Sunday, July 23, 2017

Needles 25k

Rich and Adam hosted a terrific semi-fat ass type run out in Easton, entitled Needles 50k. A fall back 25k option was available, and was more than enough for me.

The course is hard.

The 50k has about 10k in gain; the 25k probably comes in around 5k. The first half of the course is dry, and so you have to plan accordingly. The event starts out with a 3k+ climb or so up towards Doamrie Divide/Peak something, and the views are really cool. You look down on Lake Cle Elum and out towards eastern Washington (Teanaway, etc.). You can see Goat Peak across the way as you climb, which is the first climb of Cascade Crest. There are some picket fence type peaks to the north. Rainier. And more.

But the climb is tough. Maybe next time when I know what's coming a little better, it'll go easier. Or if I lay off the sweets. But I'd get up one miner's trail, and then there'd be another, and another, and I'm gasping, wondering about max pulse rates and blown radiators. Some really nice wildflowers, surprisingly still out-- lupine, paintbrush, columbines, astors. 

The full 50k does a loop out by Little Joe Lake and then up Mt. Thorpe, basically tracing the last trail section of Cascade Crest. And that's spectacular, with views of Lake Kachess, Mt. Rainier, and some mountains to be named later.  I didn't go that way--I did the cut through at the paper plate to the Silver Creek trail, for the so-called 25k route, which was probably 30k. This is a beautiful section in its own right--with two or three sharp climbs, and more views in all directions. The course finishes out through the Silver Creek drainage, just like CC. 

My effort was horrible. My consolation is I got out there. As consolations go, they don't get much better. Rich greeted me at the finish with a nice, ice cold Fanta, which is reminiscent of our days on the Annapurna Circuit with Seth. That was just plain perfect.

The best part of the weekend for me was seeing old friends. I camped both nights, and got to talk for a bit with many good peeps. A good time was had by all. 

Also, I camped in a field, under the stars each night. I love the Eastern Washington night sky. Satellites, the hue of the Milky Way, the pack of wolves near my's all pretty special.

Alas, no pics. Camera battery dead, and I didn't want to carry the phone, which takes bad pics anyway. Plenty of pics of the area available by searching Silver Creek, Easton Ridge, Lake Kachess Ridge, Domarie Peak. 


No pics, and not much of a report to make. Once again, I ran this terrific event on the 4th of July. I was very slow. The hip and left knee do not agree with me, and I should go have things checked, but when the day comes to get out, that's what I do. Great to see Skagit Runners peeps at the race, running and volunteering. The Skagit community is fortunate to have this longstanding event every 4th of July morning. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New Orleans

We visited New Orleans on a work related trip last week. A great place to visit, I wouldn't want to live there...because of the summer humidity. There was plenty of walking, but not much running. 

We took a swamp tour on our last day there. Saw lots of alligators, and got to hold a two year old. We saw a couple alligators eating a deer that they must have pulled into the water, and did a death roll with. There were dragonflies, but didn't find any snakes. The swamp vegetation was lush. We did the flat boat rather than the fan boat, and I would recommend this, as the fan boat had too many tourists and seemed loud.

We ate really well. Too well, sure. We stayed in a hotel right outside the renowned French Quarter, and wandered in their daily. A couple visits to the famed Cafe Du Monde coffee shop for beignets. An afternoon at Acme Oysterhouse. The grilled were great. Etoufee. Gator bites. Jambalaya. Gumbo. Red Beans and Rice. And so on.

Our room had a view of the mighty Mississippi. We walked on its banks, but didn't make it to the paddle boat.  We did ride the St. Charles trolley out and back, which is the oldest or one of the oldest still running trolleys. This was a great way to see some of the Garden District houses, with their columns and southern ambiance in display.  We made it onto Bourbon Street a couple times--a little much for me, I think, at this point in life.  We also made it to Jackson Square, at night, with all the fortune tellers out.

Our trip just happened to correspond with a visit from Tropical Storm Cindy.  It didn't end up being as bad as it could be, but at times the sewers were overflowing with the intense rainwater. We sat under an awning for 20 minutes at one point.

Truly a terrific place to visit--I hope we make the trip again one of these days.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Berry Dairy Days Half Marathon

No pictures, alas. I did the early start, along with some other 30 runners. We headed down Fairhaven Avenue, out of Burlington towards the cow fields. There were yards and fields with berry bushes, and extended views across the Skagit Flats. A turnaround, and then back and to the Skagit River dike. A few folks fishing on the banks. People playing horseshoes and soccer in the fields to the right. And then a finish, along the parade route, with people taking their seats to watch firetrucks and dairy queens on horses.

