Thursday, June 23, 2016

Trail Running Across America Blog 5

The Transition from MT to WA

So I LOVED Montana. I mean, I LOVED it! Get the seriousness of the love? The mountains, the people, the town. All of it was just amazing. However, my wanderlust had set in, and I was ready to see my friend in Washington, so it was time to go.

Day 13: This is my last run in Montana. So I wake up, pack up the tent (which I am getting seriously good at) and make my way back to Rattlesnake Recreation Area. Now, when I woke up I noticed that I was way way way stiff. You see, during my last marathon training season I got really good at stretching, but on this trip I have been really bad at it. So I wrote myself a little post it note to stretch every day and stuck in on my stereo in my car as a reminder. 

Now, back to the run. There are a multitude of trails of here, and I would like to find an easy one to do with Waylon. I found one that was a gently incline, much different than the mountain climbing I had done the past two days, and set out. Just an easy 6 mile out and back.  At one point I made myself a little arrow so that I could find my way back, and not take a random off shoot trail and add goodness knows how much mileage.
 This run had 717 feet of gain... which at this point is like nothing. Waylon got to duck into the little creek, which he loved and we just easily jaunted along. No rush, just a recovery run.
When I got back to the car, I read my note, got out my mat and my resistance band and dutifully stretched under a tree for ten minutes before I got into my car.

Now my goal was to get to Idaho and run there. I had put out the word to the local community in the Couer D'Alene area but hadn't heard back yet, so I got online and found a campground that was about 1.5 hours north of that area. It said it was right on Priest Lake (YA for W!) and had two trail heads just a stone throw away, plus another dozen or so within a few miles. Sounds good to me. So, we drive up there, find the campground... and it is everything promised and more. It. Is. A. Stunning Rustic campground that is surrounded by big beautiful trees and moss covered grounds. Beaver Creek Campground.


Now, admittedly the guy running the place is a little, shall we say, odd. But, I assume if you live your life in a camper running a rustic campground, that is bound to happen. I get camp set up and immediately take Waylon down to the lake where he gets to play fetch in the water. He loses the stick a few times, which means I had to wade my happy ass out into the lake, but it is warm enough that it isn't a issue. After playing fetch for quite a while, we head back to our camp site where I build a fire, make some dinner and enjoy drinking a nice summer shandy by the fire with my book and my dog. I could make that picture into a post card. For Real.

Day 14: I slept it, I think my body needed the extra sleep. Once I get up and I get Waylon loaded into the car, we head to one of the trail heads. We pick the Navigation trail. I am only going to run 4 miles. We will call it a rest day. :-) This is a nice little trail, heavily wooded.

I am cautious as my little odd campground manager made sure to tell me multiple times that they are on grizzly bear watch and there are signs posted about how to tell the difference between a Grizzly and a Black Bear. (luckily I know this already growing up in Wyoming). For those of you that don't know, grizzly bears have a hump and longer claws and are a whole lot fricking meaner. Like, they will destroy you! So avoid at all costs! (Actually, since there has been multiple instances in Yellowstone...Lets make a PSA here... It is NEVER a good idea to approach or touch a wild animal.)

We do a few easy miles and then get in the car, we are headed to Washington. I put on season 2 of Serial and head across the state.

As I get into Washington I am just awed by the beauty of the mountains I am driving through. Then, as I come through Snoqualmie Pass I get my first glimpse of Mt. Ranier, I can't not adequately describe the sense of aw I felt looking at it for the first time. It is majestic.

I finally get to Julie's house is Pullyap where I am greeted with a wonderful welcome package for me and Waylon. She knows us well, a rope, a ball, a bottle of wine, coffee, chocolate and gum. My favorite things. Julie plops down a huge map and a book full of routes to run and I get to planning.  We spend some time catching up and then I take my worn out ass to bed.

Day 15: Wake up, stretch, make some coffee, let's get this day started. One nice thing about being based at someones house for this part of the adventure is a.) a bed, and b.) breakfast. Like real breakfast. Jeramy has made peach pancakes. Delicious.

Today I am running Cougar Mountain. It is about an hour drive, which goes smoothly getting there. I get parked and start in. I climb for 1.5 miles. It is so very green. Now, I have been running in the mountains for 2 weeks, I should be used to lot of green. Nope, this is a different type of green. Everything is green. The trees are covered in bright green moss, the ground is covered in beautiful green foliage, everything is just green. It is stunning.

During the run I come upon a lot of hikers, who look at me like I have lost my damn mind for running up the hills and through the mountain. I cheerily state good morning and keep upon my merry way.

At one point in time I accidently turn right instead of left. Okay, honesty time, I maybe did the same thing in the same spot twice. haha So I ran a little loop twice until I figured it out. Just for fun I took a picutre of a slug, this isn't something you find on the East Coast, or even in the west really. Needless to say it got a lot of funny reaction on the social media sites.

Overall it was a great run. 10 miles with 2700 feet of gain. Not too shabby. I spend the rest of the night relaxing with my friends and playing with Waylon. He loves having a yard to play in! Tomorrow we are going north to Bellingham in the evening to run up there. So I will take W to the sound to go play in the water during the day. I am sure he will love it!

Hopefully you are enjoying your own adventure, whether it be roads or trails! Happy Running!

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