Fulfilling the need to run, burn calories, melt the stress molecules, and escape the confines of four walls, I purchased a headlight. A really, really expensive one (Petzl Nao). It may become an inheritance item............
I had been chasing the fading daylight as the calendar edged into the end of the blistering heat of summer and into the fall season. When fall strides our direction and the temperature finally dips below three digits we notice the light switch quickly dims and turns off. Arizona does not have daylight savings. While not the 3:30 sunset time I survived in Southeast Alaska, we do lose that extra hour of sun. Shouldn't we change the time frame to get less sunlight during the summer? Just asking...
On the run tonight I saw eighteen sets of spherical bodies. Ok, most of these were drowsy, less than motivated deer. Not real earthshaking. Oddly, there were two sets of eyes that I could not identify. One was from a distance, gazing hungarily at the lone runner. Or was he or she just bored?
I spotted a medium sized critter to the left of the ranch road that had become an important part of my daily existence. I got closer and pulled out my trusty camera for...a missed shot. I followed the animal. Did I mention that it looked like a baby mountain lion? Was he or she leading me back to mom? Or was it a cat? I would not expect a cat to be well within the confines of a rugged desert landscape, with a darkness enveloping the terrain. But, I guess I have ended up in places that are not well suited for humankind.
Did I mention how dark it was out?
Moon making its entrance behind the Catalina Mountains
The new adjustment of running at night, chasing unknown animals and the solitude and joy of running through the desert well after the sun has set, has been a novel and rather amazing experience. The weekend runs, sans darkness, feel unusual to a degree.
I would leave the roaming 'critter' and head to the end of the trail and enter a stretch of asphalt. A grunt up a steep hill and I am on top of the world. Or, at least, the top of the Tucson valley. It is the highest road (besides the Mt. Lemmon highway) in the area. I would gather a sensational view of Catalina, Oro Valley and part of the metropolitan kingdom of Tucson.
As I neared the end of the varied and beautiful loop run, I would see yet, another unidentified animal. The sun was tapping on the jagged mountain lines above me, so I had a better look at this critter, but, it was from a farther distance. What the heck was that?