2014-10-05 - Northern Southern Walnut Creek Trail

~10 miles @ ~11.8 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Austin_Sunrise_Walnut_Creek_Trail.jpg"Fat Cat", a friendly orange neighborhood tabby, rolls about taking a dust bath at the end of my Mother's driveway in northeast Austin. He chases me for half a block, then turns back. A little after 6am "the stars at night /are big and bright / deep in the heart of Texas". A cold front makes lovely low temperature and humidity. At a convenience store on the corner of Loyola St and Manor Rd the marquee reads, "CHICKEN - WINGS - GIZZARD - LIVER - BURRITOS - FISH" — not too vegetarian-friendly. Another mile down the road a pickup truck idles in the Jack In The Box drive-through lane. Tempting, but a leftover Krispy Kreme donut was already an unhealthy enough breakfast!

Approaching Walnut Creek I cast about trying to find the new bikepath-trail entrance without success. Further down the street, however, there it is. In the darkness my headlamp picks up blue and green sparkles on the ground. Pause, lean close, and they turn into tiny glinty-eyed spiders. An owl hoots and a rooster crows. Silver eyes blink from a tree trunk, then take flight and swoop across the trail. A bat? Another one dips and soars by. Half a mile north five pairs of larger eyes retroreflect as they bob just above the path: dogs, with the couple who own them, out for a walk as dawn begins.

Clouds move in as the sky brightens. Near the trail just before Daffan Lane little houses sit beside fields of stubble. In front of one stand jugs of water, paper cups, chairs, a map, and a sign: "Say 'HI' to David The Friendly Farmer who is making this Way Station possible!" I drink, take photos, put $2 into the donation box for the Ghisallo Foundation.

The path turns east, and at Johnny Morris Rd I head southwest to close the loop and begin the return journey home. An inadvertent trek across a muddy swale turns Nike "Free" minimalist slipper-shoes into heavy maxi-padded clogs. The trail curves back downhill to rejoin Walnut Creek, and I accelerate to make up time spent taking photos of the sunrise. Splits by the GPS: 13:47 + 11:52 + 10:55 + 11:44 + 13:54 + 11:57 + 14:50 + 9:29 + 10:25 + 9:03 (see official map of Southern Walnut Creek Trail). Runkeeper records today's route.

Footnotes: during the 2014-04-01 - East Austin Loop run the "intermittent sidewalks under construction make for tricky footing by Daffan Lane" were part of Southern Walnut Creek Trail still under construction. 2014-07-22 - Austin Texas Walnut Creek Trail Segment was my trek along the SWCT in the other direction from Loyola Lane.

^z - 2014-10-25