Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Trail Running through America Blog 7

A lot has gone on in the last week. I have seen a lot of places and done a lot of things! 

Day 22: I am headed out of Washington, headed towards Oregon where I will spend a few days. I spent some time on the google and found a random Mountain (I think it was George's Peak) that promised great views of Mt Rainier and Mount St Helens. It is cloudy and grey as I head out and up the mountain. As I am driving up I am thinking to myself, there are so many clouds I am not going to be able to see anything. But, I am already half way up the mountain on a crappy dirt road, so might as well stick it out and keep going. I am glad I did, because about 80% the way up, I was above the clouds looking at blue skies and gorgeous views. Seeing Mount St Helens was incredible!

 She is a beautiful mountain for sure. I couldn't find the trail I was looking for, so I ran on fire roads and around the peak of the mountain. At one point in time I wanted a better view, so I climbed up a huge rock formation (that was a little scary as it was high up and very narrow where I was standing). Waylon was not impressed and I had to get stern to make him stay at the bottom! But it was worth the view. Then I literally slid all the way back down on my feet and hands. Also, a little scary. 

Then I was headed down the mountain I got a great view of Mt. Rainier. I love that mountain! I kept the run short as it is a down week, got back in the car and headed to Bend, OR. 

Day 23: Okay, I have to back up a little to the night before. I had been sent a list of campgrounds from a friend of a friend and had two I wanted to check out. Like a jackass, however I didn't fill my gas tank while I was in Bend....so I definitely was worrying about running out of fuel as I drove farther and farther up into the mountains. First time this trip my gas tank had been below 1/4th tank. OOPS. haha Then, when I picked a campground, the campground host took a shine to me. He showed up at my camp site with free firewood, beer and an offer to do laundry. I thanked him for his kindness, but was just a bit cautious. Having a 80 pound dog with me does help in feeling safe.

Now onto the actual run. A guy on facebook had given me a suggestion of a trail to run, the Tumalo Falls trail. I am glad I took his advice. It was a nice trail, well groomed and with great views along the way. Waylon loved being able to play in the creek and the water flow was very pretty. Bend has trails on trails on trails. I want to return here at some point in time and spend a week or two. Mt. Hood is stunning and there are lakes and waterfalls everywhere. This is on the top 5 to return to list for sure! 

Once I finished up my run I hit the road again. No specific destination in mind, just wanted to get a few hours closer to Utah. 

I drove for 3 hours or so and found a campground in the middle of nowhere. It only had about 8 sites and basic services (a vault toilet, fire pit, and water) which is my favorite type of camp site. I got there early which was nice so I could set up camp, take Waylon to the creek right next to the site, and get a fire going with wood I collected nearby. It was a peaceful night reading a book and enjoying the campfire. 

Day 24: I would like to say I got up early, I did not. I slept in and tore down camp, grabbing Waylon and hitting the road. I knew I wanted to find somewhere to run along the way and eventually stopped at a random fire road in the mountains to grab a few miles. Well this fire road ended up connecting to a campground which then connected to a paved nature trail. Well, how about that... a random paved nature trail in the middle of nowhere connected to an even more rustic camp site than I had stayed at the night before. I got lucky! 

Day 25: I am in Salt Lake. My best friend moved here a little over a year ago and I haven't seen her at all in that time. So of course we had stayed up until 1 am... which means I slept in and it was 80* outside when I started my run and almost 90* when I finished. After input from some locals, I had gone up the the Big Cottonwood Canyon (which is 2 miles from Sara's house) and did a loop that went around 2 lakes, through some meadows, and through some woods. The first 3-4 miles were a climb, I mean, just 3.5 miles of up. 

I started at 7,200 feet of elevation and went to 9,500 feet. That is the highest I have been yet on this trip. I was sucking wind for sure! I ran into a few runners, a few mountain bikers, and a gazillion hikers! Since this is a down week, I did 12 miles and was happy to do so.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying some down time! 

Day 26: Okay, I am doing 20 today. Meeting up with a local runner, Mike, in the Lower Cottonwood Canyon. We are going to start at ski resort at the top of the mountain and loop around. We started at 8,000 feet and topped out at 10,567 feet . OY VEY! I got dizzy at one point because the air was so thin, but was able to work through it and get through the run. 

I finally saw MOOSE! I have had 3 bear encounters, a lot of deer, and a few snakes, but no moose. We were only .5 miles into the run when we ran into 3 not more than 50 feet off the trail. We also had a big ole deer standing 10 feet from us that didn't feel the need to move. Closest I have come to one in awhile. We ran through Catherine's pass, up Sentinel mountain, around the based of Devil's Castle, and to Mt Baldy. Mike is a great running partner, sharing the history of the area, the names of the different moutains and making sure that I am not dying from the elevation. We went around a little lake called Secret Lake, turns out this is a popular hiking destination... I can see why. It is a pretty little lake surrounded 360* by mountains. Mike had to cut out after that and offered to tell me more trails to take to get my 20. I said I was more than happy cutting my run in half. The truth is, I am tired. I have been climbing mountains for almost 4 weeks, and I am starting to get some mental burn out. Physically I am good, legs don't hurt, everything feels good...but I am getting burned out. 

Then I got to spend the rest of the day with Sara, her husband Mark, their baby Wolfy, and Sara's niece and nephew at the pool. While the kids swam, Sara and I ran a few more miles, then joined them in the pool. I haven't been to a pool in years, and had a blast playing with the kids, even though my runners tan lines were wickedly made fun of.

Then Sara and I made a batch of Coronaritas and spent the evening catching up, drinking, and singing country songs, very possibly at the top of our lungs. heehee 

Day 27: HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY! I was supposed to meet up with a local runners to run a loop through the LCC, but I had messaged them the day before to back out. I need a break from the mountains. The kids wanted to go to the pool again, so Sara and I grabbed our running shoes to run while they swam. Sara is still coming back from having her baby, so today's run is her longest yet. We did 5 miles, running through the neighborhood and around the park. It is amazing that here in Salt Lake you just have to look around and you see gorgeous mountains. It is a trail runners paradise, if you don't mind living in SLC. Me, personally, could never live here. But I am enjoying visiting. 

The rest of the day was spent playing in the pool with the kids, taking a nap, and then setting off fireworks with the kids and watching the shows. A friend of Sara and Mark's has a house that overlooks the entire valley that SLC is in, so we could see half a dozen firework shows from his balcony. It was kind of awesome. 

Day 28: I need a rest day. Physically I am fine, not sore, not stiff. I just need a break for a day. A day to catch up on the blog, transfer my photo's and just chill. I will be back at it soon enough. 

So whether you be on mountains or roads, Happy Running!