a day in pictures
Rumors of a mountain lion have temporarily halted my 3AM runs up on the mountain... I have to wait it out until it gets somewhat light out, which is okay because even at 6:30AM, it's mostly quiet and devoid of vehicles and people. I love being able to run right out the door and be among nature and it's critters. The silence of the run is so soothing and leaves me with much delight.
I have had some pretty scary and outrageous experiences running so early in the AM.
In upstate NY, when we were staying at Buttermilk Falls, I went out running on a cold December morning and a raging pitbull approached me, barking and showing teeth. He had no collar or leash. I was so scared I was shaking, but I knew enough not to run. I stood still and didn't move. He rushed up to me, showing teeth. He circled me, and then smelled my behind. I thought I was going to puke. Then, he lightly walked away.
In Todos Santos, Mexico, I usually head out about 5AM, when it's still a bit dark. It is quite hilly where we stay and I run up in the mountains where a lot of the locals live. Once, I smelled smoke and realized it smelled a lot like pot. I started seeing flowers in very vibrant colors and everything I perceived seemed to be maximized. It was crazy - I was getting a contact high.
In my old neighborhood in NJ, I was out once about 5 years ago and I knew there was a car behind me because of the headlights, but it seemed strange they were not driving by. All of a sudden, I heard something smash loudly next to my feet. I gasped. The car inched forward and came to a screeching halt. A man was getting out of the car. By the grace of God, another car drove up behind the man's car and began honking. The man quickly got back inside his car and drove off. I looked down next to me and he had thrown a glass Snapple bottle at me. After that incident, I didn't do any more road running until the sun came up. If I wanted to run pre-dawn, I found a nice safe cul de sac to run loops in near our neighborhood instead.
Another time in NJ, I was running up the road and there was a garbage can that was tipped over. As I ran past, I heard a horrific growl and felt something near my leg. It gave me quite the creeps, so I ran faster, but the faster I ran, the more I noticed a stinky smell. It took a while for me to identify it, but I was sprayed by a skunk! I did take a shower, but the smell really didn't wash off until a week later. I went to work that day smelling like rotten eggs. :)
I almost forgot about Stowe, Vermont in 2012, when I was at the tail end of my run and lo and behold in front of me - 30 feet away - was a big black bear and her 2 baby cubs. The mother was frolicking with the 2 cubs. It was really a sight to see - the magnificence eliminated any fear I had. Nonetheless, I slowly backed away from them, my eyes fixed on her the entire time.
This past September, I was running in Oregon on one of the trails when I noticed a baby deer who was not getting up. As I got closer, I saw it was injured and couldn't get up. It was kicking his hind legs in the sand and made himself go in circles because he couldn't get up. He cried such an agonizing cry I will never forget it. Thinking I didn't want him to get eaten by the vultures, and believing he had a fighting chance for survival, I turned around and fast - paced it back to the house and called Jay. I was crying like a baby as I ran because I can not imagine another living thing being in pain. Jay woke up so confused not knowing why I was crying hysterically. I told him in between sobs about the baby deer and how we had to go back and save him. My husband dressed quickly and got his shoes on, starting the car. This is the type of man he is- ready to save a deer with me.
When we got back to the spot, the deer cried some more, but we were able to get up close and begin to pet him on the head. He became calm, confident we were not there to cause him any danger. In the meantime, we had called the ranger and he was on the way. Once he got there, it was not good news. They would not do anything for the deer. They wanted to put him out of his misery. I really don't know how I feel about what is worse - killing a living being or just letting it suffer there, with the vultures hovering in the sky.
When the ranger told this to us, I burst out sobbing hysterically again. He must have thought I was crazy, but I ran off back to the car, never looking back. I did hear the gun shot as we drove away and I winced.
These experiences on my runs are out of the ordinary, but hold meaning nonetheless. There are countless other stories that if I had to tell them all, you would tell me to STOP. So, in the meantime, I have no interest in meeting a mountain lion in Oregon.