Monday, July 30, 2012

Gales Creek

21 July 2012 An impromptu decision to spend the weekend at the coast (Susan) meant that we were scrambling for running ideas. We had planned to run a Bald Mountain/ Ramona Falls route that Ann had scoped out, so I started to look for something that was halfway between the coast and Portland. I would've driven back to the city if I had to-- there was no way I would get 20 miles in by myself at the coast.

View from the top, at Bell Camp Road
I found a description of the Gales Creek route (PDF map here) in an old email newsletter from Portland Running Company. They started including a trail feature in each issue, so I've been saving them for just such an occasion.
Then I mapped it, and it turned out to be an hour and twenty minutes drive from where I was staying-- nearly as long as driving home to Portland!
Dana, Ann & Susan-- we crested the hard part!
Still, a new trail was alluring, so we went with it. Ann and I met at the trailhead, which was a little confusing as it's basically at a campground. We waited for Dana, who had gotten almost there, was certain she had missed it, and drove back to civilization to ask for directions and a map.
But we got out there, and it was great. We did a 6.5 mile out (and then 6.5 miles back) on Gales Creek Trail first, so that with the 7 mile loop with Gales Creek and Storey Burn, we'd have 20 miles. Dana did the first out-and-back, and an additional half mile out with us before turning around, to get 14 miles.
One of many lovely little waterfalls along the trail
The first out-and-back was rolling hills on a newly cleared trail that ran along the side of series of steep ridges. Then we really climbed, up to about 2,800ft to Bell Camp Rd. The way back was much nicer-- mostly downhill. Lots of little waterfalls and stream crossings. We ran into a handful of mountain bikers, and a pair of people on horses. Not too crowded at all.
Amazing amounts of fallen trees, recently cleared away from the trail
The loop was a different story. We ran into a few groups of people off of some main trailheads, but mostly we saw no one. There were some amazing vistas down into forested valleys, and a fun crossing under Highway 6. Then we came to some trail splits that weren't on my map. We made educated guesses, and it seemed okay until we came out onto a strange gravel yard, that should've been a trailhead. We scouted around a bit, then found a trailhead and a sign that proclaimed a trail runner's worst nightmare: ATV RACE TODAY!
The easy way to cross (under) Highway 6
The gas fumes, dust clouds, grating noise and dodging vehicles made this confusing detour even worse. We ran around the parking lot, looking for the continuation of our trail, a sign, a map, or just a safe way to cross Highway 6. Finally we had to run back the way we came, out to the highway, and time it right to sprint across. Phew! We got back on the trail, mostly downhill to the end. Once we left behind the noise of the ATVs and motorbikes, we really enjoyed the wilderness feeling of what turned out to be a beautiful 21 mile run.
Well, 20 miles of it was beautiful-- the extra one running around the ATV camp was not!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Forest Park with Dad

My sister got married this weekend, and of course my dad was in town. The wedding was in the afternoon which gave me a few hours to take him on a 10 miler in Forest Park. I didn't want to do anything too hilly, since 100 feet is a good hill around his house. We did one of our standard Thurman / Leif / Wildwood loops. He absolutely loved it and totally understood why Susan and I raved about Forest Park all the time. I wish he was staying in town longer so I could of taken him to the other end of the park, which is our favorite. But I have to save something for his next visit!





Susan showing Dad the new Forest Park maps

Just in case you forget

End of the run

Sunday, July 22, 2012

There are more like us

Susan sent this to me today: Wild Woman Marathon
If weren't already planning on running 26 a few days before this, I would be really tempted to run it. Maybe next year!

North Country Trail

Last weekend I went to Michigan to visit my dad and family. My dad and I always run together when I come to visit, I told him this time I wanted to do a 20 mile trail run with him. He lives on Gun Lake which has quite a few good running trails around it, but I wasn't sure if there was 20 miles worth of trails. My dad said that we would be running on the North Country Trail.

North Country Trail marker

I had never heard of the North Country Trail, living in the Pacific Northwest I am very familiar with the Pacific Crest Trail and of course I know about the Appalachian Trail. The North Country Trail is the longest scenic trail in the US, running across 7 states, totaling over 4,600 miles.

The plan was to drop the car off 20 miles down the trail from the house and run home. Michigan like a lot of the country is having a very hot summer, while Oregon isn't and I wasn't quite acclimated to the heat, so we decided to shorten the run to 14 miles. We started the run in Middleville, the first 3.7 miles were on the Paul Henry Thronapple paved bike and pedestrian trail, it followed a stream with a nice gradual uphill. From there we had to run on the road for 1.2 miles to get to the actual trail. Somehow we went the wrong direction and ended up running on the road for 2 more miles then we had planned. Oops!

There were a couple sections of the trail where it crossed roads and we had a hard time finding the connecting trail, but once we did the trail was really well marked and pretty runnable.

Right before we ended the trail section for the last little bit of the road to the house, Dad told me to run ahead and he would see me at the house. As soon as I got to the house I took everything off by my sports bra and shorts and jumped into the lake. I was in the lake for at least 10 minutes and my dad hadn't shown up, I knew he wasn't that far behind me. I started to worry, so I got out to go find him. Just I did that he showed-up and said he ran an extra 1/2 miles, because he had to run further than I did! I ended up doing 17 miles, and Dad did 17.5. (But I ran the next day and he didn't, so I win!)

sign at the trailhead - a good reminder - not that I actually stretched

Dad running

I took a picture at one of the trailheads of the map, after Dad had already gotten us lost.

Double checking the map.

trail markers

Checking time and miles

Trail marker

Our awesome Brooks Cascadias

dad. me. lake. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Post 24 miler

Do normal people sign-up for a 50k only 6 weeks from the race date? Well for some reason after our 24 mile run this weekend we thought it would be a good idea. We are now officially signed up for PCT Buncker to Bonneville!