I posted a picture of what my shoes looked like when I was done yesterday but thought folks might like to see the trail itself, so today is more photo essay than usually. Don't miss tomorrow where I'll have an interview I conducted with former Kansas standout Tim Tays about his book, Wannabe Distance God.
First, the stats again. 17 miles, 4642 feet of elevation gain, 5 pounds of water loss, two very dirty legs, 1 happy trail runner. Here's the start . . .
A couple pulled into the parking lot behind me and unloaded their bikes as I headed out. The first uphill, which starts just past the above picture, is a grunt. There's no easy warmup on this trail but it's certainly pretty. I discovered pretty quick that the ankle I was worried about wasn't a problem - it was the calf. Almost turned back, which would have been sensible. It also would have been out-of-character. I pressed on . . .
It levels out as it reaches the first top - this isn't a straight uphill climb - you climb and drop several times.
When the sun broke through, the forest nearly glowed. The day stayed mostly overcast and in the 70's - perfect running weather and a relief from the triple digit heat of the past two weeks.
Welcome to the Forest Service. It goes thataway. Might be 5 miles to the lookout. Or not, since none of the signs are accurate - and they span a mile and a half of trail. Dispiriting my first time on the trail a decade ago when it was 100 degrees out. Now I laugh. Silly Forest Service!
This sign just flat pissed me off. Want me to pack it in, pack it out? No problem. Could I ask you not to visually pollute the trail? Put the stop sign on the road - yeah, the drivers will ignore. So did I. Stupid Forest Service!
Some very runnable trails. Not nearly as flat as it looks here, though.
The two pictures above look out over the Palouse and Palouse Divide. There was still some smoke in the air - a couple of times I've been up here, standing on the lookout and it feels as though you could almost touch the fields in the distance they're so clear.
It occurred to me that those clouds had rain in them, and maybe a little lightning. Since Mother Nature loves her little ironies - and a writer who just wrote a novel about runners nearly hit by lightning actually getting hit by lightning certainly fits - and since I was standing on literally the highest point for many miles, I took my pics and climbed down.
I stowed the camera in the Camelbak for the return trip, taking it out to catch a shot of happy feet as I exited the trail.