Digging Idaho

It was a good day today.  At least the start was good. I hit the road early and had 20 miles in before 10am. But it was no use, the cloud cover dissipated and I ending up baking in the sun.  Toward the end of my run I was reduced to limping from spots of public shade to spots of public shade. Public shade was in short supply. Where there were trees, they usually bordered small farms with resident dogs with an appetite for me and/or my three wheels. Sometimes it was just me and a big cement telephone pole hanging out. The wooden ones are too narrow, plus the cement acts like a heat sink.

A welcome resting spot in record breaking temps today – 91F.

What an experience to spend 19 days running 558 miles across Oregon! By far my favorite part was the Columbia Gorge, but the logging roads in the Coastal Range are a close second. If only I hadn’t ended up partially lost on them! Tomorrow I will roll into Boise where I will take my first rest day.

One big country: Seasidel, OR to Caldwell, ID
Columbia Gorge
Historic Columbia River Highway

It has truly been a learning experience. Some days have been a breeze, some have been brutal. I’m usually running by 7:30 in the morning and have been averaging close to 30 miles a day. Like being at Everest Base Camp (or Camp I) for extended periods of time, it’s a delicate balance whether at this mileage (or that altitude) you start to break down or get stronger. So far it seems to be the latter but it is touch and go.

Minding the shoulder on I-84

If I can find a route that keeps me off the interstate, I’ll grab it even at the cost of a few miles. But it almost always ends up more. A 46 mile day into Pendleton ended up being a 53 mile suffer-fest. I finished by headlamp and fell asleep eating pizza in my hotel room. Other days have been like walks in the park.

Almost the end of an exhausting 53m day. 

I’ve learned to deal with all the elements. The first two nights I camped out and woke up covered in snow and ice. The elements have hailed, drizzled, howled, and baked me. I change layers several times a day and currently have a serious farmer tan. The last three days have been a race against getting done for the day before getting burned more.

I thought doing a 26m after a 53m would be ‘easy’, but it drizzled sideways and I was miserable..

Where I lay my head is divided between camping, budget motels, and houses of friends or friends of friends. I spend too much time each evening planning my route for the next day. I’ve become quite good at using google maps and zooming in on the satellite images to look at road surfaces. But you never know what you will get until you actually arrive…

Google ‘walk’ can map some crazy routes

I usually run for 5-6 miles in the morning before turning on some music. Sometimes it is FM radio, sometimes mp3’s, and if I have a data connection and a lot of power, I will stream radio from Seattle (KEXP and KUOW). All sorts of things float across my mind and sometimes nothing at all. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the similiarities between this adventure and the Appalachian Trail and also Everest. There are a lot of parallels. I think about which gear is the same, the need for small goals, need to acclimate, risks, costs, rewards. Crossing into Mountain Time made me wonder what people do who work in one time zone but live in another. How do you manage that? Sometimes I just soak in the scenery, sometimes I talk to the horses, and sometimes I sing. Badly.

Stoked to be on the open roads…watch out!
Lime, OR – population zero?

Obligatory Cat Pic

It was a pleasure to run along the Columbia River for so many days. After that, there were several days of dry desert, of which there will be many more. But reaching the Snake River brought water back into my landscape and also gave me my first glimpse of Idaho. I camped at Farewell Bend State Park which is the historical site of where many emigrants rested after crossing the Snake. Following so many parts of the Oregon Trail and learning from the historical markers has been an unexpected pleasure and I’m excited to visit more sections. The hardships they faced is really staggering.

The Snake River and Idaho

 ‘Trail Magic’ is something that I know from the Appalachian Trail. Unexpected acts of kindness, good fortune, karma. There has been plenty. Much thanks to all that hosted and helped me through Oregon!

Sharon insists that I have a hot dinner at Farewell Bend State Park 

While running the Western States 100 miler in 2010, I had the surreal experience of running through two dawns. Running Oregon has allowed me to experience the changing of the landscape. The feeling of getting up every day and running further east, unsure what is around the next bend. Pushing physical limits beyond anything I’ve done before, and even running through a time zone.

I finally entered Idaho today. I’m curious what it holds in store for me. So far, the run is still fun and I still feel safe. Those are my requirements. Tomorrow is Boise, a rest day, and then…I think…some more running. 
Thanks everyone for your support, comments, advice, and good thoughts. More pictures are available at: https://picasaweb.google.com/wolpin 
Keep on running…

Too early this morning

6 Responses to “Digging Idaho

  • Go Seth Go! The Earlywines are following you! Today I read your post to Randy as we cruise across western PA heading toward Indy. The weather here is so crappy that I must say I’m happy to be inside our van. It makes us admire your fortitude and general burleyness even more., We are wondering… How do you get those photos of yourself? Timer?

    Still hoping to meet “in the middle” somewhere along the way…

  • HELLOOOOOOOO SETH! Yes, it’s Krakauer again. There may be room for you in adventure travel writing yet Seth. Listen, we all have different inspirations, but a big fat paycheck inspires ALL. So a tip. Always keep it real. Integrity to the utmost. I didn’t want to take down Mortenson, I had to take down Mortenson,know what I mean? And don’t skimp on the adventure. Readers want the adventure and they want the unvarnished adventure. Throw away that filter and connect!

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  • Thanks ‘Krakauer’ (or is that ‘Brad’?) for the advice. Funny. You made me laugh :-) I’ll work on my writing! Hi Earlywines, good luck on your journey back west. I hope our paths cross. Stay in touch. And yes…a timer and sometimes a movie and then I just pause the movie and take a screenshot. The resolution is not as good but it reduces the chances of repeats…

  • Hey–good read Seth. Keep going!

  • Since hearing about you a few days ago via Dennis Ahern, I’ve joined up to(virtually)follow you on your journey. You’re inspirational!! Keep up the great job!!
    - Tina (AKA: Khara Tina on Facebook)

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