Sunday, August 21, 2016

Everyone Flakes

As a general rule. Which is why I typically don't go out of my way to organize group, or even pair running or camping events, but I just did two in a row, and they were great. Maybe even three if you count AC, and maybe four if my orienteering (Rogaine) race with a partner next week comes off. And then Amy and I are traveling the weekend after that, so I guess I'm a regular socialite. Forget those decades of self-proclaimed misanthropy, you were misinformed, dear reader.

Anyway, Steve-o is going off to intern at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Fancy! So we went camping. He held up quite respectably for a non-runner. Which is to say we hiked 26 miles on Saturday, mostly together except for a few at the end. Sunday we split up and I ran 24 more, while he did a short hike on his own.

Saturday was in the eastern portion of Carson-Iceberg, up Wolf Creek and down the Carson River. Wolf Creek was only OK, but the High Trail above the Carson had some pretty great views. Granted, N=2, but both times I've been to this area, it's been fairly hot.
Wolf Creek

Saturday after we finished, we went into Markleeville for some ice and Gatorade, over Monitor Pass down to 395, and then started back west up 108. We camped at the Leavitt Meadows Campground. Of course paying to camp makes me feel like a failure, but it did make for easy access to the trailhead in the morning. I ran south up the West Walker, looped around the Chain of Lakes, and came back. There were nice views of distant peaks to the south.
Leavitt Meadows

This weekend I managed another 54, this time with my grad school and trail running mentor ZG. A decade ago he had some amazing races (4th place at Hardrock), and he has more fun getting scratched to hell on incredibly steep slopes while lost than any non Euchre Bar or Barkley vet I know, but he's basically coming off the couch. So he hung in there, and I wasn't really any faster than him, but he was definitely done, while George and I could have done some more.

Saturday we started from near the Underwood Valley Trailhead on the 7N93 that's on the way to the Bear Valley Ski Resort. (Note: 4x4 vehicles only if you want to get past the Sno-Park lot that's on the paved road. We saw a handful of other trucks, and Alice was the only one with extra clearance, but I was happy to have it.) The loop I designed dropped way down to the North Fork of the Mokelumne, climbed abandoned Tahoe Yosemite Trail up to the dirt road that's the wilderness boundary on the back side of Kirkwood (9N82), to Munson Meadow, back down to the North Fork, then back up to the car. It's a doozey.

Yep, that's a forest fire.

Climb 1 done. Top of Horse Canyon.

Drop down to the bottom and climb up the opposite side.

He loves it, I promise.

Almost back to the top.

It wasn't quite 40 miles, but it was a hell of a loop. 9,500 feet of climbing. Really good views of the North Fork, which I didn't realize had such steep walls. (I also didn't realize the Mokelumne Tetons were a thing.) The TYT trail still can be followed thanks to cairns, but it trail tread is basically non-existent, and I had the map on the Forest Service baselayer GPS map to follow, which is basically cheating. The views from the top were great as well. You get very close to the back side of Kirkwood, and though it is a 4x4 road, we didn't see any vehicle traffic. The whole day we saw a nice mix of users: two bow hunters, one mountain biker, three backpackers, and some cowboys moving cattle to higher ground.

The trail down from Munson Meadow is actually in worse shape, and ripped our legs up. I would advise against going up that--manzanita and other chaparall brush grows downslope and you just step on top of it rather than fighting against it uphill.

Sunday's run was a quicky from Pacific Valley. 14 miles up Bull Run Creek, cross country to avoid what seemed like a pointless descent to Spicer Meadow Reservoir, up Weiser Creek, down Marshall Canyon, and back.

Really nice bowl at the head of Pacific Creek


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