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Posts Tagged ‘pacific crest trail’

True Love: Trail Running The Sierra

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Guest: Ryan
Running in the Sierra is a treat when it comes to trail running. The awesome views and developed trails are both reasons why I love running here.

My Story:

I wasn’t really a trail runner to begin with, or a runner for that matter,  in fact, I hated running especially on pavement in cities. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I was exposed to trail running. A group of friends and I were finishing up a scramble mission in the Mt Whitney Zone and upon reaching the summit we preceded to run the Mt Whitney Trail. After summiting three peaks and traveling an unknown amount of miles we found our selves with beer and Portal Burgers in hand, a glorious end to a long day in the mountains. After this trail running experience I was hooked.

From that moment on I make it a yearly goal to make it above 14,000 feet. This pilgrimage started my love of trail running and living in Tahoe leaves endless miles of trails to run. The graded trails, especially the more popular trails like the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for example, are graded so much that it can be done riding a mule. Sections of the PCT that run through Desolation Wilderness are some of my favorite. In some cases on the PCT you will encounter large stone stairs, yes a lovely stone staircase in woods. This type of human development is what makes these types of high traffic trails perfect for trail running. Long gradual down hills and up hills, swooping around the contours of the Sierra make up most of the development in the Northern Trails system. While there are many sections that do not fit this description and have much steeper up hill and down hill sections, these are mostly avoidable due to the remoteness of the section of trail.

Everyone I know who runs, has their own little circuit that they run on a regular basis. These circuits are great for a quick run before work, or a beautiful sunset run in the evening, but after running a trail a couple of times I find those circuits to be a little monotonous. A case of tree vision usually sets in and my motivation to run fades. That’s why I like running with a general goal in mind, like running to a summit or lake for example. Setting a goal like this can really help motivate you when on a trail run, especially a longer run. Sometimes I’ll even bring a small fly rod to check out new water and add a little variety to the days run. Catching fish and a work out is a win-win.

A rewarding aspect of trail running is the distance covered, as well as the elevation gain and loss, one experiences when running in the Sierras. I love looking down ridge lines and seeing the trail snake it’s way around the contours of the mountains. Approaching the tops of passes is also exciting, especially if you are unfamiliar with what features lay beyond it. The amount of elevation gain and loss gives a sense of the work put in for those spectacular views. Being able to see the lower elevation start of a run from the high point gives you a sense of the vertical attained, no place makes this more apparent than the Eastern Sierra mountains along the 395 corridor. The amount of vertical relief is astounding down in this section of the Sierra as well.

Running in the Sierra is also a bit of a game. There is a saying in the Sierra “If you don’t like the weather wait an hour.” This couldn’t be truer during the later summer and fall months in the Sierra. Thunderclouds can build rapidly and cause a down pour when, in the first half of the day, the sun was shining. These types of weather changes give a natural time clock for your run. Trying to bag a peak? Better make sure you beat the thunderclouds there first! Racing thunderstorms can be  fun, or terrifying, in the High Sierra especially above tree line. In most cases you can see the storms coming, but if your unlucky they can build in no time and really catch you by surprise.  Finding yourself above tree line during such events would fall under the terrifying category, but running just bellow tree line can be quite fun. Personally, I love running in the rain, the thunder and lighting shows can be spectacular!

What ever your motivation is to trail run, take it and run with it!

 

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Nana’s Pacific Crest Trail Adventure – Big Bear to Kennedy Meadows

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I’m back with my report for the next segment of my Pacific Crest Trail hike.

When I last left off, I was in Big Bear, in the mountains of San Bernardino County.  I made a major change in my equipment there. I found the Deuter pack was just not that comfortable. After endless tweaking and fiddling, I was just not able to come up with a combination of adjustments that worked for me. So, I switched to my trusty Osprey Ariel 65, a veteran of many previous trips. Right away, I was able to shoulder a bigger load and remain comfortable all day.

