Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baker Lake 50k

The Baker Lake 50k is my favorite race, period. If I was in prison, on death row, execution imminent, and they said you get one last ultra…I’d take Baker Lake. Not sure why, I just like it, and lots of people agree with me.
The run has big trees, old growth of the sort that the timber wars were fought over—very special stuff, with moss growing up from gnarled roots. They, the Trees, come at you almost immediately once you hit the trail. Then there’s the Lake, turquoise green, and the tall dam crossing it in the first mile or so, with mist or maybe fog rising off the lake. There are log crossings, creek crossings, and fall away cliffs. Bears are somewhere out there, but I’ve never seen them. Baker Lake doesn’t have a whole lot of elevation gain, but the trail rolls and rolls and rolls; there are just enough rocks and slippery roots to slow you down. I saw bloody knees, sagging shoulders, but usually with smiles. The run is in the fall, right at the change of the seasons, football time, and it seems like hot apple cider, hot cocoa, or a bonfire is appropriate. Sometimes you get sun, sometimes you get rain, maybe even snow. Sometimes, if lucky, Mount Baker comes out and crowns the lake, glaciers so close you can almost see the crevasses. This run is, btw, all the more amazing by the full moon in winter, with the night reflection of Mount Baker on the lake. The runners are of course all cool, and for me it’s particularly easy to roll out of bed at 6 AM and get to the start line with plenty of time to spare. So, I like it.
I had a great time out there this year, as always. The course was significantly revised due to a bridge outage—some wily beavers ate it, and there was no money to replace it. So, instead, we, the Runners, first went up high on this hill overlooking the lake, came back down to the main trailhead, and then did two out and backs, on the East Bank Trail. I walked the first five miles or so with the sweep team, taking in the foggy morning air, and then I felt like I had to run, so I took off. I had some trepidation on how I would run, two weeks after Wasatch, my feet still aching and semi-blistered. Still, once I started, the running came easy enough, and the whole event actually felt short, which I’m sure reflects the longer runs I’ve been doing this summer. Nice to have things click click clicking. As this was my fifth Baker Lake, I got a cool Baker Lake bag and entered into the "Hall of Fame," which is worth a smile. Kudos and thanks to Shawn, TC, and the Team, who all did a great job of continuing the Dutton family tradition of excellence for this first class trail run.

1 comment:

shawn said...

I's one of my favorites. Brings back many memories of camping out there as a kid. Anyway, I'm glad you came out for your 5th year. Be careful what you decide to smuggle in that new bag of yours.