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It’s Official - Mud Season Is Here

By Ann Driggers

Now brace yourselves. This is going to be a bit of a shocker. I actually spent one day of my weekend not skiing. Yep that’s right, NOT skiing! Instead I went trail running. Or rather trail slopping, slipping and sliding. The warm temperatures that have trashed the snowpack and turned me away from the mountains until the next storm, have also created a muddy, icy, snowy mess of our beautiful high desert trails. However, I was oblivious until Tikka and I set off to do one of our favorite runs on Saturday morning.

Devils Canyon trail in the McInnis Canyons NCA

devils feb 100.JPG 

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area has many great trails including mine and Tikka’s favorite, the Devils Canyon loop. At about 7 miles with 800 feet of climbing over rolling terrain it’s a great little run. Plus it follows the stream for at least a mile so there’s plenty of water for dogs. And the scenery is outstanding. After the first short stretch of graveled and dry trail we dipped into the canyon narrows. The floor of the canyon was either rock or ice, not a bad running surface, though Tikka was a little disappointed at finding her wallowing holes frozen over. But as soon as we climbed out of the canyon floor, up into P & J (pinyon and juniper) country, the trail became a slick and gloppy mess.

Tikka doesn't care about the mud.

devils feb 090.JPG 

Alternating between ice, snow, mud, and occasionally, but not enough, dry single track, I tentatively skidded my way around the loop. Tikka, of course, couldn't have cared less. Although I didn’t get my usual work out, the slow going was a great excuse to stop often, cast my eyes up the towering red rock canyon walls and poke around the old sheep herders cabin at the trails turning point.

Old sheep herders cabin towards the head of the canyon.

devils feb 096.JPG

It seems mud season has officially begun. So if you go out, be prepared. Have the garden hose at the ready for your return. It will likely take as long to clean up as it does to run the trail. As for me, this 'not skiing' malarky doesn't sit well in winter. Hurry up storm, we need more powder.

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