Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another 22 (with chocolate)

Similar to our Same temperature same mileage run, we wanted to run 22 miles and I wanted to get the big climb up to Pittock in. Sally came with us for the first 10 miles, which had that as well as the uphill on Wildwood from Aspen to 53rd Ave. And she kept us a bit speedier than usual.

My goal was to run all uphills, and I did it-- even up Firelane 4. Well, except for a bathroom break on Koenig. Still, I could feel it. I was tired.

At some point on Wildwood after FL4, I realized that some of my tiredness was actually a visual migraine. I get them rarely, a few times a year, but I've never had one while running. There wasn't much to do but continue, since our route at that point was more or less directly back to the car. We stopped at Firelane 1 and ate some chocolate, which seemed to help. Before we got to our final climb up Birch, I was completely fine and ready to push it uphill.

We were fortunate to have a gorgeous morning and enjoy a challenging run.

A new, convenient makeshift bridge on Maple Trail

Holman to WW (5.93)-- .76mi
WW (5.93) to Pittock (ww 3.84)-- 2.09mi (2.85 total)
Pittock(ww 3.84) to Maple (12.84)-- 9mi (11.85 total)
Maple(12.84) to Leif (4.21)-- .86 (12.71 total)

Maple to FL4 (next after Koenig)-- .9mi (13.61 total)
FL4 to Leif (5.14)-- .21mi (13.82 total)
Leif (5.14) to Koenig (le 4.57)-- .57mi (14.39 total)
Koenig (le 4.57) to WW (14.23)-- .15mi (14.54 total)
WW (14.23) to Keil (9.18)-- 5.05mi (19.59 total)
Keil to Dogwood-- .17mi (19.76 total)
Dogwood to WW (8.47)-- .66mi (20.42 total)
WW (8.47) to Birch (ww 7.49)-- .98mi (21.4 total)
Birch to 53-- .22mi (21.62 total)

Monday, May 26, 2014

NW 53rd Nasty (or how to cure a hangover)


Susan and I ran 2 20+ mile runs this week, so we decided to do a shorter run on Saturday. I planned a 12 mile route that hit all the trailheads on NW 53rd, my original plan was for us to run the route faster than our normal pace, but that was until I went out on Friday night. I never go out on Friday nights because we are normally running some crazy distance in the morning, but knowing we were only running 12 miles I wasn't worried about having a few drinks. Well it is easy to lose track of how many pints you have had when you are hanging out with friends with a kegerator and they keep refilling your glass. Well needless to say I was feeling less than awesome in the morning, so there was no speed workout in our future. But running for several hours and sweating out all the toxins from the night before, might be the best hair of the dog I have found yet. 

The route:
holman - wildwood - aspen - road - leif - wild cherry - dogwood - wildwood - alder - leif - fire lane 1 - morak - ww - birch = ~12

Salmon River to Hunchback Mountain

The last 2 years Susan and I have taken a day off of work each month during the summer, so we can sneak off and run the trails around Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge while they are not crowded. 

We took Thursday off of work last week to kick off the 3rd year of this tradition. It wasn't the best planning on my part considering we ran 24 mile on Sunday and I ran a race Wednesday night, but it beats working and it is always fun to see how far you can push yourself. 

We wanted to run 22-24 miles and I really wanted to run the Salmon River Trail. Susan and I have run it a few times, but only a short ~7 miles to the canyon view point and back. There is a 15.7 mile loop that starts on the Salmon River Trail, and goes past the canyon view point up to Devil's Peak Lookout and Hunchback Mountain then back down Green Canyon Way to the Salmon River Trailhead. Luckily the Salmon River Trail continues beyond where you would normally turn for the 15.7 mile loop, so we could make the route as long as 31 miles. We opted for a ~6 mile out and back to give us ~22 miles. Volcano Running has a good description and map of the route


Open view above Salmon River

Wildflowers on the steep, dry slope
The weather was perfect, it started off in the 60s and ended in the 80s. We had enough experience running out of water that we brought more than our normal 2 liters of water, since there really isn't anywhere on Hunchback Mountain to get more water.  


Sound camping advice

Back from a lookout point

Green stream crossings
The Salmon River Trail trail climbs gradually, about 1100 feet over 6.1 to the junction with the Kinzel Lake Trail, which takes you up to Hunchback Mountain. You start level with the river, but get several great view points of the river and canyon along the way. Since it is still early season we had to deal with several stream crossing, but nothing major, we just had to watch out for slippery rocks. 

We continued on past the Kinzel Lake Trail to do an out and back on Salmon River to the Linney Creek Trail junction. I had never gone past the Kinzel Lake Trail junction, so I wasn't sure how well maintained the Salmon River Trail was. Besides being a little over grown the trail was in great condition, with all sorts of things growing along side it. 

