekend.  the week went pretty slow for me and i still can't believe that i'm working a Monday thru Friday job from 8:30-5.  i feel like it is going to kill me.  it's not that the work is unsatisfactory in any way; i'm actually liking working at the clinic and the people i'm working with are great.  i see about 20 to 30 patients per day and since i don't get paid for lunch whether i take a break or not, i've been going over to the local Starbuck's which is just 5 minutes away (by car).  i would walk, but i would have to go through the freeway interchange and it would be a bit precarious on foot.  i'm just not used to being cooped up for so long and have to change my perspective to become a "weekend warrior" for the next couple of months.

so Friday afternoon finally came this week, and at 4:30 there were no more patients, which means i get to skip out of work a half hour early.  yippee!  bummer was, it was blizzarding snow and temps in the twenties, so i had to stay in and ended up watching a movie with the dogs.

Saturday turned out to be a pretty nice day with temps in the mid forties and sunny and i did a bunch of errands for the first part of the day.  i didn't have time to drive over to Sundance, so i decided to run the bike path with the dogs through town.  it was alright; and we only got chased by ranch dogs once.  we did 6 miles.

i got Artemis a shock collar on Saturday to do some training and we spent about a half hour in the soccer fields working on "come" and "sit" and she started listening to me really well and not straying so far away as she usually does.  however, this morning i noticed that she was limping quite a bit, and when i checked out her paws, one of her back pads had been ripped most of the way off and was pink and raw looking:  most likely from running on the pavement on the bike path yesterday.  bummer.

but we wrapped her up with some vet-wrap (koban) and set out to check out a new section of trails over by Sundance today.  unfortunately, i could tell just by looking at the area from the freeway that it was still heavily covered in snow.  so we kept driving and went to Beulah instead.  this is the area where i saw the game warden a couple of weeks ago and it's a really nice 9 mile lollipop loop.

the trail was great today; much more dry than the last time.  and the temps were great in the mid fifties and sunny today.  i kept Artie's shock collar on her to see how she would do, and she did revert to her willful ways once again.  she chased deer twice, but both times came back after about 5 minutes (i couldn't believe it!) and i really think that in general she stayed a lot closer than she has in the past.

i kept thinking of what a friend had said to me a couple of days ago though, "look out for cats!" and was looking at the cliffs in the area thinking they would be the perfect habitat for mountain lions.  (we never saw any ~ but a few times i had that creepy feeling that we were being followed.  i'm sure it was just my imagination.)

Dugout Trail, #77
i got back home to Gillette and since it was Easter Sunday, i ate a bunch of chocolate (i had given it up for Lent 6 1/2 weeks ago)  and boy, did it taste good.  it was a non-traditional Easter for me, but a very Happy one nonetheless!
view to East from Beulah, WY
view to West from Beulah, WY

Friday, April 22, 2011

Scurry over to Sundance

i got out of work at 4:30 yesterday, and i decided that the dogs and i needed to rally.  the Sundance, WY trails are about 65 miles to the east from Gillette, and the near 6-mile run is becoming my go-to run to feel good.  so i changed into my running clothes and got the dogs loaded into the car.

i could see there was another storm fast approaching from the southwest (folks in Salt Lake know what i'm talking about) and we would have to hurry, and possibly scurry once we got up on the ridge at Sundance.

the run was delightful as always and relatively uneventful, partially because of the fact that the yellow dog (Artemis, the huntress) has been really naughty lately chasing wildlife and i kept her on the leash for all but 1/2 mile of the run.  there were a lot of deer out and since it was evening, i really didn't want to go on some epic chase or long wait for my dog to come back from hunting.

the robins were chirping in the Black Hills, which is a sure sign of Spring ~ Easter is coming up in just a couple of days.  when we got up on the ridge it was a bit windy, but we had held off the storm, and i didn't see any lightening in the distance.

when we got back to the car the first raindrops were hitting the windshield.  there's a skiff of snow on the ground in Gillette this morning and it's again temperatures in the thirties, so i'm glad we got out when we did.  in the future when there is a break in the weather and when i get off from work a bit early, i'm going to try to rally and do the same and get out with the dogs for at least an hour.  we all feel better for it when we do.  it might seem a little silly (or wasteful) to drive 130 miles round trip to go on a 6 mile run, but the peace it brings to my being is unparalleled.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


on the way home from Lead this afternoon, i stopped with the dogs at what just might be our new favorite place ~ the Sundance Trail in Sundance, Wyoming, just off I-90. we went for a glorious 6 mile trail run through the pine forest and across the ridge. after a rain shower soaked us on the ridge, we turned around to head back down ~ and what we saw could have been one of the most beautiful sights: a full rainbow before us, stretched across the valley.

we chilled out at the car after the run for a bit, basking in the sunshine ~ me drinking a cold one and the dogs each had a biscuit. it was a great way to end the weekend.
Frank and Artie ~ over the rainbow
back at the car ~ cold ones and biscuits
hard day's work...

