Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

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

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…

range

For years as I would drive to and from Captitol Reef National Park to run, I would gaze up at a particular mountain range after passing the small town of Scipio, Utah.  This range presents a peculiar flat horizon on top and I would wonder and dream of running along the top of that mountain range end to end, from Scipio to Richfield.  Only recently did I learn that the name of this range is the Pahvant Mountains, named after the Pahvant tribe, a branch of the Ute Indians. The Pahvant Range merges into the Tushar Mountains on the south.

The Pahvants are rarely visited, mostly by hunters, ATV riders, and horseback riders.  A section of The Pauite ATV trail runs along the southern portion of the range, connecting with the Tushar Mountains.  The range is about 44 miles long and 10 miles across. There are a number of peaks along the range over 10,000 feet high. continue reading…

horses

The Simpson Mountains are a mountain range in the remote west desert of Utah that rise nearly 4,000 feet above the desert floor.  They are about 13 miles long and ten miles across. These distinctive mountains have been viewed by travelers on the Pony Express and Overland trails since the 1860s. Native American Goshutes inhabited their canyons for centuries.  They have a long history and some of it is disturbing.

Captain Simpson

Captain James H. Simpson

The mountains are named for explorer Captain James H Simpson, topographical engineer, who was stationed at the army camp, Camp Floyd, in today’s Fairfield, Utah.  In 1858 he explored around the mountain range, and in 1859 returned in his work to lay out an overland mail route between Salt Lake City and California. For years I have wanted to explore these mountains more closely and I finally mapped out a course to run completely around them.

On Friday evening, I arrived at the northeast corner of my circuitous route, establishing my starting location at a corral above dry Government Creek. The corral was at a location once called Government Spring and had been visited by Simpson in 1858.

Porter Rockwell

Porter Rockwell

This place was also once the cattle ranch of Orrin Porter Rockwell, famed mountain man, lawman, and pioneer. He had chosen this open location in the 1850s  for a ranch because as he said, “For a cattle ranch you want a place where you can track’em out.” continue reading…

range

The Sanpitch Mountain Range is just south of the Wasatch Mountains.  Perhaps you have looked over to these mountains as your drive south on I-15 between Nephi and Scipio.  I’ve looked up there wondering if you could run along the top of them. The Sanpitch Range is about 40 miles long and its highest point is Salt Creek Peak (9,997 feet).  The range was named after an Indian leader, who was the leader of the Sanpits that resided in Sanpete Valley during the mid-1800s.

After an adventure exploring the Sanpitch three weeks earlier, I became determined to attempt to run the mountain range end to end, a run of more than 50 miles.  There wasn’t much information online about the mountain range top, which is mostly just visited by hunters and ATVers. I planned out my route using topographic maps and hoped that the trails and roads still existed. continue reading…

Squaw-Peak

Somehow years ago I got into my head that it was cool to run repeats of high peaks.  I do recall probably in 2004, seeing a guy run up and down Mount Timpanogos twice in a day. I was very impressed.  But he only went up to the saddle and back twice, not the summit. I convinced myself that this was not quite right, that you needed to go from trailhead to summit and back, then repeat.

My crazy repeats started on Timpanogos, first two, then three, then four, and finally five summits on August 18-19, 2006.  I’m still waiting for someone to break that record, or even tie it, but it still stands nearly ten years later.  It seems like every month I meet someone and the conversation starts, “Are you the guy who…”  I think, “oh no, here it comes again.”   I get embarrassed and reply, “Yes, I’m that guy.”

I like repeats because they are on a consistent trail. You return to your car every few hours to resupply and continue on.  It also is a tough mental exercise that seems to help develop mental strength to continue on in races when I face trials. continue reading…