Saturday, November 11, 2017

Moab 200

Moab 200

On Oct 12 at 6am I was standing at the starting line for the Moab 200. This is a 237 mile running event that travels in one loop through the mountains, valleys and plains around Moab Utah. It gains ~30,000 ft. of climbing over this distance. The high point on the route is 10.500 ft.
When I menschen that I have done this, I can tell most people do not have a reference for what I have done. To help with this, many years ago I completed a 50k run. The next year I completed a 50 mile run. The following year I completed a 100k run. I year or two latter I completed a 100 mile run. A year or two latter I completed two 100 mile runs one month apart. In 2011 I completed four 100 mile run in a three month period. Two years later I did one 100 mile run each year till 2016 and I did my first 200 mile run, Bigfoot 200. As you can imagine I did many training runs to get myself ready for each year’s goal.
To get ready for Moab, I did many solo, self-supported training runs in the cascades. The pinnacle of these training runs was a 100+ miler up by Ross Lake called Sourdough Suffer fest on the Ultra Pedestrian Wilderness Challenge FB page.
At 6am in Moab Utah in Oct it is quite cold. I am wearing many clothes I know I will be taking off very soon as the sun rises and I warm up from the running I will be doing. I have to carry with me what I will need to survive from aid stations to aid station at distances up to 22 miles apart. The temps I will encounter will range from teens to 80 with varying wind speeds. I can place items in drop bags that will be waiting for me at each aid stations that allow them. I have a crew of John with will meet me at some of the aid stations along the way
It is a little after 6 and I am running with the pack of 136 other people. In the beginning of each race I seek out the pace I wish to be at. It is single track and we are jockeying for our place to be at our pace.  As predicted, I have to stop two times to remove clothes and each time has to reestablish my place in the line. The first aid station, Hurrah is 15 miles out.  The running is easy and we are all finding our place and pace.

After Hurrah, it is 18.7 miles to Breaking Bad. It is getting warm now and there is a constant wind. I am not sweating due to the low humidity and wind. I have to be careful to keep the pace slow and remember to keep drinking. I have 90 oz. of water on me leaving Hurrah. I play a game of guessing where the trail goes next. The trail goes in and out of each draw as we contoured around this amazing beautiful terrain. There is no water out here. I wonder how the native people and explorers of past time survived.

I enter Breaking Bad out of water. Each of the people I pass by is experiencing the same thing. Luckily for me it was only the past 10 min. I fill up water wishing I had my second bottle stashed in a drop bag ahead. It is 22 miles to Hamburger Rock the next aid station.  I know I will run out of water before I get there. My only hope is that the approaching darkness and cooler temp to come will help.
Again, the running is easy; it is mostly off road vehicle trails. The sunset was amazing. The wind is a constant. I am yo-yoing with other runners along the trail. I do run out of water, but to my luck one of the other runners has half a bottle to give me that allows me to get to the aid station. My first drop bag is here. I change out socks, reload the pack and fuel up from the aid station before heading out to The Island 15.5 miles away. John is here to say hi and help as he can.

Night moving is different. I slow down as my world is now contained in the beam of my headlamp. I know there is a this amazing world I am traveling through. I trust the markers along the trail, my gps watch, gps app on my phone and a good dose of common sense to take me on the correct path.
When on a run on this length, you pass, get passed and run with other runner based on how you feel. This is true as I run with a gal for a while. At some point it starts getting light as we approach the next aid station Bridger Jack. It is Saturday morning now. In 18.5 more miles I will be at Shay Mtn.
On my way to Shay I spent a lot of time with Phil from CO. We would mostly run together in silence. We are approaching 8,500 ft. in this section. This was a nice section as it went through a valley. The terrain was different than the other areas. There are trees to shade the sun. I really enjoyed the change in terrain. I was getting beat up by the full sun and constant wind. After Shay comes Dry Valley. This was an interesting section as we were in a wash with a small stream for part of it. It got dark here. With all the tech and runner here and there, staying on route was easy enough without a trail under our feet.

Once at Dry Valley I took a 2 hour nap. It was quite cold here. They had a semi heated tent with two cots to sleep on I started in a chair then when a cot opened up I got to lay down.  It is sat night now and 121 miles into the event.
The next section to Wind Whistle is road, dirt then paved. I could look back and see a light or two in the distance from other runners. I got off the route on a side road but realized my mistake quickly and got back on course.  While on the paved road a car stopped and asked if I was ok. I said I was fine and asked what the temp was showing from their car. It read 20. I was wearing two layers on bottom and six on my top with two hats and one balaclava. All these were light layers combined to keep me warm. Two layers of mittens for the hands.
At Wind Whistle I put my head on my knees for one more hour of sleep sitting in front of the fire ring. One might think this is crazy, but to see people pushing it this far out there, this is quite common behavior.  

