Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100


Nine years ago, in 2006, I accomplished a quad crossing of the Grand Canyon (R2R2R2R2R).  This has only been accomplished by six runners and no one has accomplished it twice.  I was interested in trying to do it again.  The total distance is about 88 miles and involves about 25,000 feet of climbing along the way.

It had been two years since I had run in the canyon.  I typically enjoy running there on Thanksgiving weekend when temperatures are cool (and some years it is pretty frigid).  But for this long run I decided to go a week earlier when it would be a bit warmer.

After staying overnight in Kanab, I headed to the North Rim.  As I drove through the meadows near the park entrance the temperature dipped to 16 degrees but at the trailhead it was a “warmer” 23 degrees.  I made my preparations, and was on that trail at 6:03 a.m., running down the very familiar trail in the dark. This was my 31st time on the North Kaibab trail (going in either direction) so I knew every section and turn very well.  There was some slick snow/ice for the first mile but nothing dangerous because that section doesn’t have cliffs to the side.  I did trip and fall three times during that first couple miles but the falls were minor.  I was frustrated that as I get older, my balance and skill seems to be decreasing, but as dawn arrived, the increased light helped. continue reading…

The journey to becoming an ultrarunner has many varied paths. I personally never dreamed to be a runner of any kind and in fact most of my life, pretty much despised running. But along these unexpected paths, running somehow evolved. This story is mostly for me, to look back and understand where I came from, but it also may be of interest to others as they too become an ultrarunner.  Perhaps this is my runner memoirs.  It is a attempt to bring together many of my experiences and lessons learned over the years. Recently updated, a downloadable PDF version to read off-line. 77,000 words and 181 pages to snooze by, 24 meg. Nearly 5,000 downloads to date.

To be continued…


The Javelina Jundred was run on Jalloween this year.  This desert 100-mile race is run in McDowell Mountain Park near Fountain Hills, Arizona, at the base of the McDowell Mountains. The course is a loop format that runs on the 15.3-mile single-track Pemberton Trail.   We would have to run six loops in alternating directions and then run a shorter loop to bring the distance up to about 101 miles.

I have a love/hate relationship with this race.  I ran it for the first time in 2009, finishing pretty good with a time of 23:47.  However, in 2012, I returned and my race fell apart because of the heat and I quit after 100K with a slow time of 19:37, more than three hours slower at that point than my first year.  After the poor experience that year, I vowed to never return again. continue reading…

Kodiak 100

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I ran Kodiak 100 which is in the San Bernardino Mountains at Big Bear Lake, California.  This was the third year for the race that by name makes you think it is run in Alaska.  I don’t know why this race is called Kodiak, perhaps because grizzly bear cousins of the Kodiak bear were once found in these mountains.   With all the 100-milers I have run, this would be my very first time running a 100-miler in California.

Two weeks earlier, I had a poor race at Wasatch 100 and dropped out at about mile 75.  The unusual heat affected me poorly and I was sick for the next few days from heat induced difficulties.  I realized that pulling the plug on that race was the right thing for me, but I was anxious to make amends and get my next finish soon, so I signed up for Kodiak 100 just a few days before the race.

I would classify this 100-mile course as one of the easier mountain 100-milers.  It has about 16,000 feet of climbing along the way and is run most of the way above 7,000 feet.  It has two steep climbs of about 3,000 feet and one of 2,000 feet.  What keeps its difficulty down are the miles of dirt roads and quite a few miles of pavement thrown in.  The finishing rate was only about 62%, pretty low, but fairly typical for newer races that attract newer ultrarunners.  Tahoe Rim Trail 100 to the north has a similar difficulty level to this 100. continue reading…

20150829_075204 (640x459)I made a return trip to the Uinta Mountains for another very long Saturday run.  Dry August weather makes it an ideal time to experience the high mountains away from the valley heat.  I hoped for to do a long loop of about 50-miles and decided to start very early in order to give myself plenty of time on the rugged slow trails.

I arrived at Moon Lake on Friday evening and decided to just rest at the trailhead in my car for a few hours.  At 11:53 p.m. I was away on my nocturnal adventure.  A nearly full moon was out to cast light on the hills around me.  For the first 16 miles, I would be running in forest up Lake Fork, starting at 8,000 feet.  Getting off trail in the dark was not a real worry because the horse-worn trail was very distinct and easy to follow. I had run 16 miles last week in Lake Fork and knew what to expect on this mostly boulder-free trail. continue reading…



The Uinta Mountain range is the highest in Utah. Much of it is protected by Wilderness area. I enjoy running up in the high Uintas because of its remoteness and rugged beauty.  Most hikers and runners who go to the Uintas, only go to the heavily traffic areas, Mirror Lake area on the far west, or Henry Fork in order to summit Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah.  However, they are missing much more beautiful sections, better trails, and more interesting peaks that are usually only seen by backpackers or horseback riders.

Weather is always a challenge. The Uintas are usually subject to significant afternoon and evening thunderstorms that can be very scary if you are high up.  Finding key times when the weather is calm allows for much safer and more enjoyable periods to explore the high mountain region. This past week was such a time so I made plans for a new long run.


When you consider the Uintas trails, think boulders. Most of the trails run north/south up and down the drainages and the trails consist of imbedded boulders, obstacles for running, that have been exposed by runoff and years of horse traffic.  In contrast, the Highline Trail runs east/west near the center spine of the range and crosses over many high passes along the way. I’ve run the Highline Trail end-to-end two times (once solo) but it requires convincing someone to help you shuttle a car or drop you off at the far end, a service that takes about eight hours.  My family is now smart and declines when I ask for that shuttle help. continue reading…

I enjoy running on high ridges.  As I drive places in my car, my eyes are always drawn up to the tops of high flat ridges and I wonder if they can be run.  When you drive through the Wasatch Back, there are many such ridges that indeed can be run and usually only get attention by hunters, ATVers, and snowmobilers.  One such area had been on my list to explore — the ridges between Soldier Summit (Spanish Fork Canyon) and Strawberry Reservoir.  Years ago I had run Strawberry Ridge but I knew there were many others to explore.

Early Saturday morning, I drove up Spanish Fork Canyon and parked just east of Soldier Summit at the first road on the north side.  There is a Forest Service kiosk there but only a general map for information.  I began my run at about 3:45 a.m., running up the road that follows the Left Fork of the White River, starting a clockwise loop, hoping for about a 50-mile run. continue reading…

Tushars 93K

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The Tushar Mountains is the third highest mountain range in Utah behind the Uintas and the La Sals.  These mountains are mostly unknown to the running world because of their remote location.  I had never visited them and looked forward to running the new race, Tushar 93K (57.8 miles).  Because it was also my 57th birthday, I thought it would be appropriate to run 57 miles on my elderly birth anniversary to fool me into thinking that I’m still young. The Tushars are about 30 miles long and 20 miles wide in the Fishlake National Forest.  Its highest mountain is Delano Peak, rising to 12,173 feet which would be the first of three peaks we would summit. Most visitors to the area are ATVers, who ride along the Paiute ATV trail, one of the longest in the country.  We would run several miles on that route. continue reading…