Our longest weekday training runs are now up to 8 miles. Because it is so hot every day, I choose to run before work. In order to get 8 miles in before I need to leave on my commute, I need to start when it is just beginning to get light. One of the side effects of this is the abundance of wildlife taking the same advantage of the cooler temperatures in the early morning hours. Today was a classic example of this.
While running up the Mesa Trail behind our house, Melanie was kicking my ass up the hill as usual when she suddenly stopped. She claimed she saw a Big Black Bear (BBB). I saw what she was looking at about 150 yards away, and we could 'bear-ly' make out a large black head sticking up above the grass. We watched him for a short while before deciding to continue on our way. The catch here was that the BBB was on the trail above us, around a switchback. We ran up the trail to where we could look straight up the trial at the BBB, now about 40 yards away. It looked at us, ate some more vegetation on the side of the trail, and began slowly walking at us. We slowly backed up, and the BBB wandered off the trail and up the hill.
This was the second time I've seen a black bear in the hills behind our house, and I look forward to seeing more as we continue our early morning runs!