Good Trail, Bad Dog

Cedar surveying the Wilson River, far below

I took the whole week off for spring break, which I spent in Austin, TX, with my family. But just before we left I realized that we'd be back Thursday evening, which left Friday free for a long run! 

Ann checked on the Wilson River Trail, which we tried (and failed) to run last month due to the amount of snow blocking the trailhead and covering the hilly trail itself. All clear! 


One of many creeks along the way

She decided we would run the trail end-to-end, so on Friday morning we both drove out to the farthest point, Keenig Creek trailhead, and left a car there. Then we drove to Elk Creek trailhead to start.

Right off the bat, I was overdressed. I knew I'd probably end up in a short-sleeve t-shirt, so I started out wearing that and my trusty long-sleeve half-zip over it. I was about to take off the t-shirt to wear just the long-sleeve, when Ann pointed out I was doing it wrong.

Only 17.1 miles to go

Realizing she was right, I went with the short-sleeve. It was surprisingly warm and clear for most of our run-- we could've even worn capris rather than full-length tights.

That is, until Cedar, roaming free without his forgotten e-collar, ran off into the deep forest and it started to rain. We quickly lost sight and sound of him, and he didn't respond to our calls. We set off in the direction he disappeared, but couldn't see or hear anything. Suddenly, after about 15 agonizing minutes, we heard a frenzied barking.

Lots of yellow violets in bloom

Since Cedar doesn't bark much, we weren't sure if it was him, or if he ran into another dog. If it was him, was he being attacked by a bear or mountain lion? Was he injured? Did he find something?

The sound gave us direction, and we moved towards it, although we couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from. Then the barking stopped and we were left standing, wondering what to do.

Views of the Coastal Range

Suddenly, Ann saw Cedar coming from the opposite direction he had disappeared from. He was completely soaked, panting hard, and incredibly happy. We called him some rude names, gave him treats, and leashed him for the rest of the run. Oh, and it stopped raining.

Perfect blue, clear water under my favorite bridge

The rest of the run was more or less uneventful, with Cedar pulling hard the whole time, going strong after some cute little Douglas squirrels, and receiving some undeserved compliments from other hikers about what a good dog he was.

It seemed uphill forever until the last mile or so, switchbacking down the hillside to Keenig Creek. Still, I was surprised when I checked Stava afterwards and saw an elevation gain of nearly 5,000 ft. I sure felt justified for all the parts I had to walk!

Sunny smiles as we cross my favorite bridge on the trail

Overall, the Wilson River Trail is a great training run. There is a nice mix of steep and slow, steady hills, rocky sections, and small creek crossings. The trail is well marked and and maintained. And it's (usually) a great option when everything else is under snow, early in the season.

Scroll to the bottom for a map and a video of our route.

Poor Cedar, tied up after running off and making us call for him for 20 minutes

Piper's Anemone/Wildflower

Cedar enjoys splashing in water, not drinking it

Trillium

How much more uphill?!

Wilson River Trail map-- Elk Creek TH to Keenig Creek TH

Relive 'Good trail, bad dog '


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