Homestake in Lead

this weekend the dogs and i traveled over to Lead, South Dakota (pronounced "leed" as opposed to "led") to stay at my friend Linda's condo and check out the local trails.  unfortunately, Lead sits at about 5,300 feet in the Black Hills, and the trails are, for the most part, still covered in snow. 

Saturday, the dogs and i did check out the Mickelson Trail, a converted rail bed from the Burlington Northern line, that was used in the 1880s to transport ore between Custer, SD and Lead/Deadwood.  it runs a total of about 110 miles.  we covered about 4 miles (sad) because it was such slow going on the soft Spring snow. 

Sunday morning, the dogs and i strolled around the town (which is *very* quiet on Sundays, i must say...) and snapped a few photos while out on our walk-about.

it was a nice relaxing weekend, and i anticipate good days of running the trails in future weeks, after the snow melts out a bit. 

Frank and Artie on the Mickelson Trail
houses on Main St, Lead, SD
Main St is very quiet this Sunday morning

Homestake Opera House, Lead, SD
Old City Hall, Lead, SD
Homestake Mine on the edge of Main St ~ I'm glad it is fenced off
converted schoolhouse where we stayed
Franklin and Artemis after our walk

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Today I met Joe Pickett, the Game Warden

so, i have to give you some background on this one.  my friend Brian, whose sister lives in Thermopolis, Wyoming, told me about this series of books/novels by CJ Box, a local Wyoming author, who writes about a game warden named Joe Pickett.  the stories center around shady characters in the town, people poaching and generally up to no good, and Joe Pickett is the guy who puts all the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out who the wrong-doers are.

so the dogs and i were on our way to yet another fabulous trail run in the Black Hills of Wyoming (yes, the Black Hills actually start, or end depending on which direction you are coming from, in Wyoming and are not just in South Dakota) and as we were driving up Forest Road 863, i noticed a large green truck stopped in the road talking to one of the locals who was on his ATV (the local waved as i passed).

i followed the truck up the canyon, past Ranch A where the fish hatchery is located, along with several hundred bee hive boxes, and realized that the truck, with Wyoming Fish and Game lettering on the tailgate, was headed to the same place that i was.  he pulled into the trailhead parking first, and i pulled in behind him.  thinking it might be rude to just hop out of my car and start hiking with the dogs and not say hello, i went up to his truck and introduced myself.  i think my heart may have actually skipped a beat when i realized i was actually talking with the local game warden.

his name was not Joe Pickett, i'm pretty sure (although i didn't see a name tag) but he had on the classic red canvas shirt and green wool vest.  his Weimaraner was in the passenger seat beside him, sitting stoically and patiently awaiting his master's word to go.  i explained that i was going to take the dogs for a walk, and he wished me a nice day (i thought to myself, "i believe i will, after seeing your handsome face... " shameless, i know).

two hours later, Joe Pickett was nowhere to be seen in the canyon, but perhaps our paths will cross again sometime soon.  i tend to frequent the same places as game wardens, after all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black Hills Gold(ens)

the drive up to Gillette, Wyoming from Salt Lake was relatively uneventful, yet altogether beautiful through the high plains of the western United States.  i wish i had taken more photos of the grasslands, but i really just wanted to get in to Gillette and scope out the town that i will be staying in for the next 2 months.

the main drag coming up from Salt Lake is Wyoming State Highway 59, and it runs north-south through town.  it is a plethora of commercial America with strip malls and just about every retail chain store that you could imagine or ever want (although, it was pointed out to me by the  clinic manager that there is not yet an Olive Garden Restaurant, and that she is quite disappointed by that fact).  but there is a Perkins and an Appleby's, so i'm sure that 90% of all residents are fairly happy with those choices.  and there is not yet a Target, but there are side-by-side Walmart and K-Mart if you feel so inclined.

