Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
                                                                                                                                                                            www.ponyexpress100.org

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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, the Mirror Lake area on the far west end, 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, horseback riders, and determined fisherman.

In the Uintas, now and then, I experience one of those very special days when I have an intense connection with the trail, wilderness and nature.  This past Saturday was one of those amazing days.  The weather was perfect and beauty around me was stunning. I had the trail all to myself and the solitude was so peaceful.  I was disappointed when it ended. continue reading…

respect

As ultra and trail running becomes more popular year after year I am alarmed about a lack of respect for the mountain by many of these new trail runners. For centuries, mountains and their summits have been recognized as sacred places yet many of these young trail runners seem to think of them only as their personal playgrounds.

Some think nothing about throwing trash around the trails and purposely leaving stuff in clear sight on the high summits. Things left behind include an alarming practice of leaving “calling cards” on summits to somehow claim them and show friends that they have concurred the summit.  Others are leaving prizes, gifts, or drinks to be claimed by friends later on. Others take videos of various comical antics on summits including tossing boulders off them.  All this bothers me, but when challenged by a majority of the running community, the attitude by these few is “we can do whatever we want.”  It is just sad to see a growing disrespect for these amazing mountains by those who don’t respect the practice of “leave no trace,” or don’t value the sacred feelings others have for these mountain peaks. continue reading…

dangers

I DO NOT agree with this common statement

Even more fun than running 100-mile races for me is doing solo adventure runs. My first long solo adventure run was in 2002, to Kings Peak in Utah. Over the years I gained more and more experience and learned how to run with minimal weight on my back, but enough food and emergency items to keep me out of trouble. I’ve now run thousands of miles solo in the back country in Utah and Arizona. I’ll routinely do runs of 50K to 50 miles and at times up to 100 miles.

I’ve been criticized for going out alone for such long distances. But those who know me understand that I’m actually very conservative as it comes to safety.

One year a local road runner who experienced the Grand Canyon for the first time was so excited about the experience that he scheduled a large group run for a Grand Canyon R2R2R in the heat of June, inviting anyone interested, including people he never had met before. Dozens of first-time Grand Canyon runners expressed interest. I was very vocal about how dangerous this was at that time of the year and how improper it was to organize group runs with strangers into dangerous areas. I had read and followed very closely all the canyon rescues and deaths from heat exposure. That runner and his friends slammed me on social media. Eventually someone informed the NPS authorities. Thankfully this large event never took place and soon the NPS started to require permits for these type of group runs.

The vast majority of my runs involve routes and trails where I know, where I can run into people, so I’m rarely really alone. I know my limits and take what I think are reasonable precautions. On certain runs I’ll take a rented satellite phone or a SPOT tracker. Other things are taken like signal devices, fire starters, and emergency blankets.

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buckles

About once a year I like to update my buckle collection.  This picture shows all my 100-mile buckles.  Additionally I have a few 50-mile and 100K buckles not in the picture.  I think buckles should be reserved for the 100-mile distance or further.  I am missing ten buckles.  Bighorn 100 didn’t issue them for two of my years there. I didn’t get a couple buckles sent to me, one from Bear and one from Pickled Feet.  Moab which is no longer held, didn’t issue buckles.  And Vermont didn’t issue them unless you finished below 24 hours (a shameful approach).  Plain issued rocks instead of buckles.

And then there were the ten DNFs.  Two issued 100K buckles.   In all I’ve started 92 100-mile races and have finished 82 of them. continue reading…

Tahoe Rim 100

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter being away for five years, I returned to run the spectacular course of Tahoe Rim 100.  I’ve finished this race five times, earning my 500-mile belt and was drawn back to again experience it for the sixth time.  Much of the race runs on the amazing Tahoe Rim Trail above the northeast end of the beautiful lake. In years past when I ran it the field was small, but now it has grown up to include about 230 starters.   I classify the course as an easier mountain 100.  It does run at higher altitude, between 7,000-9,000 feet.  All but two of the climbs are very runnable.  The course climbs about 17,000 feet along the way and consists of two 50-mile loops.

I’ve had pretty good races here in the past, usually finishing around 26 hours in the top 20.  But with advanced age and difficulty with altitude races recently, my expectations were low and I really just wanted to enjoy the course again and finish. 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 (6/16)

Full book: downloadable PDF version to read off-line. 237 pages, 18 meg. 10,947 downloads to date.  

To be continued…

Mount_Timpanogos

For more than 100 years, Mount Timpanogos (11,749 feet) has been the most popular hiking destination in Utah. Timp towers over the valley floors below by more than 7,000 feet – an impressive sight that draws hikers of all ages to its trails. A single round trip to the summit on the trail covers about 14 miles and climbs about 4,500 feet. (Compare this to about 4,460 feet elevation of climbing down into the Grand Canyon from the South Rim (Bright Angel trail) and back with about the same mileage, you just do the down section first).

When I meet people locally for the first time and they recognize my name, most of the time they ask if I am the guy who ran up and down Timp five consecutive times. I sheepishly admit that I am that person. Ten years ago I accomplished that feat. I am still the only person to accomplish a Quint Timpanogos. Three times since then, I went up with the hopes to do six, but each time I only did two or three and came home vowing that I would never try again to break it. I would tell myself that it is just too stupid and hard. Others have had their eye on this record. In 2013, Jennilyn Eaton attempted to break it, but was turned away by bad weather before her third summit. I’ve wondered if this record would ever be broken.  I was ready to try again. continue reading…

Flat Top mountain and the Oquirrh mountains

The Oquirrh Mountains is a mountain range that runs north-south for 30 miles on the west side of Salt Lake Valley and Utah County. The mountains have been mined in gold, silver, lead and copper including one of the largest open pit copper mines, Bingham Canyon (Kenicott) mine. In 2015 I traversed the southern portion of this mountain range and had a great adventure. I decided to repeat it this year. (The Northern section includes no trespassing private property sections and is barren of snow this time of year.)

Timing for this adventure is critical because water needs. I had no desire to haul large quantities of water along the way and there are no convenient access points along the way to drop off supplies. The solution is to use snow fields, but the fields shouldn’t be deep enough to obscure the trails along the way. Thus the right time to try this would be around the first day of summer when all the snow hasn’t quite melted off. On the north side of each peak snow fields could still be found. continue reading…