Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

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

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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

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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 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.  continue reading…

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My greatest running love is doing long solo adventure runs.  To make them even more interesting, I enjoy doing “firsts.” These are tough runs that as far as I know, no one has ever attempted or accomplished before.  By publishing these “firsts” I hope that others attempt these and even run them faster, establishing fastest known times.

My “firsts” described below were all solo and either unsupported or self-supported.  If anyone knows of someone who has accomplished these runs before or after me, I welcome the information.  When I do these runs, I don’t try for “fastest known times” because I enjoy sight-seeing and taking pictures.  My aim is to just finish. My motivation for documenting these are not to boast of “records” but to inspire others to do the same and find creative “firsts” to push the limits of what is possible. continue reading…

Could it be done?  Once I set a goal it eats at me to complete it. The highest peaks in Utah are found in the Uinta mountain range, but the most impressive peaks that rise from the valley floor to the sky are found in the Wasatch Front.  Could the top six be summited in one day?  After sumiting numbers 1-3, 5-6 in one day a week ago, I was determined to do it right, all six.   I decided to take work off on Friday and head up to the mountains Thursday night to get it done.

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