Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
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Browsing Posts in Adventure Runs

peaks

Early on during my running career (12 years as of 2015), the activity of “Peak Bagging” got my attention.  Usually that involves attempting to summit a large set of peaks over time, months or years. But my approach somehow evolved into something different – trying to bag a set of peaks in one day or close to one day, in one stretch. continue reading…

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The Ruby Mountains are a range 80 miles long in Nevada above the small cities of Wells and Elko.  They can be seen prominently from I-80 and usually are snow-covered late into the summer.  As I’ve driven by, I’ve wondered about this range rising above the desert floor and whether or not there were any good trails up there.  The range was named after garnets found by explorers. Some of the valleys were formed by glaciers.

When a Facebook friend recently went to run the mountains I discovered the existence of the Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, most of which runs through the Ruby Mountains Wilderness area between 8,000 and 11,000 feet elevation.  Much of the trail was constructed by the CCC, probably in the 1950s. Recorded distances for the trail vary.  A sign at the northern Lamoille trailhead states that the trail is 43 miles long, but according to my GPS watches, and considering not cutting switchbacks, trailhead to trailhead is about 33.7 miles. If you use the shorter pack trail alternative on the north end, the distance is about 33.3 miles. continue reading…

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Periodically I like to insert “repeats” into my training.  I will select a difficult day hike and see how many times in a row I can do it in, at a much faster pace than hikers.  Not only is this a good physical challenge, but it is a significant mental challenge.  My theory is that if I can toughen up myself mentally too, when times get tough during a long race, I will be less likely to quit.  Instead of quitting, you figure out how to continue on with a memory and assurance that with adjustments things will improve.  With “repeats” it is easy to quit because you come back to your starting point, which is a way out toward rest and comfort.

For me, the rules for summit repeats include starting at an established trailhead, climb to the summit and then return to the trailhead.  Then do it again, and again. Past repeats I’ve accomplished have included my repeats on Mount Timpanogos, the most consisting of five consecutive summits (24,000 feet of climbing in 70 miles).  I’ve also accomplished Kings Peak (highest peak in Utah) repeats, accomplishing two consecutive summits, which I have done on three different occasions (9,000 feet in 52 miles).  All three times I hoped to do three summits, but just didn’t have the mental push to run it one more time.  Behind my house, I did four consecutive summits of Lake Mountain (12,000 feet of climbing in 36 miles).  Others have tried to match or beat some of these accomplishments, but so far the records are safe.

As the snow melts from the tops of the mountain and late spring arrives, I shift my training from long runs on lowland terrain to climbs into the mountains.  This Saturday I was interested to start doing some serious vertical training and I selected Y Mountain above Provo, Utah, as my destination for doing repeats.  See good article on the Y mountain trail. continue reading…

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Lake Mountain rises 3,200 feet behind my home.  Much of my training takes place in its foothills.  A week ago I finished Salt Flats 100 which was a good race for me. I recovered very fast and by Thursday was itching to run again.  On Friday I tested things out and did a tough run from the Utah Lake shoreline to the top of Lake Mountain, a 12-mile round trip that climbs 3,200 feet.  I felt recovered and again ready for a long run this weekend.

I decided to do some unfinished business.  I wanted to run the entire Lake Mountain ridge line all the way from Eagle Mountain Ranches to the Soldier Pass road, about 16 miles.  I once did this, but not quite right, I skipped the last two miles of ridges and descended into a valley and didn’t run all the way back around to my starting point.  I wanted to go the entire distance without using any valleys to go up or down, something I’m sure no one has accomplished before.  Yes, it would be pretty crazy and required some careful study and planning, but it would be possible. continue reading…

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I summited Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah for the 15th time. But this time, I did it from a trailhead on the south slope, instead of from the north. The challenge is that this route is a 41-mile round trip with 6,580 feet of climbing instead of 26 miles and 4,300 feet of climbing. I believe I’m the first person to accomplish this in a day. Typically this longer route is a four-day backpack trip. continue reading…

peaks

Last year I set a crazy goal to attempt summiting the eight highest peaks (300+ feet prominence) in Utah County, all more than 11,000 feet, in a single adventure run.    The peaks in order are:

  • Mount Nebo 11,928
  • Mount Timpanogos 11,750
  • South Timpanogos 11,722
  • North Timpanogos 11,441
  • North Peak (“North Nebo”) 11,174
  • Box Elder Peak 11,101
  • Provo Peak 11,068
  • East Peak (“East Provo”) 11,040

continue reading…

I hesitated to write this chapter.  Running on a frozen lake is very risky.  In recent years word has gotten out about this activity which I probably started and I’m wondering when the first tragedy will occur. Whether stupid or not, this is part of my running history and there are amazing photos to share. As of 2014, I have run nearly 250 miles on the lake.  For years I was the only one doing it, but this past year dozens ran across the lake.  If you must go, please take precautions.

  • Don’t go alone
  • Take a cell phone in a waterproof container
  • Take a rope
  • Wait until the ice is thick, at least six inches. Don’t go when it is thawing.
  • Stay away from the areas of hot springs near the northwest end and Lincoln Beach toward the south.
  • Stay away from areas of incoming creeks and rivers on the east side.
  • Be very careful around fissures that have standing water on either side.
  • The ice is thinner near the shoreline and thicker out in the middle of the lake
  • Don’t run right after a snow.  Snow can hide the cracks.
  • Don’t run after a rain.  The top layer will be slushy and hide the cracks.  It won’t be fun running on slush anyway. continue reading…

For this adventure run, I again traveled to Capital Reef National Park, only three hours from my home.  I had always wanted to run Spring Canyon, which is a hidden deep and narrow canyon that runs west to east.  It starts near Thousand Lakes Mountain and ends at the Fremont River.   Towering above the canyon are Wingate cliffs and Navajo domes.  To run Spring Canyon downstream, there are two trailheads to access it.  Upper Spring Canyon is accessed via Holt Draw/Sulphur Creek.   Lower Spring Canyon is accessed via Chimney Rock Trailhead.   The entire length of the canyon from the entry point above Sulphur Creek is about 18 miles.  Add on to that about 5 miles to reach the entry point.  In my case, I added on another seven miles for side trips and wrong turns for a rugged 30-mile adventure.   It turned out to be an amazing all-day adventure.   I was able to quickly hitch a ride back 13 miles to my starting point. This video tells the story

Cathedral Valley is a spectacular desert valley on the North end of the park that does not see many visitors because of the long dirt road access.   I visited Lower Cathedral Valley containing the Temples of the Sun, Moon, and Stars.   These spectacular monoliths are made of pink Entrada Sandstone.  Before returning home, I did a quick seven-mile morning run around these remarkable monuments.  With no trails, I did a random run up and down dry washes and across sandy desert mounds. This video tells the story