After a week of summer like weather, shoulder season has firmly arrived. The days have been filled with short, snowy squalls mixed with warm sun breaks and gusts of bitter cold wind. These conditions aren't ideal for skiing or climbing so we've taken to the melted out trails logging miles in our running shoes.
I haven't been a serious runner since high school and even the canyon bottom trails in the Bitterroots climb steeply. I find myself sucking for air frequently. We stop to walk or scramble the steepest bits and then remind ourselves to keep striding along. As the miles add up I can feel the fitness returning and anticipation building for summer romps.
Windshirts (ours are Patagonia Houdinis) have proven indispensable in these early season conditions. They are breathable enough to run in yet protective enough to shelter us from the blowing snow. Wearing one over a base layer I can be comfortable running along at full speed or stopped for a few minutes.
|Up Sawtooth Creek we found Cedars in the cool shade along the canyon bottom. Are we in western Washington?|
|I could feel the call of this featured steep bit of stone in a frozen meadow up Sweathouse creek. I plan to haul rock shoes and a crash pad up the two mile approach on one of the next sunny days.|
|The same boulder on a warm day last summer along a burbling creek surrounded by wildflowers.|