On my way to Road 46 aid station the sun came up. It is Sunday morning now. This is all dirt roads running. This part if the country is breathe taking watching the sky turn from dark to light.
I am at road 46 now and Mike M and John are there. Mike is going to run with me for the next 34 miles. Pole Canyon is next at 17.3 miles away. We will spend a lot of time climbing to the high point of the course at 10,500 ft. coming up after Pole Canyon. This section is quite open and lots of sun. Runners come and go. We share the aid station with 8 other runners. The crew tells us of how it got down to 8 there last night. Once we all hear this story we all hustle out of there as darkness is a couple hours away.

If I had a low point in the run it would be on my way to Oowah Lake. I was getting whipped out. I was into the event 166+ miles approaching 10,500 ft. and it is night three coming on. I had a slow mile at 55 mins in this section. Luckily what goes up comes down and with Mike leading; I could follow his feet in the night traveling faster than I could have on my own. After too much time we arrive at Oowah Lake. We were both whipped out. It is cold out now. I eat and go down for three hours of sleep.

I wake up Monday morning ready for traveling to Porcupine Rim with John.We start out running through this amazing Aspen forest. The sun is still low and the light is something else. After a while we are on a dirt road for easy travel. The views are breathtaking as we are working our way slowly down into the valley.Once at Porcupine Rim I bid John and Mike goodbye and head off with the MT bikers down the trail. Sections of this trail parallel the rim with great view of the valley floor. If you are in this area, this is a must do trail. After a while I am at the end of this section for a short paved bike trail. It is becoming Monday night. I experience a party boat on the river with the canyon walls being lite up for them. I do not know this until I come across a couple that walk with me to the aid station, Arches mile 220.

Mike and John are at Arches to greet me. Refuel and I am out with John for the final 17 miles. We work our way through town to the trails. Someone had messed with the markers leaving us to find out way to the route. It was not a problem and I have everything I needed. The trail contoured along the hills till the water stop. We then went up and over to the slick rock section. This was unreal to walk up and down slick rock that I know the rock here in the PNW would not have this traction.

The last section is along the road leading into the camp ground. I get there 94 hours and one min after leaving Friday morning. It is 5:01am Tue morning and I am tired, time for me to get some sleep. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

UPWC Devil's Dome route

On Sep 23 2017 I ran the UPWC Devil's Dome route in 14 hours and 50 mins. The route on my Suunto Movescount software shows 37.5 miles with 12,000 of gain. The UPWC web site shows the route as 45 miles. I did not have my gps on all day so I can not verify any distance.

Let the adventure begin, 4am and I am off toward Devil's park trail. This first part is easy travel. 

Jackita Ridge trail and I am climbing. The trail I used was to the right and below of where my gps showed. It got me to where I wanted to be. I think this might be a newer trail and the track on my gps was taken off old data. Here are some views of what was around me as I got up high and the sun was showing itself. 

As I was approaching this meadow in Devil's park I came upon a structure. You will see I am not alone out here. 

As I was hiking along the trail I found one of the fellows some of this gear belonged to. He and his two buddies were hunting. He commented how light I as traveling. I noted that his gun probably weight more than everything I was carrying. I did not see any deer and only one set of prints as I traveled along. Things are starting to get very nice out here as I am in the higher country. 

Jack mountain would hold its presence throughout the day for me.  I never tired of seeing many facets of it. I climbed Jack many years ago when I thought of trails like this as a means for getting to the real objective, the summit. 

Trail and snow. The snow did not hamper my travel. It added a nice contrast to the scenery. 

The larch trees are starting to turn. 

A view of the trail I descended on my journey. 

I will descend into this valley to ascend to some point on the ridge in the distance. 

Looking back on where I came from. It is very nice out here. 

More nice views. Come and see them for yourself. 

Devil's ridge, here I come. 

Does it get any better. 

I am tracking something? I am guessing it came through last night. 

Down I go, Ross lake sits between the mtns in the background and where I am descending. 

This is a very nice descent to Ross lake. I was able to run most of the trail. The trail was beat up a little where the horses had traveled through. Someone has done some very well done trail maintenance. 

Cruising time now. I remember how nice this trail is from when I did double desolation run. I can run a lot of this trail and all of it is well maintenanced. It is a joy to travel through the wilderness at speeds I choose based on my energy levels. 

Almost there and I will finish in the light! 

If you enjoy spending time in the wilderness in a very beautiful place, I would highly recommend this trip. It will go down as one of my favorite day out running in the mountains. Thanks Ras for posting this trip.  

Sourdough Sufferfest

On Sat Sep 9 - Monday Sep 11 I ran the UPWC Mind/Body Challenge Sourdough Sufferfest. This route travels from Sourdough trailhead to Hannegan pass trailhead summiting Sourdough mt each time as you do a out and back. The route has ~ 26,000 of gain over ~ 100 miles distance. It took me 62 hours to complete this route. That time included 5 hours of sleep over 4 naps during the two nights of travel.

