Friday, March 27, 2015

No Bull!!...or Know your Bulls??

So...I've learned a lot about bulls in the last 24 hours. If you are out on the trails this time of year, you probably already know it's calf season. There are cows everywhere, and occasionally you will probably come across a bull. If you are having an exceptionally exciting day, maybe two one herd. If you know your cattle, you may know that last sentence isn't always a good idea.
So here's some interesting facts that could help save you some medical bills should you come across some frisky, or confrontational bulls, or just to help you recognize aggressive behavior when you have an encounter.
-If you come up on a herd w/babies, know that the bulls will also protect the babies, not just the mama cows, and both are more on edge when babies are around.
-If a bull shows you his broadside, he's trying to show you how large he is. Meaning if he comes towards you, even slowly, and then turns sideways so you can see him from the side. This is also an aggressive move, and means he thinks he's bigger than you and ready to prove it. Again, it may seem like they are just standing there sideways and mean nothing by it...but that's not always the case.
-If he turns to face your direction and lowers his head toward you....don't assume he's leaning down to eat some grass, or just looking down like the bull in the below picture. This is a picture of what they look like before they charge. Seems pretty innocent, but the lowered head, toward the thing he doesn't like...not a good thing.
-If you come upon a bull who is digging in the dirt, or throwing dirt, he is highly aggravated and wants to fight. There are pictures of this, but the most awesome example of it I've ever seen is in the video below.
-Bulls can run 25 miles an hour.
-If a bull is ready to confront you and you run, you trigger his instinct to chase you down, and he can.
-Bulls have a 20 foot ring around them of .....anger, danger, a fight zone...whatever you want to call it.  If you observe aggressive behavior, face the bull and slowly back away. If you can get out of that 20 ft, you are most likely ok.
-Bulls are considered to be the most deadly domestic animal.
-Should you feel the urge to pet a bull, never pet or touch his forehead. This triggers his charging instinct and he'll want to head butt you.
As you watch this video from yesterday's trail outing, keep in mind I knew none of the above info at the time. There are no fences between me and them, and I don't run faster than 25 miles an hour. I was out of the 20 foot radius, but if there's two does that make it a 40 ft circle??Not sure. As I came up on this herd, there was a big commotion and dust flew up in the air, so I slowed and got out the camera. These two bulls were not happy with each other and head butting/pushing each other around. Once I realized what was happening, I found it too awesome to not just stand there and video it.

 Pretty awesome, yes?? I don't remember, even at rodeos with super mean bulls, ever seeing one throw dirt like that.
After reading up, I don't imagine ever standing that close and videoing something like this again. I'll probably be slowly walking backward past herds for a while.

Here are the sources for that info - Here, Here, and Here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sophie's Band Concert

So we've had our first band concert! I never played an instrument in or out of school. Brian played the Saxophone. I always said I would never had a kid in band....until they re-implemented the 5th grade band program in our local schools this year.  I guess years ago it existed, but had been cut many years ago due to budget cuts.  In our area, at least for the past 8 years I've had kids in school, there has been no elementary school band program.  It came back this year for those who wish to participate. Basically, if you want to play an instrument, you can. You pick what you want to play, it's provided totally free of charge as long as they have it in stock.  Any supplies, or books are also provided free of charge. You are pulled out of class twice a week to go learn your instrument and play.

It took a while to really get up and running. They didnt' get the instruments in for a long time, and then it took weeks to get any music to learn.  They've only really been learning songs for maybe 2 months.  Sophie plays the Trombone, it's the one with the long slidey thing that you sort of blow raspberries into and it only has 3 buttons. Although she brings it home daily, I've only heard her play it at home in her room once.  She wont play for us unless she has the song totally she just hasn't wanted to play in front of us. I was concerned as to how this would work when it came to the main event - our Area Band Fest.  It was 3 of our local elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and one high school. It took place at what will be the kids high school, in the gym.
 She's on the far side, in the back row, facing us.
 So elementary school kids were on the far end, middle schools in the middle, and high school on the other end....where these empty chairs were.
 This is just how we roll.
 ....because work never ends.
 Jazz band played before the actual event started, sort of warming up the crowd. I've decided that when it comes to "band" in general....Rally Band is my favorite, then Jazz Band. I don't have favorites after that.
 Those drums were so loud and we were right above them.

