Davy Crockett’s Running Frontier

I like to Run Insanely Long & Crazy Distances                                                                                                             Pony Express Trail 100
                                                                                                                                                                            www.ponyexpress100.org

 December 28, 2002 – 15  miles

Three weeks went by and I felt ready for another hike.  We had a great 15-mile hike/run. Participants were: myself, Ed Johnson, Pablo Riboldi, and Paul Hansen.  We hiked in the far southwest corner of Zion National Park, through Huber Wash, petrified forest, and Coalpits Wash. 

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December 7, 2002

I had a fun 23-mile adventure Saturday morning.  It wasn’t supposed to be that long.  I did a solo return trip to Muley Twist, with the intent to hike it in the opposite direction.  I hit the trail at 7 a.m., weather perfect again, warm enough for shorts.  Only four other people had signed the register since David, Brad, and I were there a couple weeks earlier. The southern hike through Hall’s creek canyon was a great view as the sun was rising, more beautiful heading south, than north.

At 8 a.m. I turned west into what I thought was Muley Twist Canyon. (I think you see where this is heading!) The cutoff to it seemed rather short and the canyon seemed different, but I continued on, west and then north. Every 10-15 minutes I would debate with myself if I was in the right canyon. It was stunning, but seemed different.  I also saw only one set of footprints, odd that I couldn’t see our prints from two weeks ago. But I kept running up the creek bed.  Finally, I was dumped out into an open valley, running up a creek bed that started winding back and forth. I knew I was in trouble. Things looked oddly familiar. Then I noticed two sets of very familiar prints heading up the creek bed. “Hold it, those prints belong to David and Brad!”  I popped up out the creek, headed west, and found a trail. Sure enough, I was in Halls Creek, only about one mile from my car and the trailhead!  I had been in Halls Creek the whole time, the lower part had carved through the Waterpocket Fold.  2.5 hours of running, only to end me up almost where I started! Got to get that GPS for Christmas!

Feeling very stupid, I was determined not to let the Waterpocket Fold get the best of me.  I again headed south on the trail.  I passed the canyon entrance where I made my mistake and pressed on down the trail. After awhile I saw a sign coming up…I thought, “great the sign to the Canyon.” To my horror, the sign said, “Muley Tanks.”  I again missed the
canyon, had overshot by a mile. I checked out the tanks that I couldn’t find a couple weeks earlier.  They were large pools, or tanks in the slick-rock, full of frozen water.  Still determined, I headed north, bushwhacked, searching for the right canyon…found a very cool slot canyon on the way.

At 10:30, I located the right stream bed, found the trail marker for the cutoff, and finally knew I was in the right place.  After 3.5 hours of solid running, covering about 13 miles, I was ready to go.  I didn’t feel too dumb when I saw how absolutely hidden the canyon entrance looked.

At the 15-mile mark, my sore knees kicked in, but the hike up Muley Twist was stunning…wow.  Our tracks from two weeks ago were still very fresh…no rain or wind disturbed them. The up-stream prospective gave it a totally new look.  Covering the eight miles in just over two hours, I found the cut-off to “The Post.”  The steep hike down the Waterpocket Fold was an agonizing crawl because of my very sore knees, including my knee caps.  I reached the car a little after 2 p.m.  A seven-hour hike, like two weeks ago, but this time adding about eight miles.

Despite the challenges, it was a great hike.  I have to list Lower Muley Twist up near the top of my favorite hikes.

Price River – UT

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November 30, 2002

This week’s adventure was with Pablo Riboldi along Price River in a deep canyon through the Book Cliffs as the river heads toward Green River. It was interesting.  The landscape was desolate, it reminded me somewhat of Grand Canyon or lower Paria. We did see a couple mountain goats very close, cruising down and up the canyon. 

We ran/hiked 13 miles in 2 1/2 hours and hiked half-way up toward the plateau above, to get a nice view at sunrise. We had planned on going further, but the trail turned into either rock-hopping on one side of the river or crossing the icy river, hopping icy rocks. We chose the whimpy approach and headed back. It was a nice hike, temperature in
upper-20s/low 30s.. We still shed our outer layers and were quite warm.  We arrived home at 11:30 a.m.

November 23, 2002

David Hansen, Brad Clements and I traveled to the southern end of Capital Reef National Park and hiked Lower Muley Twist.  This canyon was given that name by the pioneers because it twists so much that even a mule would be twisted.  We left Utah County at 5 a.m. and reached the trailhead at about 9 a.m.  The weather was perfect – sunny and in the 30’s and 40’s.   David and Brad were skeptical about power hiking, I convinced them to give it a try.  David had just moved to Utah from Washington D.C. and was thrilled to see the stunning scenery.   It was stunning!

We first hiked up the Water Pocket Fold, and then down into the twisting canyon.  It was just as stunning as Paria, but the walls not as high.  The colors were fantastic and the alcoves were amazing.