the morning after i arrived, my first order of business was to find maps.  it seems that this is what i do when i get to a new place--find maps, look for trails, see where there is a sweet spot that i can pass my free time.  sadly, the local bike shop had none.  they pointed me to the Visitor's Center:  closed until 2:30pm.  i went to the sporting good store in town:  "sorry, we don't have any."  me:  "do you know where i might get one (a map)?"  girl with heavy eye-liner and blue eye-shadow: "uhm...  not really."  so i left.  a Google search revealed the nearest BLM office 2 hours away in the town of Sheridan.  (note to self, as i passed the BLM regional field office in Rawlins yesterday, i realize now that i should have stopped and gotten some maps and info.  i swear, i will never flippantly drive past another BLM field office as long as i live... )

i looked on my Rand McNally Atlas and saw the "Thunder Basin National Grasslands"  off to the north.  maybe there would be some trails or even a dirt road to run on with the dogs.  the dogs seriously needed to run after been in the car all day yesterday (8 hours) and i was feeling like i needed to loosen up a bit as well.  well, needless to say, after an hour and a half of driving dirt county roads, all we found was a 1/2 mile section of two track going to a cell tower.  but i refused to get frustrated...

i did some business on the phone for a half an hour pulled over on the side of the road and then drove back south towards I-90 to Moorcroft.  the scenery was rapidly changing from open grasslands to conifer-studded hills, and i was feeling more optimistic.  i drove on the freeway to the next town of Sundance, their claim to fame being the stepping-off point to Devil's Tower to the north and also the Sundance Kid Museum.  and like a shining pearl just off the frontage road...  Bearlodge Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest Station.  i nearly cried.  the ranger-woman inside was most helpful, and i left with a handful of maps.  topo maps even.  for free.  thank you Dept. of Agriculture.

the nearest trailhead was about 3 miles down the road.  Sundance trail.  an hour and a half of delightful single track through pine forest and rolling hills, sweet sweeping vistas of the plains in all directions (even a couple of dead deer carcasses for Artie to munch on).  it was an indescribable feeling of peace and happiness.  i would have run all day, but was feeling lightheaded from only having eaten a light breakfast before setting out.  i stopped at the gas station on the way home for SunChips, beef jerkey, and sweet tea.  i clocked the mileage home, and the trailhead is only 65 miles away. 

so hopefully, with this gem and with many more trails to explore in the Black Hills, i will survive my two month stint here.  i start work on Thursday, which means that i have another day of exploring to do tomorrow.  (little does the clinic staff know that "settling in" for me means pounding out some quality miles on the trails.  funny thing is, i was so delighted to be on the trail with the dogs today, that i felt like i was floating rather than pounding.)

so it turned out to be a very good day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Top Secret Snorkel Tour

sorry, i can't tell you where this is.  all snorkel-required tours are considered top secret.  the snow was up to our knees and the face shots were over our heads.  the company was delightful and the weather was stormy ~ which is how i prefer it, rather than the other way around.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mother Nature's Gift

it's 9:30 am and my boots still sit on the heating vents in the living room.  My ski clothes are draped on living room chairs where they were laid out to dry yesterday afternoon.  It snowed 14 inches up in the mountains last night, and it's still snowing now.  the text on my phone from my touring partner this morning read, "I'm just not feeling it... " 

so here i am at home with the dogs, thinking of all the things i need to do in the next week before i leave for Wyoming for a two-month work contract.

in some ways i am sad, and feel a little bit guilty that i'm not getting up into the Wasatch to take advantage of the foot and a half of new snow.  but at this time of year, people's thoughts turn to other things:  trail running, mountain biking, climbing...  and a foot and a half of new snow seems like a bit of nuisance to some.

but no matter what time of year, when i wake up to fresh snow it always feels like Christmas morning to me.  a gift from Mother Nature.

working at a ski area for 7 years almost stole this love of Mother Nature's gift from me.  some days going up the canyon felt like such a chore and for several years after quitting i still could not muster the strength to enjoy it.  tourists would tell me how lucky i was to be working at a world-class ski hill ~ that while i was teaching them to snow-plow stop on the bunny hill as i listened to others whooping it up on the powder-laced steeps across the way.  there would be no powder skiing for me on those days, and i began to secretly curse the same people who thought i was so fortunate.

so on this day, i will not ski.  i will clean my house and take the dogs for a walk, drink coffee and think instead of how lucky i am that i can pass up a powder day.  i will cherish the fact that i wanted to get out today and that my love of skiing the deep snow still exists deep within my being.  the gift that Mother Nature gave me today will not be opened and the anticipation of what that gift entails will grow until it is revealed another day.