Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back to the Wilderness....

Well, I felt like going for a trail run.... I didn't have to go to work on Monday, so I got up early, grabbed my trail shoes, a couple water bottles, my Silva Ranger compass, some good maps, and headed out to Eagle Creek in the Columbia River Gorge.

I had a route picked out to run which would have taken me 18 miles with approx. 7,500ft of climb and another 7,500ft of fall. But plans were to change, I just didn't know it yet. Part of the trail I like to run, and one of the wierdest streatches of land I've ever seen.

I pushed myself pretty hard up Ruckle Ridge Trail, on my hands and knees at a couple places, and within the first couple miles I was about 1,500 ft above where I had parked. Everything was going well for a while until I saw the first sigh of the impending doom; at about 2,500ft there was a pile of snow on the trail, and I still had another 2,000ft to climb at that point.

Once I got closer to 3,000 ft, about 4 miles in at this point, the snow became much more abundant, and I wasnt able to see a trail anymore. I kept my eye out for signs that might indicate where the trail was. At that point I also pulled out my Silva Ranger Compass and maps and was able to continue on for another mile or so. There were eventually too many fallen trees to discern any sort of trail, I kept breaking through the ice and snow and falling as deep as mid-thigh, and as far as creating my own path, I was approaching another streatch in which even the trail had 1,000ft of climb within about a mile, and I didnt want to have to crawl to the top. I finally decided that even if I were to continue up and over Benson Plateau, connecting to the Pacific Crest Trail on the other side would be simple, but dangerous with all the cliff explosure on the other side.

A little over 5 miles in, and at about 3,500 ft up, I decided it would be best to just follow my tracks back to the trail and run the brutal descent back to my car. The run back was absolutly brutal, but it's good training.

The rest of the trail back was beautiful... One thing I've noticed, Oregon has a lot of moss.

I got back to my car, and I had a little extra time, so I did a couple miles on the Eagle Creek Trail, but it's not nearly as crazy as Ruckle Ridge. I had to settle for a 12 mile run with about 4,500ft of climb and 4,500ft of fall

I got back home and rested up a little bit, after all, I had my running club to attend that evening. Some of my friends had run the Red Lizard 5 miler on Saturday, so I was hoping they would be running slow like me, but I wasn't so lucky. Although Jeff had run a 36:21, and Jon ran a 32:51, they didnt slow down much for me during the group run, normally I try to be right there with them, but my Quads were completly thrashed from the run earlier that day. I slowed down and ran with some of the other runners there for a 6 miler (plus another couple miles to meet up with the other group runners) to finish off the day with 20 miles of running/hiking/crawling. ha ha
Jeff Huber (36:21) & Jon Dotson (32:51:) respectivly. Congrats Dudes on your awesome times at the Red Lizard 5 miler!!!!

No comments: