Okay, here's a picture that matches today's story. I rode my bike up to Horseshoe Lake and changed into my running shoes where the pavement stopped. The gate is closed to car traffic on Sundays so no vehicles and their dust clouds to deal with. Just happy people walking or jogging with their dogs and / or pushing kids in jogging strollers.
The lure of the hiking trail pulled me off of the dirt road after about 10 minutes. The trail follows Big Chico Creek and it's shaded pretty well with the riparian trees and brush. Also makes for a more challenging, exciting run. Plenty of rocks to navigate. On a narrow wooded trail the sense of motion is different, and you don't think so much about how far you're trying to go because where you're at takes so much concentration. We've hiked on that trail a few times and I've always meant to come back and run it. The trail run segment was pretty short today though, for a couple reasons. Didn't want to overdo my I.T. band on the uneven trail (lots of rocks, up & downhill places, etc supposedly aggravate the problem). The other reason was Bear Hole. Bear Hole is one of several fine swimming holes along the creek--fine if there aren't two dozen college kids parked there with coolers and portable stereos making a day of it. The picture here was taken near Bear Hole last June, when the water was really high, but that's what the area looks like. I got to the Bear Hole parking area and just had to look down at the creek. Then I had to climb down the basalt rocks, take off my shoes and jump in. The cold water was good for my I.T. band. A few minutes later I was back on the trail. Ran for a total of about 35 minutes. Knee didn't hurt a bit. Maybe trail running and creek soak is exactly what it needs. I'm also energized by the arrival of autumn. So glad to be living in a place where the change of seasons is a real, though gentle, phenomenon, as opposed to Raining or Not Raining. Weather has cooled at least 15 degrees in the last couple weeks and there is a perceptible change in the light.