This race is great. It's flat. It's simple. It's local. And the price is nice.

Good to see Stan, Dean, Brannon, Kevin and other friends. Great weather.

I jogged, walked, jogged, walked, jogged, ran a little, walked, jogged, ran to the finish. Every weekend I toe a line is a win for me. Onward.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blanchard Mountain

Feeling really good. I got up early on the Saturday morning of a three day weekend and hiked and jogged around Blanchard Mountain. I threw in the British Army Trail, and looped back via the logging roads. Just an absolutely terrific morning on trail.

I have an old phone, and I'll replace it one of these days. It doesn't capture the best pics, but I'd rather throw these up here and have them then not. These pics are like rumors of the full view. The temps were in the 70s, not a cloud in the sky, and the trails were not too busy, because of the early start.

I've only taken the British Army Trail a couple times. It seems like t lot of work has been done on the trail in the last couple years, and the white scrapes suggest to me that it is part of the Pacific Northwest Trail. It's a less-traveled gem, and the logging roads back to the upper parking lot was a quiet, solitary experience--just how I like it.  On the logging roads, the view of Mount Baker was tres magnifique at one point. A "Well, hello there! Sweet view!" kind of moment.

Mount Rainier was out too. Sitting square in the middle of the view, from the Overlook, looking down across the Skagit Valley flats and Bow. I do this loop all the time, but don't typically see it. The white capped Olympics Range was also in full view, over Anacortes. All here, said the mountains.

The State Legislature is wrestling with whether or not to protect Blanchard Mountain from logging, and for recreational use. It's a ridiculous debate, but politics are that way sometimes, I guess. Frankly, it looks like a lot of logging has already occurred up there, selectively. The trail is quite a bit different from when I first started running and hiking up there, so many years ago.  Also, there is four to five times the foot traffic. The place is very much used and appreciated. Blanchard Mountain needs to be preserved as it is.

Off the mountain for now. Might go up again this weekend; the weather is good. Cueing up the barbq now, with some Bob Marley beats kicking. Might have to be a homebody, and garden, roof care, and all those sorts of things. Lively up yourself, says Bob.

Train rolling around the corner on the waterline

I promise--Mt. Rainier sits large in the middle of this photo, if you squint. Click to enlarge.

Bow, Chuckanut Drive and the Skagit Flats

Skagit Flats in the foreground, than March Point, and the Olympics Range beyond

Another shot of Bow/Chuckanut/Skagit Flats

Lilly Lake

Lizard Lake - fish were hopping

Here's a fail picture of Mt. Baker.  The lighting didn't work. But the view is special, from the logging roads retiring to the upper Blanchard parking lot.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Beat The Bridge

I ran the Beat The Bridge 8k this morning. The race benefits Diabetes research, and is hosted by Nordstrom. The course runs over the Montlake Bridge by Husky Stadium in Seattle, and then the bridge to beat is the Roosevelt Bridge, which lifts about 24 minutes into the race.  I beat the bridge, but it was not a rout.

The best part of today, by far, was it was a family affair. My wife and I got up at 5 AM or so, with the help of an outlaw rooster. We made the drive down and met her daughter, husband, and others. In particular, Deb's 5 month old granddaughter participated, in a stroller. So very cute, so very cool.

I think Beat the Bridge was my first for fee race in Washington State. I ran it in 1986, 31 years ago! I remember being really excited with the idea of a challenge--Beat The Bridge!--and then finding that it wasn't all that tough to beat. I talked a couple roommates into joining me. Not my first fee race--I did a few in Washington DC before that.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Starlight Overnight

I had a nice Saturday night last weekend at the Starlight Overnight run, outside of Cle Elum.  I haven't spent much time with a headlamp on in the past couple years, and this event presented the perfect opportunity. The event starts at 8 PM, and runners are welcome to do the 2.3 mile trail loop as many times as they like, until 5 AM.  Afterwards, there is a breakfast.

I walked with Glen, and did four loops. We had a good time chatting, and had our hellos with many other friends, as they ran around in the dark. I didn't really feel like running--I just wanted to look at stars. Its been so rainy on the west side, all winter, and I was just looking for an excuse to visit the clear skies of eastern Washington.

I didn't camp out--I came back afterwards. It's probably a better idea to stay the night, but I've been gone a lot lately, and wanted to catch up on some things at home on Sunday. Plus, I like driving when no one else is on the road, with the music rolling. I listened to Bob Marley's Catch A Fire three or four times, and then opted towards some remix of the Hamilton soundtrack. This is night driving.

All the props in the world to Gretchen, Matt, Keri and the Endless Trails peeps for putting on a very special event. Hope to make this trip again next year.