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Month: September 2014

Exploring Old North + Bloody Knees

Exploring Old North + Bloody Knees

Sometime in the next couple weeks I have been planning to bag Bountiful Peak (before snow hits). The best trail options are the Farmington Spine or the Parrish switchbacks. I have long wanted to go straight up Davis Creek though to the. I have heard that the trail fades – just like the Bountiful Peak trail and the Centennial Trail (up from Flag Rock). However, after doing a little research, it looked like Old North might be a good option. It is a large ridge the pops up in the middle of Davis Creek Canyon. The trail up to the first ridge is apparently pretty good and from there the ridgelines look fairly clear – not heavy bushwhacks.

Before doing a full ascent, I decided to do some recon.

4.1 miles in 1:15:38 @ 18:24 min/mile and with 2,350 ft. elevation gain (in the first 2 miles)

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Up the Davis Creek Trail I flew. I decided to push hard and see if I could reclaim some of the course records on the Strava segments going up from the trail head to the Hell Hole / Pretty Valley split. I did get some PRs, but no CRs. I really pushed hard –  but lets face it, I’m just not that fast.

Davis Creek + Old North Trails (1)
Follow the Yellow-Leaf Road. Look out for witches and flying monkeys. On the traverse towards the Pretty Valley / Hell Hole split.

I took the left split to Hell Hole.

After the brutal climb, the trail levels out for the last 1/4 mile to Hell Hole and even goes down a bit. I was so excited to be able to actually get a full stride in that I started to run…and immediately tripped and full-out face-planted on the trail. It happened so fast, I didn’t have time to even try to catch myself. Scraped arms, nose, and knee. Ouch.

Davis Creek + Old North Trails (2)Davis Creek + Old North Trails (6)

The Old North Trail starts after crossing Davis Creek at Hell Hole. I followed it about 3/4 mile up to the top of the first big ridge clearing. Some nice rocks. Inexplicably, a broad and ZERO bushwhack trail appears at the top of the ridge. It must be remnants of an old mining road or something.

Davis Creek + Old North Trails (3)
Up the Old North ridge a bit, looking southwest.

In any case, the ridge goes northeast and then climbs to intersect a higher ridge at Midway Peak. That ridge then goes southeast to Bountiful Peak. I was hoping to make it to Midway Peak but right as I got up on the open ridge – thunder and lightning.

Davis Creek + Old North Trails (5)
On my way back down the Hell Hole. If only the whole thing was a beautiful, level, meandering through the woods type of trail…instead of a relentless climb-a-thon.

I made a quick retreat back down the 2 miles to my car.

It was a successful recon though – I will definitely go back up it to Bountiful Peak, probably in a couple Saturdays

.I’ll be sore though. It was 2,350 ft. in elevation gain over 2 miles of trail. Wow!

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A few recent runs

A few recent runs

Here are a few recent outings:

A run up the newly worked on lower stretch of the Farmington Creek Trail by Ryan Lauck, up the first section of the post-parking lot single track, and then looping across the creek to explore the Aqueduct Trail back – a first. All with a coworker, Spencer, who just moved here and is quickly getting hooked on the trails.

5.0 miles in 1:33:34 @ 18:44 min/mile and with 1,170 ft. elevation gain

Farmington Canyon + Old Aqueduct  (1)
Farmington Canyon, Beautiful as Ever
Farmington Canyon + Old Aqueduct  (2)
Spencer Surveying his Domain from the base of the Farmington Spine

A night run on pavement. Zzzz.

4.3 miles in 38:00 @ 8:53 min/mile and with 0 ft. elevation gain

A night run up Centerville Canyon. Bad idea to do in the dark. Rough trail, LOTS to trip on and having to stop a few times to figure out where the trail went.  Slow.

3.1 miles in 47:04 @ 14:58 min/mile and with 952 ft. elevation gain

Centerville Canyon - Dewell Creek at night
These woods be creepy in the dark!

A repeat of the 7 mile out and back from East Mtn. Park in Kaysville to Fernwood in Layton on the BST. I ran it faster than ever, getting PRs on all of the segments and even negative splits. I felt great! In my head I was thinking it had to be way faster than last time, but looking at the previous post it was only 2 minutes faster overall. Oh well – I’ll take it!

7.2 miles in 1:17:39 @ 10:50 min/mile and with 835 ft. elevation gain

Adams Canyon BST
Autumn is popping in the hills, but still plenty of green on the BST – here coming out north of Adams Canyon
UltraRunnerJoe Explains the Differences Between Trail Runners and Hipsters

UltraRunnerJoe Explains the Differences Between Trail Runners and Hipsters

Hats off to UltraRunner Joe for providing us this very important public service – a nice list helping to differentiate between hipsters and trail runners. There are some good points here, but I wonder if it is missing some possibilities for overlap. Joe – can you re-imagine this, but include some Venn Diagrams for us?

