I stayed in town this weekend and set out to run the trails both Saturday and Sunday. I chose two different areas north of the valley. Saturday I ran a 10-mile out-and-back on the Gooseneck trail, starting from Tom's Thumb trailhead. Talk about smooth! This trail is like running on a nice, crushed gravel walkway with very little elevation gain or descent. I think I averaged close to a 7:00/minute mile pace for most of the run.
I took the advice from my buddy Ryan and started a 14-mile loop on Sunday from the Apache Wash trailhead in north Phoenix. He said to run the Ocotillo/Sidewinder loop, so I did exactly that. This trail system was developed just a few years ago and has quickly become a weekend hotspot for mountain bikers. Not my preferred trail companions, but they have just as much right to be there as anyone else. Unseasonably warm temperatures made for an early start, even at 6:30am there were numerous people out and ready to go. Another reason I wanted to get off the pavement and into the desert was the early rattlesnake activity happening this year. I was hoping to see some up close in the more remote areas of the preserve. After I finished my run this morning I had pretty much given up...until I began driving away from the AW trailhead. I spotted a diamondback in the road with oncoming traffic approaching quickly. I made a u-turn and threw on my hazards, then I jumped out of my Jeep and stood in the road to deter the cars from running him over. I was excited to see my first rattlesnake this year and even happier to get him to safety.