Amanita muscaria nestled in moss

A waning trillium bloom

These tiny calypso orchids were everywhere

Columbia windflower-- an anemone

Turnaround at Linney Creek

Ann crossing a wide, shallow stream with no rocks to hop across

Another amanita
The climb up to Devil's Peak is an unrelenting and unforgiving 3.6 miles, but once you get to the top you know it is all downhill from there. Around 4500 feet we hit snow, at first it was just a little snow patch. Then it was completely covering the trail at times, but nothing too deep. At one point we lost the trail, but only to realize the snow was covering the corner of the switch back and the trail was actually behind us not in front of us. 
Mountain views

Makeshift trail sign

Lunch break at a trail junction, among cabin ruins

First snow(ball)!
Susan making snow angels

Trudging through snow, Mt Hood behind

Near the top
We made it through the snow to Devil's Peak Lookout and were rewarded with some amazing views of Mt. Hood and Mt Adams. It was Susan's first time in a fire look out, so I made sure I signed the logbook to document it. 


Mt Hood view from Devil's Lookout

Ann signing the register in the fire lookout
Just in case we forgot

Panorama from the fire lookout

Mt Adams from the fire lookout

Devil's Lookout selfie

New trillium at 5,000ft altitude
After we left the lookout, we continued down Hunchback Mountain climbing over and under downed trees to the junction with Green Canyon Way and back to our car. I could not ask for a better way to spend a day off of work!
A dense forest of dead and down trees

Just when we thought we wouldn't have to cross a washout or landslide
map from the William Sullivan red hiking book

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Arch Cape to Neahkahnie Mountain

My family was due for a weekend in Manzanita. Coincidentally, Ann's husband, John, wanted to check on his land nearby. It was the perfect opportunity for a shorter run along the coast! Usually when I'm there I run a 10 mile out-and-back to Cape Falcon, but with an additional car we were able to do a much more satisfying point-to-point route.


Hidden trailhead off E Shingle Mill Ln

Suspension bridge across Arch Cape Creek

The Oregon Coast Trail runs 382 miles along the entire state in a vast network of trails and beaches, and connects some of the shorter destination hikes I've done many times. While it sounds simple to just run a segment, you still have to piece together some parts, and it becomes complicated in popular parks like Oswald West, where the many short trails can quickly leave you lost and wondering which is the official OCT (answer: unclear).


A rough-skinned newt sharing the trail

Roof shingles add a charming and non-slip touch

Arch Cape made a perfect start for us, because there the OCT must veer away from the beach and up a road before it suddenly starts again as a forested climb. Luckily John knew the trailhead, because I didn't even see the sign when we were next to it. Walking down what looked like a driveway, we came to a suspension bridge and began our run.


Ann and a huge tree fungus

One of many white snails on wet trail

Okay, maybe more of a fast hike. Right away it was uphill, twisting, damp and pristine. And miraculously, not only was it not raining-- the sky began to clear and the sun came out. We couldn't believe our luck.


View north to Arch Cape

Arch Cape view selfie

We came across footbridges that had been charmingly enhanced with meandering curves of roof shingles, making them safely non-slip. We saw snails, a newt, and tons of wildflowers (thanks to this fantastic guide I was prepared), but rarely other people.



Red cliffs near Cape Falcon

An unreachable black rock beach
Down from Arch Cape, the trail dumped us onto Highway 101 for a short segment before folding us back into the lush forest on the coast side. Soon we climbed up again, and came to the part I know best-- the northernmost reach of my usual Cape Falcon out-and-back run. It only happens once a year-- maybe less-- so it was fun for me to be on a trail that I know better than Ann does. I made sure we stopped for the best views, and ran all the way out on the actual Cape to take in the crashing waves, colorful cliffs, and steeply forested hills rolling away as far as the eye can see.


Wild iris

View from Cape Falcon, towards the south
Once we got to Short Sands we had to pay attention to the map to take the right turns to get to Elk Flats Trail, which I had never done. That took us down to Devil's Cauldron, where we made a quick detour to look at the churning water before crossing 101 again and tackling Neahkahnie Mountain.


Short Sands beach selfie

Suspension bridge over Necarney Creek
Neahkahnie is another out-and-back hike that is very familiar to me, but I'm not sure I've ever been there on such a perfect day. When we got to the top, Manzanita Beach and Nehalem Bay lay out before us like a postcard, framed in rainbow wildflowers bursting from the mountain's slope.


Bridge selfie

Elk Flats Trail connects the Short Sands area with Devil's Cauldron
We could hear people laughing and picnicking above us, on the peak. We had already been running for longer than we had estimated, so we skipped the summit and made quick work of the glorious, well-maintained trail down the south side of the mountain.



Devil's Cauldron

Trailhead sign for Devil's Cauldron
I wasn't ready when I saw the sign for the trailhead. It was an amazing run with spectacular scenery, wonderful company, and absolutely perfect weather. And like all great runs, it spawned a brilliant idea-- to run all of the Oregon Coast Trail, in segments. Hopefully there will be many blog posts to come on that.


Neahkahnie mountain from the north

Wildflowers in bloom up Neahkahnie

View south of Manzanita from the top of Neahkahnie

Neahkahnie selfie

Legs dangling over the peak of cloudless Neahkahnie

The end of our run-- too soon!
Route

  • Start at E Shingle Mill Ln trailhead in Arch Cape
  • Connect through the Short Sands day use area to Elk Flats Trail
  • Possible detour to Necarney Falls
  • Possible detour to Devil's Cauldron
  • Up Neahkahnie Mountain from the north trailhead
  • End at Neahkahnie Mountain's south trailhead

Approximately 16 miles