Not wanted to deal with traffic on Friday after work I left early Sat morning for the Sourdough trailhead. I was on the trail at 8am working my way up 5,000 ft in 5 miles to reach the ridge the lookout sits on. On my way up I meet two other hiker from the Methow and was traveling with them on and off. Once at the ridge I turned left to find the Sourdough summit. This is where I made my first of many time errors on this trip. I went to highest point to discover that over there there was a higher point. Well after a bit of wandering toward the summit I finally took up my smartphone with the Gaia app and used it to work my way to the summit.

Ok this done, time to get going on to the rest of this trip. It was raining now lightly and I put my rain pants on for all the brush I was about to work through descending Sourdough to Ross dam trail. This trail is quite brushy and takes paying attention to stay on it.

Sourdough lookout

Ross lake from the ridge

The next trail is quite nice and I was seeing more people now. It was a pleasure to be on well maintained trail. 

Ross lake

River leading to Ross lake

The next trail I was on was Big Beaver trail. This is another well maintained trail. One of the highlights of the trip was the old growth trees along this trail and Little Beaver trail. I did not take any photos of these trees as I could not capture the size of them. It is a rare opportunity for me to roam among old giants like this. These trees were 6 to 8 feet in diameter. 

I pass over Beaver pass and on down to the junction with Little Beaver trail. Once near the bottom of Big Beaver trail I make another time error. My gps show the trail crossing the river at this one point. I remember Jessica and Brad talking about this bushwhack to cross the river. I was on a very good trail that lead up river and descending. I spent a bit of time on this good trail trying to figure what I should do. I went with the gps and my friends trip reports and crossed the river on logs bushwhacking to the other side. While I was doing this I knew something was wrong. I knew the trails around here were used by people riding horses. While making this route go I took my time to understand it so I could have an easier time on the way back. I found the way people had gone and was on the Little Beaver trail. Oh, it is dark now as I am doing all this. 

I cruise along the Little Beaver trail that turns into the Brush Creek trail. I take two one hour naps during the night. During the morning I switch to the Chilliwack River trail. To cross the Chilliwack river you take a cable car if you are a person. 

The Chilliwack River trail leads to Hannegan pass. 

Hannegan pass

Looking back to valley I came up. 

It is a nice downhill here to the parking lot where I will turn around to repeat what I just did.

Back up I go toward Hannegan pass. 

I am going back the way I came. I take one one hour and one two hour nap on the way back. I had two time wasting moments during the night. I came through two different camps losing the trail. It took a bit of wandering using the gps to and Gaia to get myself back on track. Navigation at night in a spaghetti system of camp trails is a hassle. On the way back I ponder the transition from Little Beaver to Big Beaver trail. Luckily for me I pass the point on the Little Beaver trail where I entered and come upon this sign. 

Leading to this very nice bridge. Everyone who does the route, take note!

I  am working my way up toward Beaver pass and I see this sign on a tree. 

I wonder what it could be for. 

Beaver Pass shelter. 

I am at the base of Sourdough now and I would like to be finished by dark. I switch to a faster pace to see what I can do about getting up to Sourdough summit and back to the ridge in the light. 

This photo is for Brad as it is the first water you come to on the accent to Sourdough lookout. There is some standing water from snow melt on the way over to the summit. I ran out in this section for 15 min until I got water on the way down to the trailhead. 

Here some photos from the lookout ridge on Sourdough

My time from the saddle to the summit of Sourdough and back is a little over one hour. Here are a few photos from the summit. 

If you zoom in, you can see the lookout in the center of the photo. 

More  photos from the golden hour from photographer's point of view. A trailrunner with common scenes would be well below this point. 

At this point I am below the saddle and working my way down to my car at the trailhead 5.000 ft and 5 miles below me. . At about halfway down I decide that miles on my gps are too slow. I switch to elevation. It is more satisfying to watch the drop in elevation to show where I am at. 10:00 pm and one last photo to close this trip out. 

If you had common sense and wanted a very nice daytrip, I would suggest hiking up to Hannegan pass. Maybe if you wanted more of a workout, hike up to Sourdough lookout or summit. I nice 50 miler would be to hike from Sourdough to Hannegan. If you are in the same mental state of Brad and I do this starting from Hannegan pass and avoid the 5,000 ft of descent to finish off a 100 mile plus route. 

Ok now for the mind part of this, this route is called mind/body challenge Sourdough sufferfest. For me wandering amongst the sights and sounds of the wildness is not a suffer. That is who I am as a person. Reading poetry is sufferfest for me. I really enjoy a good story to read or listen to. I realize that Gary Snyder is very good at his craft and through his life has suffered and able to bring this to those that read his works. I remember the last line from this poem from elementary school days by Robert Frost that describes my wildness trail running.

."But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."