Running Around Oregon

I’m in San Francisco now on a week-long break from medical school. I’m on a taper that is psychologically¬†hard to maintain and I just want to run around instead of letting myself get fat in front of amazing views from Potrero Hill. The roller-coaster of knee-pain emotions is being combatted with aggressive PT and hopefully I’ll have a fun story to tell you next week. Until then, the adventures continue:

Mt Hood Wildflowers
Wildflowers bloom near Elk Cove, Mt Hood.

 

This past month of medical school has posed new and interesting challenges to getting outside. That alone means that doing so is more important to me than ever. Getting up onto the flanks of Mt Hood each Saturday for a long run is as rejuvenating as yoga and as relaxing as a favorite malty beverage.

Timberline Trail Burn Area
The Timberline Trail cutting through a burn zone on the North Side of Mt Hood.

 

Because the Timberline trail circumnavigates Mt Hood, it exposes a runner to all of the available flavors. On the North Side, the remnants of a significant burn are a beautiful change to the second- and third- growth forests. They’re both dense and bright, like a forest with views.

Mercedes off-roader cloud cap inn
#Vanlife – Cloud Cap Inn

 

I encountered this awesome Mercedes truck at the historic cloud cap inn at the end of one of my runs. Why is it such a firm law of the universe that the coolest vehicles are owned by people to old to really appreciate them?

Sandy River drainage mt hood
Precipitous views from the edge of the Sandy River drainage, Mt Hood.

 

From the perspective of 9,000′, the Sandy Glacier is one of the flattest and safest on Mt Hood, barely inclined sufficiently to even ski across. At 6,000′, it’s a different story, with precipitous cliffs, waterfalls among precarious boulders, and only one navigable trail. I suspect that there are some really cool, unexplored areas within this canyon.

Sandy River Bottom, Mt Hood
Sandy River Bottom, Mt Hood

 

I’m a sworn destroyer of cairns. 95% of cairns do nothing but remind the viewer that the area has been sullied by self-affirming hikers. Those are usually improved with a swift kick. The remaining 5% are invaluable markers across areas where trail evolves yearly due to natural forces.

Muddy Fork, from the Timberline Trail
The view into the Muddy Fork drainage from the Timberline Trail. The trail ultimately crosses the valley at head, across the bare, rocky area just visible in this photo.

 

I’m tapering now with the hope of possibly running around the mountain in a week’s time. My knee is not in perfect form, so the 40 miles are in question. Whether or not this run will happen for me this season, training has given me such a good excuse to go exploring in areas that I never would have accessed otherwise.

Ethan pinning numbers, Pine to Palm 100
Ethan pinning numbers, Pine to Palm 100

 

On possible reason the my knee hurts could be pacing Ethan at the Pine to Palm 100, his first 100-miler. If that’s the reason why it hurts, then I have no regrets. The race atmosphere was really fun, and it was great to be able to help out and get Ethan to the finish line in under 24 hours. His race report is worth the read (and features my photos).

Sunset, Pine to Palm 100
Sunset, Pine to Palm 100

 

One perk and downside to the race was the King fire, burning just over the border in Northern California. The views from the Siskiyou crest were stunning, as was the beet red sunset. The air quality was equally stunning, in an atrocious way. I was glad to run my segment after dark, unable to see the smoke and pretending that it had cleared out.

Ethan at mile 74, Pine to Palm 100
Ethan at mile 74, Pine to Palm 100

 

I joined Ethan at mile 74 to pace him to the finish. He had started the race strong and then met with a learning experience in the middle miles. His girlfriend Kate saved him from dropping at mile 64 and he was delivered to me in good spirits.

Ethan, mile 100, Pine to Palm 100
Ethan, mile 100, Pine to Palm 100

 

This is what the guy looked like at 5:15 in the morning, after running 100 miles and finishing 16th. Having been awake for upwards of 25 hours, we were both asleep on the linoleum within minutes.


Category: Running

Tags:

2 comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: