So before I get into the thick of it, a huge congratulations to my friends Nichole Sellon and Adam Lint for their great performances at the very competitive Miwok 100k last Saturday. They both kicked #&*$ (6th women and 5th men) in this tough race in the Marin Headlands of California. Nice job!
Short version: I made it to Wyoming. All of the pictures are in my picasa album.
Long version: Successive long days are coming more naturally. I ran upright out of Idaho falls. I met two nice runners and talked briefly with them on the bridge over the falls. During my run to date, I have seen less than ten other runners and that was mostly Portland.
|Yep – those are the falls|
Eventually everything became farms again and gently rolling fields irrigated by giant circular sprinklers on beefy tires. I could write a book about those sprinklers. I’ll spare you.
|There are also some pretty cool farm trucks in Idaho|
My goal was to camp in a arbitrary field after 32 miles so that the next day would be another 32 miles before getting picked up in Victor, ID. I had already studied the satellite images on Google and there didn’t seem to be any great place to camp. So be it. I carried some extra water for the night and into the next day.
Overall, the run went pretty well with good weather and good tunes. Ignorance was bliss and by covering up the odometer with a piece of opaque tape and not wearing a watch, I lost track of space and time to a positive advantage.
Around mile 20 (I looked) the landscape started changing with more trees and a canyon leading to the South Fork of the Snake River. It was exciting to have real 3d after hundreds of miles of mostly flatness and there is something beautiful about wild trees and things in the horizon that were more like mountains than hills. Not just mountains, but the Tetons.
But by mile 26 or so the road had moved away from the river and was just rolling fields again. They were pretty in their own way but what caught my attention were ugly clouds on a nearby hill that had started drifting toward me.
The darkness arrived and really all hell suddenly broke loose. As it started coming down I threw on my hard shell top. While reaching for my full zip bottoms, I had a memory of one of the zippers coming completely off the track a couple days prior. Why hadn’t I tried to fix them? Stupid! If you can’t put on one leg, what is the use? I tried to get the zipper back on track as the skies opened up. Cars were pulling onto the shoulder and stopping because it was coming down so hard. The rain stung the back of my hands and in the middle of it all a trooper pulled up and asked me if I was ok. So much fun. I told him I was not happy with my rain pants but was otherwise just fine, thanks really, and then I just started walking.
|I suddenly know where I will camp|
A few miles later I was done with 33m on the odometer. No sight of the gold at the end of the rainbow, but rather I slid down an embankment during a rare drop in the landscape where I would be out of sight from passing cars or farm houses. As soon as I got things setup I dove inside, changed into dry base layers, slid into my down bag, and then sleep found me.
|Light snow the next morning|
Cinco de Mayo. Saturday morning. After rolling up a wet tent covered in slush my fingers were numb for a long time. Too warm them up, I was doing rhythmic fist clenches with alternate hands. Passing cars seemed to give me lots of extra space.
|The foothills were covered in clouds and snow the next morn|
|Interesting graffiti if you enlarge|
|The hawks were the best reality tv.|
I covered the 12 miles into Swan Valley without a problem and was happy to see the mountains return. At a convenience store I dawdled and asked if they could recharge my phone for a few minutes. I had passed out the night before without shutting down on the running apps on the phone. With a little juice, I called Cate Stillman who had graciously agreed to pick me up in Victor and host me for the night about 8 miles away in Tetonia.
The pass was around mile 30 and a little over 6,000 feet. I celebrated with a beer and some cheese and crackers. With some good music on my portable speaker, and well fueled by my snack, I started bombing down the other side and was quickly stopped short by Cate’s husband Winston who graciously said he would be happy to meet me in an hour in Victor. 36.44m on the odometer.
|Cate, Indigo, and Winston and some really good food.|
|Old and new|
Sunday morning Winston drove me back to where he picked me up in Victor. It had been a lazy morning. The Valley and the house were beautiful. The weather perfect. In front of the market in Victor, I ran into three ultra runners who are pretty bad ass. Each has different plans this summer including running two 100 milers, running from Chicago to LA, and running across Idaho.Way to go big! Of course I lost the card with their names. Meeting them started reinforcing my impression that this is one very outdoor oriented mountain community.
The road up to the pass was super scenic but it was busy and the shoulder was sometimes only a foot wide with a steep drop-off of loose gravel. It wasn’t very fun. An officer pulled me over (second of the day actually and sixth of the trip) and told me I was on the wrong side in his opinion and that most of the drivers were enthralled with the scenery and not paying much attention. So noted. Later I would see some taking pictures with their smart phones while driving.
|Something to jump for|
|So much snow, lots of back country ski tracks. No snow on the road though!|
|Going down the pass, I wanted to attach skis and hit the slopes.|
|How about a Baby Jogger II turnout?|
|Feeling good at the pass|
|The Grand Tetons. These cattle dine with a view.|
|Jackson Hole – my view heading down|
|The Snake River and Tetons, coming into Jackson Hole|
|In Town Square with Carri Wullner|
And a huge thanks to Sam Bixby for spreading the word to her peeps via FB which I know resulted in a lot of honks and thumbs up from cars on Teton Pass – not to mention a free room at the very nice Jackson Hole Lodge.
Tomorrow I am heading north, running 38m past the Grand Teton. On Wednesday, I’ll climb a pass and head east into ~90+ miles of Wyoming wilderness. Somewhere in there I will cross the continental divide, a 9k foot pass, and probably start talking to myself too much. I know very little about this route and have been discovering that while Google Maps may be good at large urban areas, it misses lots of little gas stations, camp grounds, and other important locales in rural areas. If you know of anything/anyone along my route in WY, please let me know. My cell coverage may be spotty and emails or texts would probably be better than facebook messages as the date network is often pretty crappy (can you hear me now AT&T?). Contact info is on my ‘about page‘. Thanks and I hope you have a great Tuesday! I’ll be running in the sun past the Grand Tetons!
Jackson Hole, WY
Miles covered since last update: 96.84
Running days since last update: 3
Total mileage since start: 947.55
Total days since start: 33
Total rest days: 2
Number of days thinking about food: 33
Average mileage including rest days: 947/33 = 28.69
Average mileage only running days: 947/31 = 30.54
Distance to go: A lot. Maybe 25% done?