Knees high. Quick feet. Light footfalls. Stay on the toes. Don’t slip.
As I churned through the five inches of new powder on the trails behind the high school, I unconsciously started visualizing Legolas the elf, skipping effortlessly on top of five feet of snow down the slope of Mount Carcaras, his feet only clad in thin leather shoes. “I wish I could run like that,” I mused. Even with my quickest feet turnover, my quads were already burning with the effort of pushing through more resistance than usual.
At nearly two miles into my run, I had seen nothing, but then the silence overhead was finally broken by the discordant honking of a flock of Canada Geese. Then, as I entered the Saint Vrain River riparian corridor, the busy chick-a-dee-dee-dee of Black-capped Chickadees intruded upon the monotonous noise of feet crunching on snow and ice.
And then I finally got a new SWSA bird, an American Kestrel hovering over a section of Boulder County Open Space grassland. Excellent, one species closer to Welch. Then, swerving off of the trail onto a partially plowed road, the soft scheeps of American Tree Sparrows alerted me to a winter sparrow flock crossing the road and diving into a skunk bush.
In the final stretch before the turnaround point, half a mile up a steep, icy dirt road, I finally heard the raspier and less musical shick-a-chee-chee of a Mountain Chickadee as I broke from the cottonwoods into my native Ponderosa Pines. I ended the 4.75-mile run with five species, one of which was new.
Running Companions: Coach Akers and Coach Roberts
2011 SWSA Totals
Species = 22
Miles Run = 22.6