Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Friday, April 16, 2010

British Columbia Pictures

Pictures from April running trips between Vancouver & Whistler. Stanley Park in Vancouver was a great accessible park in the middle of the city with huge old growth trees. It poured on me at Lynn Canyon, north of Vancouver & was my least favorite run of the trip, but I felt rushed, Wren & Jennifer got lost and the trail was flooded. North to Whistler was absolutely beautiful! We had considered cutting this part of the trip because the weather was supposed to be bad, but it was the best part and the weather was great.

I intentionally didn't plan a running route for the day in Squamish because I knew the weather may dictate where I could and couldn't run. Quite a bit of snow at high elevations. Coming into town, there was a huge rock face- Stawamus Chief. Apparently, it's the world's 2nd largest granite monolith. I asked a woman at our hotel where would be a good, picturesque place to get a challenging 2-3 hour run in. She suggested "The Chief." Run? She must've been joking. The Chief tried to kill me.

I woke up before the sun came up and it had just risen when I looked at the park sign. "Let's see, the 3rd peak is the highest and longest trail. That should be the best one. Then, I can add on with other trails." I knew it would be difficult, but sheesh! Trail up is only 1.8K (just over a mile) but has 800m of vertical climb. Math & science whiz Mr. Jeff Wnek tells me that's 26.4% grade. It was also over some very unfriendly boulders and, after I got about half way up, over 2" of snow. I kept climbing & climbing and knew coming back down, scaling rocks in the snow was going to be impossible. I was also running out of time from when I told Jennifer to expect me. I turned around at what I imagine was about 20 minutes from the top and I heard the view from 3rd peak isn't that great anyway. It took me 20 minutes longer getting down than it did to climb up. I ran almost none of this trail. Impossible. Had a great time though!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Olympic National Park

Ran an hour on the Hoh Rainforest Trail. It was an easy run, but the trail is 17 miles one way and gets up to Mt. Olympus and glaciers eventually. I didn't get nearly that far. Amazing old growth forest where I was. Green everywhere. Hiked 45 minutes with the family. They turned back and I started running. Worked out well. Hoh gets more rain (140'/year!) than anywhere else in the continental US, but it was sunny for us. Rained later in the day when we went to Rialto Beach. Took our time on a 3 hour walk on the beach. Fun day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seattle Area Running!

Flew out to Seattle Friday with Wren & Jennifer. It was a long day that ended at eating at a fantastic Morroccan restuarant. Never had Morroccan food before. Good. In fact, we've had several good meals so far... Ethiopian & Thai too.

After a long day of sightseeing Saturday we decided to go out Discovery Park since we had a little extra time. Very pleasant surprise. Finished the run just before sunset and had a good time. What a great urban park! Big trees, beaches, meadows, hills. Felt like it was miles away from the city. Friday & Saturday were both about 44 and rainy. I'm not sure Jennifer & Wren liked their hike as much as I enjoyed the run. I only ran for 45 minutes, but they were in the car when I got back, staying dry. Today was warmer at first but we got some heavy rain in the evening.

Took a ferry over to Bainbridge Island & then over to Olympic National Park. The road to Hurricane Ridge was closed because of snow but we drove up to the Lake Mills area, up to a ridge at 4,000', looking down at the lake which was 400'. Beautiful. I had wanted to run from there to Lake Crescent but couldn't because of the snow. I ran 2 hours around Lake Crescent to Marymere Falls and up to Mt. Storm King. Native American legend states that the Storm King got angry at warring tribes and tossed a huge boulder to seperate Lake Crescent and Lake Sutherland. The Storm King must not like people running on him either. Man, that was tough! Over 2,100' of elevation gain in the 1.9 miles to the top. I stopped often to take pictures. Couldn't make it quite to the top. I turned around when I got to 2" of slushy snow. I don't know how much worse it got, but it was so steep when I turned around that I literally had to get on my hands and knees for a 30'. I didn't notice it being particularly treacherous going up, but if I had slipped, I could've dropped well over 50'. Figured all fours was the best bet. Never had to crawl through snow before! The water in the lakes and rivers in the area are amazingly clear and bright green-blue. Standing on the dock at Lake Crescent, you can easily see the bottom, maybe 20' deep. Saw Pacific Loons & 4 female Roosevelt Elk today (2 young ones in one location and 2 adult females in another). The Storm King Trail goes through an old-growth forest of Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. Trees maybe 8' in diameter and 500+ years old. Driving through the area, we also saw a lot of unsightly clearcuts.

We've had a wonderful time so far. Hoh Rainforest run in the morning, Beach at La Push tomorrow afternoon. British Columbia the following day for the rest of the week.