Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day Trail Run

Well yesterday I tried out a new trail, and it was incredible! I ran over 40 miles with a cumulative elevation change of well over 12,000ft!

I got out the door at about 5:20am to drive out to the Columbia River Gorge just before Hood River to run on Eagle Creek Trail. At 6:34 I was out on the trail. It was my first time on the route, so I decided to bring my little Olympus camera along so that I could share the experience with all of you. All the way up Eagle Creek Trail through Tunnel Falls and up to Wahtum Lake, there were literally dozens of waterfalls, and there were miles of cliff exposure! I was, by far, some of the most beautiful land I have ever run! With every turn there was a picture just waiting to be taken, but I did have to pass on some of them because, after all, this was supposed to be a trail RUN.

Once I got up to Wahtum Lake, I ran around it linking up to the Pacific Crest Trail, and climbed up and over Chinidere Mountain. When I reached the highpoint of the trail on Chinidere (approx. 4,300 ft above sea level, I had started at 110) I climbed up the incredibly steep hillside so I could get some pictures from atop Chinidere. From that point I could see Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens. I slid back down the embankment and continued on my way. Pretty soon I was saying to myself, “Wasn’t I just in a temperate rainforest!?” I had reached a part of the trail in which stone spires and dead, bleached-white trees stretched out toward the sun. I continued along the PCT up to Benson Plateau (elevation 4100 ft), and turned down Bensons Way to the Ruckel Creek Trail. Running on Bensons Plateau was a little nerve racking. The trails were so indistinct that had I strayed from the path… I doubt that I would have been able to find the trail again. And then I had to descend Bensons Plateau to get back to Eagle Creek. There were points at which I dropped a good 1,000 ft in elevation within about ½ mile. It felt more like a weight training session than it did a trail run. Some of the trail was so steep it almost felt like to go from standing vertically to sitting on my butt wouldn’t have been much of a journey.

I finally reached my car 9hours 15minutes and 41seconds after I had taken off. I defiantly want to go back and do it again, but I would almost rather make a weekend of it and bring a nicer camera and a tripod, than to just run. Some of the trail was fairly rugged, and there were some downed trees lying across the path, but that’s the fun of trail running. Next time I run this, instead of running all the way to Bensons Plateau, I’ll turn at the previous path to get back down to Eagle Creek and out of the hot sun, and it would add at least another mile to the route, but it would be an easier decent than to run down Ruckel Creek. Another thing about Ruckel Creek, there was no creek as far an I saw.

Until Next Time
-Tim Lawson-


Dane said...

What sort of fuel/liquid did you carry with you? How did you carry it?

Tim Lawson said...

As far as what I had with me... I brought along a hand-held 20oz ampiphod water bottle, and had another 20oz bottle on my belt along with 2 8oz bottles on my belt.

I refilled once about 18 miles into the run.

I had a bag on my belt that had 10 GUs and I brought 3oz of jerkey, and a couple types of trail mix.

It was kind of odd, but the trail mix never did sound good to me during the run, so I never ate any of it.