Although the schools had never played together before last night.....they sounded pretty darn good!
This is the elementary schools playing -

She did really great, and was relieved when it was over.  I think she's partly relieved to about be done with her time in Band.  She came, she played, she did great....and she's done. : )  I'm glad she's had this opportunity and experience, though.

Wall Rd 13.1

(I know there are grandparents waiting for pictures from last night, I'll have them up, and videos later today)

I keep meaning to get these up and life just keeps happening and flying by so before they get buried, here's the pictures from last weeks 13.1 on the mountain. This is most of Brazen Racing's Diablo 13.1, minus the loop up Sunset (I ran odd out and backs and loops at the end to hit 13.1). The mountain is in it's "Beautiful" stage where things are green, flowers are blooming, and butterflies are everywhere.  We are heating up, so that green wont last long, but I always enjoy it for the few months we have it. Enjoy-
  I've gone over prints enough times you guys should be able to tell me what these are, hint- It's walking toward you in this picture.
 Below- ok, it's a cat. Bobcat, mixed with a side of deer. Bobcat came through first...cuz the deer print is on top.

 Don't be deceived by that 2.62 miles. It feels like 26.2 miles at points on a sunny, hot day.
 Castle Rock's rocks in the distance.
 One of the things I love about Wall Road is the trail stretches out like a ribbon across the length of the ridge.

 I don't always like seeing what lies ahead, though.
 Looking back is kinda fun.
 I wish you could tell how bright purple those bushes were against the green hill. It was amazing.

 Below, notice the beautiful green hills coming up.  I had never gone past Secret trail on Wall. That's usually where I cut down to BBQ the section from Secret to Rock City was new to me, and those green hills were stunning.  I didn't realize how close I'd get to them.....
 Pretty much ran smack into the bottom of them.
 Below, the rocks of Rock City are now visible, so I know I'm getting something.
 There's Rock City! That's the big rock with stairs carved into it the kids always want to climb...but haven't yet.
 I had no idea the section on Summit was so long. It's almost a mile from the end of Wall to the start of BBQ, which I didn't count on and was in a time crunch as the kids only have half a day of school the day I did this. Only a mile, but not a fast mile.
 Woo Hoo! I'm at the top of a long, steep at times, downhill run back to the car.  The dark ridge on the left is what Wall runs along the top of and if you look you can see bits of that ribbon of trail.  BBQ runs along the valley at the bottom of that same ridge.

 Well, it was a long, downhill suffer fest to the car after this picture. Probably wasn't my best idea to just "go run 13.1"....but it was exactly what I needed that day, and I felt so good afterwards!  I leave you with an orange hillside full of California Poppies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dropshots - Attempt #1

Ok, so this is the same link as before, but I'm using their site to directly post the link here on Blogger. It seems the common problem is that you click over from the links I give you, and there's a black and white screen with months and dates, but no pictures, and nothing happens when you click on things. Does that sound right to those of you having problems??  So this link is generated directly from their page, meant to be shared on Blogger.  Maybe it'll yield different results??

Let's see........

Monday, March 23, 2015

Myles of Smiles

I was in the school office the other day and spotted this on the wall.
He's feeling better today. We are headed out for a short bike ride to see how he does with some activity. I'd love to send him to school tomorrow : )

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Boy

This kid is going to do me in.  He's been coughing since Monday. He stayed home Monday and Tuesday. Went to school Wednesday, which is a half day, and did ok. He also had another Neurology appointment Wednesday. Went to school Thursday and when I picked him up he was super weak, pale, said he was dizzy.  Coughed all evening to the point of puking. So here's his symptoms, which come and go, fyi - dizzy, pale, fever but says he's cold and has goose bumps, cough - sometimes every few seconds, sometimes minutes in between, the cough is more frequent at night when he's laying down, so he also has not been sleeping, and low energy. After a few days of coughing, he started saying his stomach hurt, which I figured was from all the coughing. The coughing has made his tics way worse, so I also thought his tummy could be sore from clenching like it does when his body tics.  Anyway, so after sending him to school for two days (oops) I took him in today and he has Pneumonia.  There are worse things, and he'll be fine...but I swear this kid can't get a break!!

