Spring Flowers, Bear Tracks and Running (Fast!) at Hildebrand Ranch Park.

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Spring Flowers, Bear Tracks and Running (Fast!)  at Hildebrand Ranch Park.

This morning I met my running group for a lovely sunny Spring run on the Two Brands Trail in Hildebrand Ranch Park.   This newer trail in Littleton is accessible from my neighborhood of  Trailmark and from a parking lot on Deer Creek Canyon Road.    This time of year,  the grasses are low and the rattlesnakes  have not yet appeared in the relatively cool weather.   A perfect time to hike, run or bike this five mile loop!  Today’s idyllic four mile jog brought to mind another similar expedition in June 2015 which followed a Seattle-like rainy May in Colorado.   That morning, we reveled in the sea of colorful wildflowers and ambled much of the way taking photos and posing  — until we saw the bear tracks on the trail.

Fortunately, we didn’t see the bear tracks until after we turned around.   We’d run about 30 minutes out and had turned around to head back down the hill to our cars. I was the first to see the bear paw prints in the dirt and alerted the others.   Geez — there was bear somewhere nearby and it had trotted along the same path we had run on for about a quarter of a mile!   We knew the bear probably wouldn’t bother us as long as we were noisy.   So we talked and concentrated on finishing our run — fast!   We all laughed how normally we might slowing down on the last leg of a run but not today.    Being one of the slower runners in the bunch, I focused on keeping a brisk pace and not being the last one.  Nothing like a bear to motivate a slow jogger!

Whew!   We all made it to our cars safely with a load of beautiful photos and a lot to talk about at our post-run coffee klatch!

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