On March 15, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Meghan

(Green grass patches emerging from snow, in the hills above Gardiner, MT)

Although the ground was still layered with a few new inches of snow, it was melting fast and I was just sure I would see green grass along my run today. I took the grand risk of carrying my camera, which could have easily ended up being very expensive padding for my hand should I take one of my predictable tumbles. I set out with my camera in a plastic baggie and the plan of tossing it gently into a sagebrush if I tripped. Luckily, I didn’t have to employ my contingency plan, and I saw a few patches of green grass along the way!

I also happened upon two freshly dead-thing carcasses. One appeared to be a naturally dead elk, what’s called winter kill, that succumbed to winter’s harshness right on a forest service trail. The other was the mutilated remnants of a bison, its pooled blood and guts oozing into a forest service road. It was undoubtedly shot (roadside, but legally) by an Indian hunter, since it was missing crucial body elements deemed valuable by those folks, including its two back legs, head, and hide (I believe that the Indians’ hunting practices are dangerous for the rest of us who recreate on national forest land. Many of their legal hunting practices are illegal for all other Montanans, simply because of the danger factor. This topic is so large that it could fill another blog entry, one that I’ll probably never write because the topic is also hugely controversial. However, if I ever get shot out there by one of the Indian hunters, could someone write that blog post on my behalf?). The carcasses were gross, and smelly, and, thankfully, only being fed upon by a dozen or so ravens. I was lucky that nothing else was around (namely the awakening grizzly bears).

Between the green grass and the winter kill carcass, spring has really sprung!


7 Responses to “Sprung!”

  1. JeffO says:

    The deer in Colorado are doing the same as your last post – they’re at the end of their rope. They’re coming down into towns and crossing roads with reckless abandon. It’s like their tiny brains are thinking, “Oh well, if I stay up in the high snow I’ll starve to death. At least down there there’s a slight chance. They’re so weak and lethargic it takes a lot to get them to react, and then they do so slowly.
    Spring is so close, but for very many it won’t be soon enough.
    Don’t get et’ by any hungry griz!

  2. Danni says:

    The dead things are especially gross when one of the dogs you are running with appears happily with rotting animal parts.

    That’s really disturbing about the Bison. I didn’t know that. And yeah, the grizzlies are probably waking up and ready to eat the winter harvest.

  3. Alisha says:

    Please don’t get shot…

    Anyway, this is completely unrelated but seeing as how you’ve mentioned travels to the Grand Canyon on more than one occasion, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about going to the North Rim. It’s on behalf of a coworker here in Spain, who is planning a trip to the US (danged exchange rate). If you have some time, shoot me an email (ducktape [at] and I’ll write you back with some questions. Thanks! Keep runnin’

  4. Bob Gentile says:

    huh Spring might be a Sprung’ng where u are at but yesterday I ran 2 hours in 90 degrees —grrrrr so we ummm “sprung” some summer temps already (sigh))))

    Good news is today is cooler and this week seem back to low 80’s

    Be safe out there and protect that camera … love the gentle camera toss idea before you take ur fall–LOL

  5. The Salty One says:

    I grew up on the shores of Lake Erie and I distinctly remember those first warmish sunny spring days, the melting ice, and the stench of dead fish. Strangely, it would get all us neighborhood kids excited that soon we could go swimming!

    Invest in some orange shirts!

  6. Journey to a Centum says:

    Other than the fact that the Griz will probably be coming out of their sleepy slumber the signs of spring are evident by your photos.

    You shouldn’t run with your full sized Digital SLR with the mega zoom big honking lens. You need a petite camera like mine. Your camera safety contingency plan sounds like Rob’s cougar plan. He’s never come across a cougar on the trails but he has all kinds of cougar moves he plans on using if he does.

    That winter kill and entitlement kill are good reminders to keep your eyes peeled and start running with some bear spray or a 50 caliber handgun. At least with the gun you could shoot back if Hopefully your dog won’t be dragging any animal parts home.

  7. Meghan says:

    Happy Monday, everyone!

    JeffO- It’s kind of sad that they are all at the ends of their ropes, yes?

    Danni- I know it! One time in Texas, my dog brought me a fetal javelina that has apparently been naturally aborted on the edge of my backyard. How’s that for gross?

    Alisha- I try very hard on a daily basis to not get shot! Thanks! And, I emailed you.

    Bob- Oooh, does that ever make me jealous! I hope you got a tan on your 2 hour run for me.

    Salty- Now that’s an image: kids excited over a dead fish stench. Ah, childhood memories!

    Eric- I do run with a tiny camera (It just zooms well and even has a macro setting.)! Rob and I should compare notes. When I was living in Tanzania, my friends and I had ridiculous contingency plans in case we saw lions while out running. Luckily, that never happened.

    Have a great week, everyone!

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