This is decidedly not what I normally do on my weekend mountain outings. I normally run a bit, hike a bit, take a bunch of pictures and just enjoy the area I am in. To try and move fast, not during a race, is a little foreign to me. It didn't help that quite a few of my friends (Ben, Ethan, Richard) all had done it and I was starting to feel a little left out!
So, with a beautiful forecast I picked up Sir Hikes (already planning to meet friends in the area) at 4:30am Saturday and we drove down to the White River TH. I put on my "Really I can do it!" game face, left my camera in the car and struck out to enjoy my longest solo outing thus far.
|That's a pretty weak game face...Sir Hikes photo, White River TH at 6:47am|
Descending to Longmire a trail runner passed me going up and we managed a quick "hey!" in passing. About a mile later he came back in the same direction and introduced himself as Korey Konga, someone I'd seen on Seven Hills' team, who is quite clearly in the front-of-the-pack speedster group. He asked what I was up to and we ran together for 15-20 minutes on the way back to his car at Longmire, where he kindly took and Instagram-ed a photo of me.
|It's almost like I'm on social media! Thanks Korey!|
After putting on new socks and all my night-time clothes at 10:30pm I still was ahead of Yassine and Brian's FKT time (through 63 miles in 15:44). However, by the time I got to Ipsut Pass at 1:30am it was cold and windy. The trail was loose rock with a bit of brush and just not runnable for me given the circumstances. That descent of only three miles took me an hour; I got chilled and when I saw at 2:30am a hollowed-out tree that was dry underneath, I climbed in for a nap.
I needed 15 minutes to close my eyes and it was worth it. I switched GPS watches as well and started to think about when the sun would come up.
The climb from the Carbon River up to Mystic Lake was draining, but light started to creep back into the sky and when I crossed the frosty log bridge over Winthrop Creek, with morning twilight lighting up the mighty Willis Wall, it brought a huge smile to my face.
Over the last ten miles I got to say hi to a couple of people backpacking the Wonderland who I'd already run into early the previous day. That was fun to see familiar faces and hear one individual say, "I thought I'd see you again!" Those are moments not lost on me.
I arrived back at White River at 9:23am, 26 hours and 36 minutes after setting out, finishing what probably is the best "athletic performance" I've ever had trail running.
It was fun to try something new and doing it solo and unsupported gave me a very personal appreciation for what I saw, how I felt during the run and how I've interpreted it afterward. While I always enjoy posting photos here, I don't regret not taking my camera. The Wonderland is worth doing, so please, go and enjoy the views in person :) .
For anyone interested, here is what I used on the trip:
Gear and clothing
- Pearl Izumi EM N3 Road shoes
- Salomon S-LAB 12L vest - 2013 model
- Petzl Myo headlamp (primary)
- Black Diamond Spot headlamp (backup)
- Black Diamond Carbon Ultra Distance Z poles (used last 60 miles)
- Garmin 910XT and 920XT
- iPod Shuffle
- SOL Emergency Bivvy
- Two 20oz bottles
- Pearl Izumi Fly In-R-Cool long-sleeve top
- Pearl Izumi ambassador singlet
- Mizuno 3/4 tight
- Champion sport compression underwear
- Injinji Trail socks (two pairs, switched at ~60 miles)
- Icebreaker Quantum merino wool gloves
- Mountain Laurel Designs eVENT shell mitts
- Arc'teryx Squamish Hoody windbreaker (outlet-store older model)
- Pearl Izumi Fly In-R-Cool hat (daytime)
- Half Buff
- Patagonia Chuckanut beanie
- Meister compression calf sleeves (from ~60 miles to end)