How to Tell a Trail Runner from a Hipster


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Getting Lost and Dodging Tornados in Ohio

Getting Lost and Dodging Tornados in Ohio

This week I found myself in Ohio (Cleveland area) for work and decided to use a couple evenings to put in some miles. I was staying in Willoughby and narrowed in on what looked like a great park about 5 miles south of there – the North Chagrin Reservation. Indeed, it was a great set of trails – lots of forest – a number of deep ravines with creeks at the bottom – a perfect mixture of trail types, lots of constant up and down rolling. In fact, if you swapped out 90% of the trees and made them evergreens, the trail itself reminded me a lot of my hometown Whatcom Falls Park. Perhaps not in vegetation, but in overall topography, trail texture (lots of exposed roots), and so forth – it felt familiar.

I ran twice.

6.0 miles in 1:08:52 @ 11:33 min/mile and with 421 ft. elevation

6.2 miles in 1:11:52 @ 11:31 min/mile and with 224 ft. elevation

The Monday night run was mostly uneventful, other thn getting constantly lost as the different trail loops intersected over and over again. Oh, and I totally fell. There was a downhill section that I decided I should take fast and about 2 steps in I caught my toe. I sped up my legs to try to get them under me, but was quickly rotating forwards. What followed, given my speed, was actually pretty impressive. I planted a hand on the trail, tucked my right shoulder, and did and full somersault roll across my back and right back onto my feet and continued down the trail without missing a step, so to speak. I was impressed, in any case.

I love me some trees

On Wednesday night, I knew it was forecast to rain. When I got to the trail head, indeed, it was a bit drizzly. However, given the dense canopies of tree above, I figured I would stay fairly dry. And, I did. For the first couple miles I suffered with the 100% humidity but got very few cooling drops of rain on my face. The, I hit a clearing in the trees and felt some nice cool rain. “Ah,” I thought, “I wish there were more breaks like this in the trees so I could cool off more.” Be careful what you wish for. About 30 seconds later a loud noise began above, quickly crescendoing into a deafening roar.  Torrential downpour. It was coming down so hard that I couldn’t see the trail in front of me clearly. I took shelter beside a tree, but still was soaked through within a minute. It continued for 5 minutes or so, and then slowed. The previously dry-slightly moist trail was now a series of large puddles, linked by moving run-off and instant gooped-up mud.  Fun. I soldiered on – fully soaked but happy to be out for a run. It slowed me down quite a bit and towards the end I could sense a couple blisters forming from the wet socks.

Previously dry creek bed, now coursing.

When I got back to my lodging, the coworkers I was going out to dinner with asked, “Do you still want to drive all the way in to Cleveland to eat?  You know, since there is a tornado warning and all.”  WHAT?! Thanks guys! None of them bothered to call or text me on the trail to warn me to get inside.  Oh well. I survived.

Sweat-a-palooza 2014

Sweat-a-palooza 2014

It wasn’t even that hot today but I have sweat like this for a while. There are a few close-by trails here in Farmington that I have yet to explore so I picked one today. The fire trail 03 that goes south from just above flag rock down into Hornet Canyon.

4.8 miles in 1:18:00 @ 15:14 min/mile and with 1,431 ft. Elevation gain.

I started at the Davis Creek TH and took the BST past Steed Creek and then up the south access trail to flag rock. This intersects with the ascent trail I usually take right below Eagle Rock. That part was bad and the nice rolling traverse over to the Patsy’s Mine cutoff felt great. Then the switchbacks. Baking in the sun. Ugh.

At the top I took the Centennial Trail up to where the fire trail turns. I wanted to see what centennial looks like, because it would be a very fun route to take to the top. Way overgrown. Bummer. I bombed down the fire trail 03 and soon found that it was more overgrown than I had heard. Lost it a couple times. To make matters worse, friends have been seeing lots of rattlesnakes lately and I wasn’t too excited about Bushwhacking. Luckily – no encounters – but I was nervous the while time. The lyrics to a Lateef and the Chief song about snakes lurking in the grass kept running through my head. (Read about they on my music blog, Desert Island Mixtapes).

The Hornet Canyon Trail was a bit of a let down too – lots of loose gravel skree. Doesn’t make for a fun descent. By the time I got to the car, it felt like I had gone a lot farther than 5 miles.

I blew through about 1.5 liters or water. I should have filled it with the full 2 liters.

The Autumn Leaves are Starting to Pop!
The Autumn Leaves are Starting to Pop!

The Wasatch 100

The Wasatch 100

Last night I went to a BBQ hosted by some of the Wasatch Mtn. Wranglers on the eve of the annual Wasatch 100 trail race. Yup. 100 miles up and through the Wasatch range. Starts in Kaysville, end at Soldier Hollow. Its bonkers. A part of me wishes that I could be out there running with them. But, the rest of me knows how much time these kids put in to training. Its nuts. A lot of miles, a lot of early wake-ups, a lot of entire Saturdays eaten up running. I love my trail running, and I love the idea of challenging myself to go 100 miles, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. Part scheduling, part laziness.

In any case, enough about me – good luck to everyone running. Wow! I’ll be checking your progress all day, and night and day. Hopefully I’ll see some at the finish line.