Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
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Browsing Posts published in August, 2015

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…

 

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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, 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.

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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…