Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Beautiful Saturday In Missoula

If only I could sleep in!  But the sun comes up early at this northern latitude and as soon as my body senses sunlight, no matter how good the room darkening curtains are, no amount of tossing and turning will get me back asleep.

But all is good, as I had plans for this morning.  There's an osprey nest here in Missoula just little more than a mile up river from where I'm staying.  I've been following the nest activity on Cornell Lab's webcam for three seasons and have watched the wonderfully skilled parenting of Iris and Stanley Osprey as they've raised their chicks to fledge each summer.  Stanley's fishing and providing skills are superb, bringing huge trout and suckers and other fish back to the nest with such regularity that sometimes portions of fish go uneaten as the chicks fall asleep in a full-tummy coma.  It's addictive and informative watching this nest cam.

When I knew I'd be coming to Missoula to run the half marathon in July, a plan I'd booked last fall, I promised myself I'd get over to see that nest in person.  This morning the early rise was a good thing.   The walk to the nest is 1.3 miles each way and I wanted to get started early in the day, before it got too hot.

 The walk was pleasant and it gave me a chance to scout the route for the group dinner later today, as I'd be passing right by the dinner location.  Though the sun was high in the sky with promise of a hot day later, there was a nice breeze coming down through Hellgate Canyon.
Hellgate Osprey Nest Pole Just Right of Building

Before I knew it, I was at the nest location, a tall pole with platform on top, right next to the Clark Fork River.  I had goose bumps when I realized that I was actually seeing the nest relatively up close and in person.  Iris, the mom Osprey, was standing on the edge of the nest, scanning the sky and land around her while the three chicks in the nest - now adolescents - could occasionally be seen when they'd pop up out of the deep nest to look around.  I stood there for maybe 15 minutes just oberving and taking photos, but also hoping I'd hear Iris call to Stanley which she does when it's time to feed the chicks.  I was also hoping that Stanley would show up, fish in talons.  Alas, he didn't while I was there.  That would have been an even bigger thrill if he had.

Iris perched on the edge of her nest on the left side, overseeing her chicks

Reluctantly, I turned to go, looking back over my shoulder periodically just in case Stanley showed up.  When I was far enough back, within view of the camera angle, I waved several times for those who were logged in and watching the live feed, then walked back toward the hotel.

I dropped my purse off at the hotel room and then continued on to the race expo at Caras Park to pick up my race packet, check out the vendors and perhaps grab a light snack.  To  my delight, there was a very large farmers market going on adjacent to Caras Park.

 A stunnIng display of radish varieties!

 Fresh huckleberries...not cheap, but so delicious!

I love this!  A lettuce bunch peeking out of a backpack!

I browsed my way along, enjoying all of the gorgeous fresh produce, honey, baked goods, and other natural products for sale.  In so many of my race travels I've been fortunate to experience and enjoy local farmers' markets...Wilkes Barre, Las Cruces, Scottsdale, Parkersburg, and now Missoula.

A delightful little bluegrass ensemble was playing, which suited the atmosphere of the market perfectly.

The produce was just breathtaking for its size, freshness, and beauty!  Much of it was cool weather, early season vegetables...spinach, carrots, radishes, wide variety of lettuces, cabbage, bok choy, peas, sugar peas, beets...  Oh, my!  If I didn't have a race to run in the morning, I would have purchased an array of vegetables and made myself a salad for lunch/dinner today and tomorrow.  Most runners learn to keep the diet low in fiber for a couple of days leading up to a race...ahem.  Such a shame!  But I am still working on that pound bag of fresh cherries!

Finally I tore myself away from the market and plunged into the crowd at the fitness expo.  It was packed!  I looked up my bib number, stood in line to get my bib and then in another line to pick up my race shirt.

Then it was absolutely jammed as I tried to move through the one-way routing past all the exhibitors toward the exit under the pavilion.  Huge clumps of folks were socializing, meeting and greeting, not really visiting the vendors.

I did manage to find the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs table, where I chatted briefly with the Gear Guy, before moving on through the crowds.

Lots of cute dogs..big one and small ones, and plenty of race shirts from past events being worn by the folks who were there to get their race packets.  It just never occurs to me to do this!  I suppose I have a few shirts in my collection that would stand out as being unique or "exotic."

It was getting close to lunch time and the lines were long at the various vendors serving food, so I walked back to the hotel and sat on the patio having a hamburger, fries, and downing plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Yesterday, I walked across the bridge to a funky little neighborhood just on the other side, where I found an interesting yarn shop - Joseph's Coat.  I browsed the local yarns section, but was having a hard time getting excited, knowing I had accumulated quite a yarn stash back home.  Perhaps if the proprietress had been a bit more engaging, I might have been convinced to make a purchase.

Across the street was a great little bakery, Bernice's, where I had a ham and cheese sandwich on a freshly baked baguette, and then picked up a couple of cupcakes to bring back to my room for post-race celebration.  I'm having a hard time this afternoon resisting them.  Must wait, must wait...!

Back in my room, feet up in front of a movie.

Tomorrow morning, very early (!)....race day!

1 comment:

  1. What fun to wander through the farmer's market. I'd have a hard time resisting all the fresh fruit and veggies.

    And the cupcakes, yummy. I bet those taste good after the race today.

    Fingers crosed you place and get a medal too.