On Sunday 16 September Bob and I went to run this route again.  We left off the spur at the end that took me last week all the way to Big Otter Lake, but ran from the parking lot, took the north branch on the Lost Creek-East Pond Trail, then back East on the Big Otter East Trail.  14 miles in all, but it took a  lot longer than that, I can just assure you right now.

I drove to Bob's house at 0500 to pick him up, but he offered to drive, so I put the cooler and my bag in his truck and off we went.  Bob was seeing flying cups (not saucers) on the way through Canastota, but we finally realized it was just the slimmest sliver of moon, rising in the east just ahead of the sun.  The bottom edge of the moon was being backlit by the sun.  It looked something like a cup.  Not a saucer.

We stopped in Utica on the way to get a coffee re-fill, some water, and Bob had a doughnut.  We had to have "regular" coffee - they didn't have any coffee for guys like me ("weirdo".)  Back on the road, we saw a beautiful sunrise as the sky began to get light.

I've been to this trailhead twice before.  Last week, when I hiked this trail, there was a van there when I got there (in the dark) but I think the people were sleeping in it, because no one was signed in at the register, and it was gone when I left, and I never saw anyone on the trail.  I had been there for a weekend backpack before, and there were no vehicles in the lot.

Not today.  Today, it was the second day of bear hunting season, and there were about a dozen pickups there, plus a small house trailer, plugged into a running generator.  There were lights on inside, and a guy came out smoking a cigarette.  There were several bags of trash outside it.  I think it's illegal to camp at a trailhead or parking lot.  But since they all had big guns, and I had none, I let it go.  This time.

It was 31 degrees when Bob and I got there.  We stripped down to our running clothes.  I was going to run in a long sleeved black turtle neck.  Since it was bear hunting season, and there were lots of guys around with big guns, I decided to leave on a white tee shirt with a US flag on the front.  I haven't seen bears wearing those this season.  We took two pint bottles of water to drop at the trail junction so we'd have water on the way back.  Plus, I had my bottle holder belt with a little pack on it, and I had some Clif bars, life savers, map, trail guide, paper towels, etc.

Bob signed us in at the trail register and counted 14 guys in headed for "bear country," wherever that was (I never saw it marked on the map.)

We started out, and Bob had business to attend to right away, so I took off with the water bottles, since they were room temperature and my hands were freezing, I was using them to warm my hands up.  I was thinking about all the hunters, thinking that if I heard a gun go off I should drop to the ground immediately.  I was concentrating on listening for a gun, and I wasn't paying too much attention, when out of the corner of my eye, what should I see?

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