29 September 2008

Aneroid Mountain Summit Run

I'm not sure what happened with my post on the 19th but for some reason all the text disappeared. Hmmm. I had a nice little write-up about what I've been doing and what I've been planning for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, etc etc. Here's a quick recap of what I think I had said:

-No Cle Elum
-No Portland Marathon
-Nice to rest my legs some
-Plan to do Rocky Raccoon (TX) 100-mile in Feb
-Or maybe the Bandera (TX) 100-k in Jan
-Maybe Autumn Leaves (OR) 50 in Nov
-Why I haven't been visiting blogs like I should
-Why I really like chocolate chip cookies
-Oct: training back into high-gear

Maybe I should just start writing my posts as bullet points. That was a lot faster.

This past weekend we went down to Wallowa Lake, Oregon for some R&R (and trail running). This has been one of our favorite places to go to since we moved to the Northwest. The last weekend in September is a music and food festival that's pretty fun. The mountains make it completely worth it. I've done a lot of hiking there but that was all before I was a trail runner.

One of my goals for the last few years has been to summit Aneroid Mountain. It's one of the higher peaks in Oregon at over 9,700 feet. One of my favorite trails to hike has a clear view of Aneroid's peak and it always seemed like a very doable, non-technical climb/scramble/hike but I've never been able to make a serious attempt because of time/scheduling. But now I'm a trail runner and when a guide book says "2 days roundtrip" for a hike I interpret that as meaning "great long run for a Saturday." So Sadie and I started out early in the morning for the summit.

The trailhead is around 4,600' and our cabin was a mile away and another couple hundred feet lower. The trail sees a lot of pack animal traffic and can sometimes be very beat up. But it must have seen a heavy rain recently because it was nice and packed on the non-rocky sections. The trail is about an 8 mile climb to around 8,500' - not counting the mile from the cabin. There are a few sections that are flat for a few hundred yards or so but for the most part it's entirely climbing. But I was feeling very good and I was able to run most (half) of the climb.

At around the 9-mile overall mark you just have to go off trail and scramble up to the peak. This last mile or so up took nearly an hour because for a lot of it I was on all fours climbing and scrambling. Very fun, though. Sadie was looking at me funny because (I'm assuming) she's not used to me running on all fours. She thought there was something wrong with me and kept coming over to see if I was okay but I kept telling her I was fine and to just look at how stinking steep it was and if it was so easy to be on two feet why wasn't she. There was a lot of climbing and then sliding back down a few feet and then climbing back up. Eventually, we made it to the top for some spectacular views on a spectacular day. We signed the registry (well, I signed for Sadie) and headed back down, running the entire way minus the time I had to stop to help the old lady who was barreled over by her pack donkey because we ran up on it around a corner and startled it. She was fine - I think.

Overall the run was just over 20 miles. The light all morning was great for photos. Hope you enjoy them.

Trailhead (4600')

Sun coming up over Wallowa Lake

The trail was nice and smooth

On our way up

Frosty meadow

Who wouldn't want
to run this trail?

Sadie looking back

Nearing 8000'

Aneroid Mt on the scramble up

Sadie the Mountain Dog

A couple hundred yards
below the summit - I'm not
doing much running at this point

View from the top with
Aneroid Lake below

Another amazing view
from the top --
look at that sun!

Top of Aneroid Mt. (9702')

If you have fun with Google Earth check out my run here.

Screen shot from Google Earth

Keep running!