Upon leaving Big Bear, the trail wound through a burn area before heading into an area called Deep Creek Canyon. This canyon winds on for miles but the highlight is a series of hot springs pools that make a great spot for a tired hiker to take a soak!

Deep Creek Hot Springs...

The next day, I headed north towards Silverwood Lake. Along the way, I crossed California State Route 173. There I was treated to a little trail magic in the form of fresh Root Beer Floats! Marlene, an aspiring PCT thru hiker, was parked along the road where the trail crossed in her van and was dishing out the goodies to hikers as they passed by.  Several of us took advantage of this act of kindness and took a break from the day to enjoy the treat!

A bit further up the trail I was in for another treat — a bobcat right in the middle of the trail!

Bobcat...

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Nana’s Pacific Crest Trail Adventure – Warner Springs to Big Bear

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

I’m back to report on the next segment of my Pacific Crest Trail hike.

When I last left off, I was at Warner Springs, a resort in eastern San Diego County.  Although in the “middle of nowhere”, Warner Springs features an 18 hole golf course, their own small airport, hot springs pools, nice restaurant, etc.  I spent a couple of days relaxing, making small adjustments to my gear, picking up my re-supply box, etc.

Warner Springs Pool..

While getting ready to leave, I learned of a trail angel named Mike Herrera who lives in the desert 17 miles north of Warner.  He was offering all the hikers leaving the resort a place to stop where they could get water, a hot meal and a place to camp.  So, that was my goal for the day.  The hiking was hot and desolate.  The desert can be beautiful but it can also be hot, dusty, dry and lonesome.  Finally, after a long and hot day, I came to Chihuahua Valley Road and a sign that announced that Mike’s place was around the bend.

Trail Marker

I camped in the yard and joined other hikers who had also found their way here for some stories of the trail and a hot meal.

The next morning, May 4th, I took off early to beat the heat.  My destination was Coyote Canyon at mile 140.  At mile 133, I crossed into Riverside County.  One county down and many more to go!

Riverside County Line

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PCT Journey, Volume Four – Tuolumne Meadows to Kings Beach (Lake Tahoe)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Mike had a chance to stop by the store on his way through Lake Tahoe on the Pacific Crest Trail and it was the first time we actually got to meet in person. Here is his 4th installment from his time on the PCT.

My break at Tuolumne Meadow was great, including visiting Guy, a friend who works at the park.  In fact, we caught up over dinner one night, a dinner that included a double dose of dessert consisting of pie and ice cream.  It does a hiker good!

I was gathering my gear, planning on hiking out about noon on July 4th and as luck would have it, I saw a pack I recongized, another Deuter ACT Lite 65 + 10 owned by none other than my hiking friend Peter, who I had not seen since Big Bear in Southern California.  After catching up for a few minutes, we opted to hike out together.

The hiking from Tuolumne Meadow to Sonora Pass was, as I had been previously warned, contained both hilly terrain and bugs.  During one stretch while hiking through the meadow leading to Dorthy Lake while attempting to apply bug dope, remove my pack, swat mosquitios and get clothes on I broke into my “bug dance”.  I’m sure it was quite a sight but luckily Peter opted to hike on so hopefull there are no photo’s or worse yet, videos of this episode.

On reaching Sonora Pass there was again “Trail Magic” provided by “Meadow Mary” and “Billy Goat”.  Thanks to you both!  Further up the trail, at Walker Pass, there was an impromptu dose of “Trail Magic” provided by Jack, an PCT thru-hiker of several years ago.  Also a Walker Pass was the end of the “Markleeville Death Ride”, a 130 mile bike ride complete with I believe, five or six mountain passes.  I rather missed the bike at the moment.

After a bit more hiking I reached Echo Lake (S. Lake Tahoe area) for a minor resupply and headed for Kings Beach, CA to visit the staff at Tahoe Mountain Sports (my sponsors).

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