08 June 2008

Close Encounters of the Strange Kind

Most of my trail runs are on the little bump of Idaho land called Moscow Mountain. Little did I know of the incredible danger I've been facing each time I've set foot on this, as I call it now, "mountain of impending doom." While doing a bit of trail research the other day I came across an interesting thread. Yes, Bigfoot lives on Moscow Mountain, or at least visits on holiday. So each time I come back from a trail run it's basically like I've cheated death.

Sadie and I had a long trail run scheduled for Saturday. The weather was looking cold and wet and windy; perfect Bigfoot weather. And cold and wet and windy it was. Running is fun. So is raining, especially for things that need it to survive and grow. Like plants, etc.

My legs felt as light as they have in months. Sadie is happy when my legs are feeling good because it means we get to run farther and longer. And going farther and longer means we get to explore new trails. My goal was to run to the highest point on the mountain. I've never been to the top since I've been running there because I've never been able to get that far (and get back to the car, too).

We found some beautiful single-track trails on the way across the ridge to the summit. A website said there was an old lookout near the summit that had spectacular views. I wasn't too sure of the direction I was going in because there were several logging road intersections and no signs. So I kept taking the way that looked like it was going up.

Eventually we came to a closed gate that said "Private Property - No trespassing. Foot traffic welcome." I thought it was really nice of them to allow hikers to pass through. Then, we came across this on the side of the trail:

Someone just ran out of gas, right?...

Hmm, I hummed to myself. There's something a little fishy about an abandoned motorcycle this high on the mountain. But we kept on. Then we saw this:

No caption necessary

An old snowmobile hanging from a tree. Not quite something I was expecting to see. Daring art, or warning sign? I was now beginning to wonder if the whole "foot traffic welcome" was a ruse to lure unsuspecting feet in-gulp. Or, even worse, did the Bigfoot learn how to write?...

I decided to keep moving forward, though. Sadie wasn't too scared and I usually take my cues from her when we're on the trails. And she can be pretty skittish, usually. But she was doing fine until a few hundred yards later we saw this:

Now that's what I call a monster truck.
(Seriously, I called it that when I ran by.)

We reached the lookout, which looked abandoned, apart from monster truck parked outside and the smoke coming from a chimney. I thought I saw a shadowing figure in the window but didn't stick around long enough to see whether it was Bigfoot or just a crazy mountain person who likes to eat hikers and trail runners.

We quickly went around the "abandoned" lookout and headed up the trail some more. At this time I really had no idea where we were in terms of the summit. But the trail kept climbing so we kept going. The summit is listed just under 5,000 feet. We got to a point at the top of the trail where all trails led down. My garmin said we were at 4,985 feet, so I figured we were at the top. The view was wonderful:

I can see my house from here!

I think Sadie may have spotted Bigfoot.

As we began our descent it started snowing. Yes, snow on June 7th. It was awesome. Have I ever mentioned how much I love snow? When we left the car a couple hours earlier the temperature read 39 degrees. Cold and wet and windy.

We sprinted by the lookout (no figure in the window this time) and followed our way back down. A few miles later we had dropped below the clouds and there was a nice view:

That's Moscow, ID in the background.

All in all a very good run. We didn't get eaten by Bigfoot and Sadie set her mileage PR. 25 miles! Her previous best was 23.something. She had a blast but I think she was a little tired.

Here are some charts and maps from the run:

View Larger Map

Back to back 50+ mile weeks and I'm feeling good. Keep running!



  1. What an adventurous run you had. There's nothing like pondering the mysterious vehicles along back roads. If they could talk, I'm sure they'd have great stories to tell!

    Oh, and you can bet my husband and I will be practicing the knee glide tonight. I don't know how we've lived all these years without that skill!

  2. You're an animal! Maybe a close relative to Bigfoot, which is why he leaves you alone rather than feasting on you for dinner. Nice running out there in Bigfoot country.

  3. That is one amazing dog!! Nice running.

  4. Bigfoot had better start training if he's going to catch you!

  5. What a killer trip. Automobiles and snowmobiles hanging in trees is a definite warning sign. You know, that whole Deliverance thing :-) Glad Sadie was there to protect you!! or at least use you for a diversion!!

  6. Back to back 50's... now that is exciting stuff!!

    So did Sadie eat Big Foot or does the tale live on?

    Snow in June... not here!! You are killing me with your wonderful temps.


  7. Deliverance! If I had been with you, I can just picture you running through the woods, looking backwards every five seconds, scaring me by pretending to be scared!

  8. Oh hi Scott! I'm sooo jealous of your daring run. Reading your post just reminded me how much I miss blogging and running more than I am now..truth be told. Thanks for the jolt(comment)!

  9. Wow that's an impressive run for Sadie. Glad both of you didn't get eaten by BigFoot.

  10. Keep your camera with you! If you spy sasquatch, those pictures will set you up for life!

  11. You wouldn't catch me out there running by myself... especially streaking! :)

  12. That looks a little backwoods, scary kind of stuff. I think the monster was guarding a still...you know they say if you drink moonshine, you'll grow hair on your chest...maybe Bigfoot is just a moonshine-drinkin' backwoods hippy type guy.

  13. Okkaayyy I think I would have not stuck around there for sure!!!

  14. Sounds like one interesting run, that view from the look out was well worth the effort , and paranoia of mountain men/monsters and what ever else might lurking in the bushes.

  15. Funny pics. Looks like your running is coming along nice!

  16. wow. BTB 50 mile weeks! you are doing awesome. keep it up!

  17. loved your latest blog update. Pretty darn great! Glad you are doing well. I finally got some time to udate my blog.

  18. That is a real adventure and I think that the company of Sadie is very important.

  19. Dude, you make me laugh. I love finding cool stuff along the way. Makes you wonder.

    A buddy of mine directed a film called "Hair Of The Sasquatch", a feature length mockumentary currently in post-production. The trailer is on YouTube at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=rJt5yLeePtk I believe we share the same sense of humor so check it out.

  20. Hi Scott,

    I found your story on last year's Kootenai River Run. Thank for the great report. We missed you this year. I hope you can come back in 2009.

    Jim "The Bird" Cadnum,
    Race Director

  21. Thanks for ending your blogs with "keep running". It's my least favorite part about training for a sprint tri, but I'm doing it. Not the stellar 50 + weeks - nothing even close, but it's something. After this sprint tri in July, I hope to do a half and MAYBE, just MAYBE in the future a full. We shall see. Like I said, I hate the running and what it does to your body. Any shoe suggestions would be great.