It has been a long 15 months of injury recovery from a terrible tibia stress fracture and other associated side-effects. Finally, after all that time, I feel injury-free, able to again go on long solo adventure runs, my favorite part of running. Two weeks ago I finished the Antelope Island 100 in 23:11, taking it easy because of a lingering hamstring problem. But finally, I can run up and down hills pain free.
At times, my adventure runs are the “spur of the moment” type things. If the weather looks good, and I have the time, I’ll quickly make plans, get the OK from my wife, and take off on my own to go run in some remote place. This time, I decided to return to one of my favorite places to run — the remote back country of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. This is a unique park, no entrance fee, and very few people in the back country. I’ve been there five times before and was ready for a nice long run. I stayed the night in Torrey and hit the trail at dawn. This video tells the story.
With a couple miles to go during my morning loop, I passed a couple of backpackers coming out who gave me stunned looks as I ran past, carrying hardly anything. Later, about six miles later they drove past me at the top of the Water Pocket Fold and were all smiles, cheering me on (They were the black vehicle coming up the road in the video.)
My afternoon run in Upper Muley Twist was particularly nice because I had never run there and just had to go by memory, reading about the trail many years ago. Somehow I stayed on the right route and enjoyed just “playing it by ear.” It had been a great 43 miles. As I ran, I thought about how wonderful it is to be able to do this, just run all day, without concern, at times a dozen miles away from anyone else.
I returned to Torrey by dusk, and early in the morning went out for another run, not really planned, but I went to the Great Western Trailhead, north of Torrey, looked quickly at a map there, and just started running. My goal was to ready the high plateaus. It was chilly up there, staying in the upper 30s. I climbed up to 9,200 feet and enjoyed all the spectacular views from on top. I really enjoyed a long seven-mile downhill and for the first time in 15 months was able to pound the downhill without injury pain. That was a very nice 20-mile run and I discovered plenty of new areas to run.