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 tent...it'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.