I didn’t run much, wanting to stay with them and help them to have a good experience with long-distance power hiking.  We traveled eight miles down the canyon and then I split up from them to go check out the Muley Tanks, which I didn’t find.  We had walky-talkies, so we were able to keep in contact.  I ended up beating them back to the car by a half hour.  Our total distance was about 15 miles.  This was my favorite hike so far.

David wrote about this hike:

> I’d like to tell you that we had a lousy time, that the weather
> was bad, and that there was nothing to see, but I’d be a liar.
> Perfect weather, perfect temperature, incredible scenery, and DaveC
> even took it easy on us and let us keep a +/- 4 mi/hr pace that was
> fast but still doable and enjoyable.  (Granted, at the end DaveC did
> take off running and ended not only going further down the canyon, but
> he also beat us back to the SUV by about a half hour.  However, that
> is mitigated somewhat by the route Brad and I chose to use to return
> to the SUV – for a while we followed Halls Creek which was meandering
> ALL OVER the valley until we finally struck out across on our own.).
> We also saw some fantastic scenery on both the drive down and the
> drive back (the Burr trail (?) route back was incredible – switchbacks
> up an almost sheer face followed by one of the most scenic canyons
> I’ve driven through in years, capped by the drive from Boulder to
> Torrey over the high plateau – beautiful!!!).  It helped that Brad
> drove us down and back in his very nice and comfortable SUV.
>
> Any downsides?  Well, 4 hours driving down and 4 hours driving back is
> a lot when they come before and after a 15+ mile jaunt in the desert
> no matter what you’re driving.  I’m still not sure tennis shoes are
> the best option even though I did enjoy their light weight – my toes
> were tender the next morning – and it might have been fun to have
> spent a little more time exploring secondary finds along the route.
> Also, I need to continue building my physical conditioning.  While I
> didn’t have any specific soreness the following day, I was internally
> pretty tired – for lack of a better explanation – My batteries were
> definitely still undercharged the day after.
>
> So, would I do it again?  You bet!  Although I think it will be hard
> to beat the combination of perfect conditions we had for this hike.  I
> also think that for treks that are far down south I would now be more
> interested in considering driving down the evening before and spending
> the night in a motel, but that’s still a flexible issue.

November 16, 2002 – 16 miles

My end-to-end Paria adventure left me with a bad case of ITBS in my right knee.   I clearly was not in shape for that amount of milage in one stretach.  It had been killing me, not being able to do any trail running. I decided to do a solo-hike, down in the north end of Zion National Park, to Kolob Arch.  My backpacking group had done that hike a year before I joined up with them.  They took three days, I would try to do it in a few hours.  I left home very early, at 3 a.m. and arrived at the Lees Pass trailhead at about 7:00 a.m.  I was very worried about my knee.  The first part of the hike was downhill and I knew it might hurt.  The scenery was stunning!  The trail was soft and very nice red dirt.  My knee felt fine until about four miles into the run.  I had hoped that it had healed, but not so.   I rested a little and then it felt fine. 

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October  11-12, 2002 – 42 miles 

I did a nice return trip through Paria Canyon with brother-in-law Ed Johnson.  We drove down Thursday night and spent the night at a motel in Kanab.  We woke up early and arrived at the White House trailhead at about 6:00 a.m.  I almost ran over a guy sleeping in the parking lot next to his car.  Pretty stupid of him.   As I was loading up my camelback with Gatorade, I spilled it all over in my daypack, so the whole hike I would have wet, sticky stuff.

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Kings Peak – UT

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September  14, 2002 – 24 miles

On Friday at work, I considered what I would hike on Saturday and started thinking about Kings Peak.  I remembered on my first backpacking trip there, that we saw a guy day-hiking it.  He took all day, but did it.  It is normally a three-day backpacking trip.  I have hiked it twice.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought I could do it in one day.  I finally decided to do it and asked Linda if it would be OK.  I would need to be back home on Saturday by 4 p.m., so it meant that I would have to start hiking VERY early in the morning.

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August 24, 2002

I was determined to not get out of shape this year after the backpacking trip.  So I got right back up on the horse and decided that I would try another hike up Timp.  This time I would try to do it as fast as I could.  I started about 4:30 a.m.  On the way up there was a full moon.  It took me about 2 ½ hours to reach the saddle (not quite to the highest point, but a ridge where you can see Utah Valley).  I was very pleased with the fast pace. No one passed me.  I saw about 50 people up there watching the sunrise.  On the way down I passed more than a hundred people coming up.  I saw Dave Kenison on the way down.  He was shocked to see me out there, knowing that I had just done the long hike last weekend.  It took me about two hours to get down.  I arrived back home about 10 a.m.  I was hooked on power hiking!  With each hike I feel in better shape.  I came home and took it easy the rest of the day but didn’t feel as drained like my first hike up that mountain.