Thursday, June 28, 2012

Alpine Adventures

Yes we are all dreaming about those alpine running adventures by now. The photo above was taken in my "past life" where I lived to ride. It was an incredible 60km loop only 2 hours from Nelson that nobody knows about. It's a fully committed loop, which I figure would take 12 hours to run. It has everything from a meandering gentle climb up an old growth forest for 20km, followed by a 10km switchback climb to the alpine, then an amazing alpine section around the 7,000' elevation and finally a switch back descent to the valley floor. It can be run in either direction, which tells you the grades are never that extreme, except for a few short sections. Its definitely a Kootenay classic and I hope to run it this year, but with so many runs on the bucket list, it might have to wait until next year. This actually seams to be coming a problem- as soon as I cross one epic run off, another two make it to the list! I know I have to go back to the Earl Grey Pass this year for some sort of resolution or redemption depending on how you look at it. I would also love to put a group together for the Rockwall trail in Kootenay National Park, but I'll wait to see how the summer progresses, especially with the big snow pack again this year.
The July 28th weekend (On the Saturday), I hope to get a group together to run through Kokanee Glacier Park. Half of us will run from Enterprise Creek on the Slocan Lake side to Gibson Lake and the other half will do the reverse so we do not have to waste time with car drops. The next day on the Sunday, we will run the 7summits trail in Rossland for a "double dose" of long awaited alpine adventures.
If you are interested in the Kokanee run, send me an e-mail so I can start figuring things out.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Smallwood Loop and Sproule Creek

Great run today with Lisa and Carolyn (Lex- when are back in the picture? We miss you out there!) Its funny that on the only two runs of the year without a dog with us we run into bears!
Lisa and I started at Sproule Creek and ran the 10km over to Smallwood where we met up with Carolyn to run the 25km loop. It is such a fun running loop. The weather somehow held on, even though we had constant thunder and it was as dark as night. It's hard to believe that the snow has just barely melted off the upper Vallhalaluyah trail with lots of snow patches here and there, but good to go. After we finished the 25km Smallwood loop, the girls headed out as they have another run planned for Sunday and I ran back to my car at the Sproule Creek trail head. It was a an awesome 45km run with 4,500' of climbing, so not too crazy. It took around 5:50hrs for the return trip.
If anyone wants to run the 25km Smallwood loop this week, let me know as I'd love to go do it again.
It was great to rush home and watch Ellie Greenwood smash the 18 year old record of the Western States 100 mile run for the victory! Makes these runs look like a jog around the block.

                           Sitting in the river in the rain to cool off the legs- ohh the snow melt creek is cold!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wildhorse Pass

We had an awesome run over the Wildhorse Pass to Ymir today. Carolyn Donnelly and myself left Mt. Station early this morning and ran the Stanley Loop out to the Nordic trails. It was a torrential downpour for the first hour, but as you can see from the photo below, the skies opened up so we were blessed with warm sunshine as we ran through the nordic trails. We were greeted by a momma Griz- standing up tall on two legs to have a better look at what was making all the noise as we approached it from 100 metres away. It happily scampered away with it's two cute cubs following behind.
We then met up with David, Sara and Kelly at the Clearwater trail head to start the climb over Wildhorse pass.
Everyone ran great as we topped out to begin our descent into the Wildhorse Valley and down into Ymir. We only had a little snow to deal with, but I warned everyone not to worry about dry feet, as we crossed numerous creeks.
It rained on us hard at times for the descent, but we were all having so much fun, I don't think anyone noticed.
From Nelson it was approx 38km and took just over 4 hours at a fun pace. From the nordic centre group it was approx 25km and around 2hrs50min.
I think it was Kelly's first 25km run and she was a star, easily staying with the group. So don't be afraid to join us for the next group run, probably in 3-4 weeks...I'll keep you posted.

                       Carolyn coming through the nordic trail just before we saw the grizzly
                                                            At the top of the Pass
                                                    Awe- nothing like a little adventure

                                                           Dry and happy in Ymir

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Vein Is Good To Go

I truly love this time of the year for running. The temperature is a perfect 12-16 degrees in the morning, everything is so intensely lush and you can be out on the trails as early as 5am- just you, your buddies, the dogs and whatever wild life you happen across. And raining out- who cares- makes trail running that much more fun. I just love falling asleep as it gets dark at 9:30 knowing I'll be up in 7 hours getting ready for a midweek run.
We headed out at 6am from Mt. Station where we climbed up "Honey Badger Don't Give no Shit" (I think the trail is actually called Badger?) but anything with Badger in it makes me think of the Honey Badger...See this link why  
Up Shasta, then up to the Vein (still a little blow down) and then the 2,400' leg busting descent to the Rail Grade and back to Mt. Station.
Took us 1:55 to do the loop, a little hard paced, but it's kind of what we were looking to do.

                                                 Is Chris Rowat really now a trail runner?...Ran like one!
                                                           Lex, Chris and the dogs on the main descent

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wild Horse Pass Run

Next weekend we are going to run the Wildhorse Pass from Nelson to Ymir. If you want to run from Mt. Station in Nelson it is approx 37km or you can start at the bottom of the Clearwater nordic trail which cuts it down to 25km. From Nelson we will hit the Stanley Loop/Cottonwood trail out to the nordic trails. Then cross the Hwy and up the forestry roads for the long climb to Wildhorse Pass. The descent from the pass down into the Wildhorse Valley is all single/double track with a few creek crossings, which might be waist high, so you will get wet! Once you hit the Wildhorse Valley it is a gravel road down into Ymir. We usually hook up with a driver or two at the Ymir Pub for Lunch and well deserved beers. We can usually arrange to have the driver bring your dry clothes too. I am not sure until Tues/Wed if we will run on the Saturday or Sunday. If you are interested- drop me an e-mail...