29 November 2010

Snowy Thanksgiving Road Trip

Winter is here.

I try not to travel much during the holidays.  The weather and roads can get a bit dangerous.  And it's tough to fly during the holidays because my dog-sitters are usually out-of-town and I don't like to board Sadie.  Well, all the 10-day weather forecasts I looked at for the week of Thanksgiving looked good, so I thought I'd give it a chance.  I planned to drive down to Salt Lake City for a couple of days to visit my dad, and then we planned to drive up to Alpine, WY to visit my grandparents and brother on Thanksgiving Day.

The drive to Salt Lake was fine.  Roads were clear and safe.  Too easy, right?  Well, sure enough, a blizzard snuck up on us in the Northwest and made its way down through Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Driving up to Wyoming and then back to Washington was slow going.  Cars were overturned in snow banks, tow trucks were stuck in ditches, freeways were reduced to 10 MPH, etc.  It took a couple days to get home, but I made it safe. 

Yep, that's why I don't like to travel during the holidays.

Anyway, I did some running too.  Went on a few good runs with Dad near SLC, then had a very cold run in Alpine on Thanksgiving morning.  And then I finally made it back home with enough time to squeeze in a long run, which turned out to be one of the hardest, most tiring non-ultra length runs I've ever been on.  I picked up the backpack that I'm taking with me to Chile so I can start getting used to running with all my gear.  I don't have all my gear yet, so I stuffed the pack with about 12 lbs of newspaper.  I'll increase the weight as my trip gets closer.

My long run was 23 miles, with my weighted pack, in mid-20 degree temps.  What made it so hard was that about 14 of the miles were in at least 6 inches of snow, with some places as deep as my knee.  Very tiring.  The rest of it was on packed snow or ice.  It took me 4h11m to make it home.  Very tiring.

Here's a photo recap of the week:

Above the clouds on White Bird Pass, Idaho

Sadie enjoying a pre-blizzard view of the Salt Lake Valley

[video] Running with Sadie up a snowy Potato Hill above the Salt Lake Valley

[video] Running with Dad above the Salt Lake Valley

Dad on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail above the Salt Lake Valley

Minus-10(F) on my Thanksgiving morning run in Alpine, WY
(It's too cold to smile)

Back in Pullman/Moscow for a 23 mile run through snow

The few miles of plowed path felt like a little piece of heaven

Keep running!



  1. stunning photos, as usual :) hope that snow keeps coming, and toughening you up!

  2. Cool video of your run in Utah. Running in the snow...You're one tough dude!

  3. where is Sadie's backpack? oh my... you haven't told her you're going to Chile yet have you? better not... :-)

  4. Wes,

    So true -- Sadie doesn't know yet. :(

  5. Great training, Scott. And glad you made it back to Pullman safe and sound.

  6. ICE AGE 2
    Thanks for sharing your winter adventures with us all.
    Fresh snow is good fun:]
    What shoes do you wear in the ice and snow?

  7. Rick,

    I wear my Cascadias. They have great traction on packed snow. Maybe I'll try out my VFFs next time. :)


  8. the snow actually kinda looks like fun. Glad you made it home safely. I've lost all my snow driving skills living down here for so long.

  9. the snow is beautiful from my computer screen down here in TX. :)

    how, oh how, do you run in snow!?!?

  10. I would die to run there! Great photos and enjoy the snow (if you like)!
    All the best to dad and Sadie.

  11. Smashing pictures and a wonderful performance by you and your dad. Beats me how people can run (or drive) in conditions like that. The snowy landscapes are beautiful to look at but knock hell out of my old legs!
    All the best for 2011 and your Atacama crossing.

  12. just over 4 hrs w/ pack in snow seems pretty good to me for 23 miles!!

  13. I just spent awhile catching up on your blog. I'm very, very excited about reading about your Chile experiences. Also, you get an "all hail" from me for running in those cold temps. Bbbrrrr. I can hardly function in anything below 40!