AM- Crazy trail run. I enjoyed sleeping in and got a late start at 8:45 am. Already warm. Ran up the wonderful Jardine Juniper for 3.3 miles till the intersection with Cottonwood Canyon, spotting one moose along the way (he disappeared into the trees in the 5 seconds it took me to grab my camera). I have never done Cottonwood before and decided to conquer it today.
It was immediately apparent that Cottonwood would be a lot slower than the very-runnable Jardine- the trail was overgrown and very steep, both up and down- the first mile alone had 800 ft climbing and 700 ft descending. I dropped from 10 min miles to 20 min miles. Then, I reached the meadow. Normally I enjoy high mountain meadows, but not this one. The trail was so overgrown it was almost impossible to see the trail, and the plants were so wet from dew that I was soon soaking wet from chest level down to my now-squishy shoes. And there were literally hundreds of downed trees across the trail, which I could not see until I was almost on them. More than once my shin very
painfully observantly made me aware of downed trees- my shins are now covered with big, bloody swollen bruises. And the undergrowth was so thick that I had trouble moving my feet forward at all. I was moving at 2 miles per hour, when I wasn't sprawled on my face due to grabby branches. It was very annoying and slow, not trail running at all.
There is a trail in here... honest. Believe it or not, it's straight ahead in this photo.
No, really, I swear there is...
Ok, now I'm not so sure. Hard to see with 5-7 foot high plants!
I pushed onwards through the 5-7 foot tall plants, finally reaching the end of the meadow after just under a mile. I found the (very faint) trail and pressed onwards for a few more minutes before deciding the trail was impassible. I turned around, cursing the meadow the whole time. Shortly after leaving the meadow, I heard something very large in the ravine just below me that seemed to be following me for a while. Worried, I lobbed several large rocks in its direction to no avail. Thinking it was likely another moose or even a mountain lion, I found a stout, 2 foot long branch to use as a club. With adrenaline surging, I ran with the club (first time ever in my life). Fortunately, I reached Jardine trail 2 miles later without incident- the 5 miles on Cottonwood took me over 90 minutes! I ran up the trail on the typical tree route, taking a picture of the tree before returning the 5 miles back to my car.
Cody, I took this picture of Logan Peak just for you.
Requisite shot of the 3200 year old Jardine Juniper tree
Total run was 15.5 miles with 5000 ft elevation gain and equal loss, in about 3 hr 10 min. Slow. Joe and Cody, I cannot recommend ever running Cottonwood Canyon in any form- it is not at all suited for a trail run, unless you enjoy 2 mph treks through head-high weeds.
Last year I hit 2000 miles on Aug 12, while I just reached that milestone today for 2010. And this whole "no job, just trail running for a month" gig rocks!!!
PM- 5 miles pushing the stroller on the river trail while Marci ran to the end of the singletrack and back. We made it to the start of the singletrack, then back to the car, then back up to a little ways past Stokes. The stroller is rather hard to push up gravel hills, but absolutely flies on the downhills.