Pictures Galore!

I uploaded 577 pictures from the past few months on the family photo site. I know at least one of you has had issues viewing the Dropshots site. As far as I can tell, there are no privacy issues, no passwords required, no security issues with the site that would cause it to be blocked.  Here's a fresh link for you - Photos Here - let me know if any of you have problems viewing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Camper - 13.1 on the Wall/BBQ Loop

I had a sicko home for 2 days, totally blowing my running plans out of the water. Not to mention I could feel myself sinking into a pit of unhappiness. I had plans today, non running plans, but they had to be canceled. I know when I need to be outside....and today was one of those days. This was an awesome adventure. I hesitate to call it a run, as it involved a fair amount of hiking, crawling, and running....but really....that is trail running.  Believe it or not, I have never done Wall all the way to Rock City.  Nor Summit to BBQ Terrace, and nor the entire length of BBQ Terrace back to Stage. It was amazing.  You MUST click on this run to see the elevation profile...its epic. Like "climb a mountain and then fall off a cliff" epic!  I feel so good right now. Totally recharged. Totally happy. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

North Peak Road Climb

Here are the rest of the pictures from yesterday's adventure. This is from the point where North Peak Trail becomes North Peak Road. It's also where the real climb up North Peak begins...or so you think. The real climb is the last few hundred feet of the peak, hidden behind those rocks near the top.
And the climb begins. I'm heading up to those towers.
This is the view to your right as you climb North Peak.

Looking down what I've climbed so far, towards the summit in the background. The pictures in the previous post of North Peak Trail are all taken on the single track trail that makes it's way down the side of the hill you see below the summit.

If you have great eyes and look close, you can see bits of the trail on that hillside.

Back to climbing. Most of this climb is not nearly as bad as you think it would be when looking from far away. However, there is virtually no shade, and on a hot day it would be brutal.

Looking down to the left, you can see the mountain side that hides Bald Ridge Trail in it's scrub.

If you follow the ridge that come in from the left, you can see Bald Ridge in the distance. It's scrub on it's right side, and bald grassland on it's left. Bald Ridge Trail is not the fire road you see so pronounced, it's actually a beautiful, sometimes technical single track that runs through the scrub on the left, and comes out on top of the ridge right where it's half bald, half covered.

Back to climbing North Peak....

Another look at Bald Ridge. It's not the big guy in the back ground, that's Eagle Peak. Bald Ridge is the first little bump on the horizon if you follow the ridge line from the left of the picture. So starting far off in this pic, you have the quarry, then Eagle Peak, then the not bald side of Bald Ridge.
And...back to climbing.


 Not far to go, but it's brutal!

Looking down at Concord and Clayton.

Notice in the background there looks to be a white wall....of trail.

 The whole time I'm approaching this thing I'm realizing I can get up it ok, but how am I going to get back down it? Keep in mind pictures rarely capture the true feeling of how steep something is in real life. This was very, very steep. A 46% grade is no joke. Like, hands and feet in places going up....and sliding on your butt to get back down.

 How are the trail conditions, you ask?? That's broken up concrete with loose gravel on top, again, at a 46% grade.

 Looking down it from the top made me nauseous. I love steep trails. I love Mothers Trail, I love Burma...this is very different. I don't feel in danger on Mothers or Burma.  This one felt extremely unsafe. The thought of a 50k coming up this bit, but more importantly coming down me butterflies and heartburn at the same time.

 My face says it all. Super unflattering, but I felt really dumb for climbing up that last little bit and was about to wet myself contemplating how to get back down it.  But if you want to get to the gotta climb it. There are no alternate trails.

 Looking back at the summit.

 Holy cow. I did make it back down, but it wasn't pretty, and there was some butt sliding involved.

 These are shots at the very start of Bald Ridge Trail. It's that single track heading off into the woods.

I leave you with ground covered in flowers!  These trails are really beautiful right now. The views never get old, and minus the tip top of North Peak, very enjoyable!