I was feeling good on the trails. THRILLED about going 6-9 miles. But, I was realizing that there was a bit of self-deception. My PACE on the trails was slow. That is normal for trail running. A bit slower overall – fast power hiking on big climbs, etc… You aren’t running at a full street pace the whole time. So, I was wondering if I could put in 6-9 miles on the pavement. I suspected not. I decided to shoot for a 10k. It was boring, and long, and hard, and killed me. A 10k PR in fact. Way more tiring than a slower 10k (even with elevation) on the trails. I’m glad I did it though. 6.3 miles @ 9:22 min/mile, 0 ft. elevation.
High on the excitement of feeling a little bit familiar with the Davis Creek trails, and having looked at the map a lot, I decided to explore further. I went up towards Pretty Valley, but cut East up the hill on what I thought was going to be a trail. It was not. More scratches and lesson learned. If it looks like it “might” be a trail…that’s about all it is – it “might” be a trail. But it is not, with surety, a trail. I dropped back down to the main trail, went through Pretty Valley and pushed all the way to the Bountiful Peak Trail, up that to the Ford Canyon Outlook. Gorgeous. It had rained a few days before, however, and all the of the long grass alongside the trails was wet. This soaked my socks all the way through. At the outlook I took them off and had to wring them out. Well worth it though. On the way back I dropped down to the creek, across to the BST and looped that back around to my car. 6 miles @ 17:47 min/mile, 2,002 ft. elevation.
3D rendering of the trail and elevation, looking East
Pretty Valley, looking down into South Farmington
Panorama from the Ford Canyon Overlook, looking down on Centerville to the SW
Another hike with the kids We hiked up the Davis Creek trail to the first bench, which is pretty steep, and they did great!
Despite my declaration that I would use Flag Rock to train my legs, I looked up at the hills and couldn’t help but go explore something new. The trails up to Flag Rock or Steed Creek are more heavily traveled than the smaller trails going up the much smaller Davis Creek Canyon. I started up the Mtn. face north of the creek – trying to find the “Triumph Trail” I found on the Farmington Trails Map. I did the first part with the kids before, up to the BST, but not further. Needless to say, I didn’t quite find it after the BST. Or, I found it, and then lost it. And bushwhacked and got bloodied up in the process. Dry sun-scorched scrub oak is very scratchy. I climbed about 900 ft up over a mile of trail, then descended, crossed over the creek and went up into the trails south of Davis Creek. I ran to Pretty Valley – a great trail – and then took a trail labeled “Davis Creek Trail” up quite a ways before turning back, coming down the traverse a bit, and then heading up a trail to Hell Hole and a couple hundred yards up what I thought was “Old North” on the map. It turns out I was correct. I didn’t follow any of the trails up as I high as I should have, but it was fun to explore. I also got obsessed with the idea of following one of them all the way up to Bountiful Peak…but as I chatted with people on a couple facebook groups, most people said that the trails fade out and turn into bushwhacks the higher you get.
The moral of the story – just because a map shows a trail does not mean there is a trail. In fact, I suspect that the Farmington Trails committee might just be drawing them to coax all of us up there to go run and blaze the trails for them. Ha!
In any case, it was a really great afternoon exploring. 5.9 miles, 24:13 min/mile pace, 2,753 ft. elevation.
3D rendering of the climbs – looking East by NE
Falls leaves in Davis Creek Canyon
“Pretty Valley” or Little Valley. A few campsites here – really gorgeous.
On the Bonneville Shoreline Trail just north of Triumph Trail and Davis Creek, looking south across a field of flowers
Obligatory Selfie with Davis Creek waterfall in the background
I quickly decided that I needed to convert the wife and kids to the trails as well. My girl is 5.5 and son was almost 3. We went up the north side of the Davis Creek drainage on the “triumph trail” up to the overlook of the lower waterfalls. They did alright for being so little. We did see one rattlesnake, which the Mrs. was not thrilled about.
One thing I was quickly realizing is that if I could strengthen my lungs and legs, I could go farther and enjoy more trails. I decided that I would try to regularly run the trial up to Flag Rock. It is steep and short, about 1,400 ft. in 1.5 miles up. So – great for training my climbing legs. It was a great run, much better than the first time I tried with sans water. 4.9 miles, 16:13 mile/min pace, 1,500+ ft. elevation.
A 3D rendering of the trail and elevation
Old Glory a’waving in the Wind
A few days before there had been a fire up on the hillside. It still smelled like burnt wood.
In early September 2013, my next door neighbor and I went shoe shopping for me. I tried on a few different pairs of trail shoes, but couldn’t commit. A couple days later he came over with a pair of Brooks Cascadia 8s. He had only used them a few times and they were only a size bigger than what I usually wear, and it turns out that lots of trail runners and ultramarathoners buy a size or 1/2 bigger because your feet swell at long distances. Excited about the “new” shoes (they were in great condition) I set off for some runs.
First, I drove up Farmington Canyon to the FAA towers and ran the Great Western Trail to Thurston Peak and back. It is a beautiful ridge – Morgan County on the East and Davis County on the West. Really spectacular.
It was also my longest run at 9.1 miles. My pace was probably around 12:00-14:00 min/mile, although the messed up GPS said faster. This may be the run that sealed the deal for me. I was up in the mountains where I love to be – covering more miles than I could on a slow hike – and loving it.
Panorama from the parking lot at the Francis Peak
Looking SW as a shaft of light shone down on my new home
Obligatory Selfie to prove I was there