Explore while hiking, then run it

Yesterday I took the girls up into the forest for an evening walk. We started down one of our favorite roads. I noticed that a side spur that before only went a few feet up a bank now appeared improved. We headed up the spur, and indeed a new road had been punched in. Probably last fall, when I was avoiding the forest during hunting season.
The flowers are gorgeous here, as they are just about anywhere at this elevation now. The road is native dirt. Some grass is starting to reclaim it. A wonderful surface for dogs and humans to traverse. While I might prefer single track, I'll take what I can get.
A peekaboo view of my humble hamlet from the road.
Indian Paintbrush with sunflowers. Lush, from all the recent rain.
I love the bark of Ponderosa pines.

After exploring up the road for about a mile, we turned back, saving the rest for another time.

Another time...like this morning! This time we went running. The farther we went, the older and narrower the road became. (I think the start of this spur was "improved" for an upcoming timber sale; the road has been there for years, but overgrown.) After an initial easy climb, it leveled off or even dropped down a bit, so the running was good. We all three were excited to have found a new place to play, although Maia got a little nervous when we saw fresh bear poop.
The end of the road. Literally. After about 2.5 miles and some minor bushwhacking through slide alder, the road simply ended. Probably because a bridge would be required to cross a large stream that runs year round. Bummer. It was so much fun.
As usual, Maia quickly took the lead as we turned back. That girl is never happier, in the forest, than when she knows exactly where we're going - back!
With about a half mile to go, back on the more recently improved (and thus more muddy) section of road, the clouds dropped their loads in the form of hail! You can see the white on the road. The girls were not pleased. I thought it was fun, reminding me of Seattle. I don't run in the rain - or hail - much since moving here.
Maia was very eager to get in the car and out of the hail. She's still got some beads of hail on her forehead. "Take me home! Now!"

It was a great run in the forest with the girls, the perfect way to start the day. I treasure each of these runs even more now that the girls are aging and not as able or eager to run long distances as in the past.