Winter trail running, Washington style

The morning of January 7th I took Finn for a quick run at Cougar Mountain, about 15 minutes from our new residence in Bellevue. I've spent many happy hours running here over the years, as have the girls. I wanted to show Finn around. The girls, I knew, would not appreciate the wet weather, or the distance I wanted to cover, so they stayed home.

Finn's separation anxiety is so high that he simply can't tolerate me being out of sight. Even at home, he is just now at the point where he'll remain in one room if I move to another, rather than following me. But at the Cougar Mountain trail head, I knew he'd be anxious if I disappeared into the Port-a-potty, so I took him inside with me. Not much room. Good thing he's relatively small.

Right away we crossed a creek. Thankfully a bridge exists, high enough to allow us across even with the extremely high water levels due to flooding all across the state. I did not want to get my feet wet in such cold water so early in the run.

About 50 feet after crossing that bridge is a trail intersection. We wanted to go this way. We didn't. You can sort of see, underwater, a graveled portion of the trail. There shouldn't be a stream or pond here!

Following the Red Town Trail, we came to another small bridge over a stream. The stream runs through two big culverts here, and they were barely handling the volume. I was glad Maia wasn't with us. In the past, with normal stream flow, she delighted in going through these "tunnels" with lots of laughing and encouragement from me and friends. I would have been horrified if she had tried to play that game on this day.

Finn sitting on this same bridge. I informed him that the sign warned of cougars and bears. He's keeping a lookout.

A beautiful waterfall seen through the moss-covered tree trunks and ferns.

We're not in Idaho anymore, Finn-MacCool! It looks like a rain forest! Even in winter, the trails are lush with green undergrowth, covered in dead leaves. Lots of rocks and roots to trip us up. I'm having to adjust my trail running technique, picking my feet up a little higher while paying much closer attention to foot placement.