Okay, so I had written out a huge blog post and then my computer decided the internet wasn’t good enough to save anything. So here we go… round two.
In the spring my beautiful friend Nadine (who makes really rad leggings) introduced me to a girl named Lara who was training for her first 50km! The rest is really history. Lara is now one of my best friends and now my favourite person to adventure with. She has been dubbed my run bestie and is the most supportive, positive, forcer of eating food I have ever met. When I first told her about my goal to run a 100km, her first response was, “DO YOU NEED A PACER?!?! I’LL BE YOUR PACER!!” Oh course I said yes!
In the spring Lara suffered a pretty terrible ankle sprain which doused her plan of running the HSCT for her birthday, but it didn’t stop her from rocking it out, recovering strong and running her first 50km. I was really stoked to be at the finish line for her coming through. It made me heart feel so full.
She also since being recovered had tried to find a partner for the HSCT on more than one occasion, but you know… life happens. After so many failed attempts, I knew that if I had the opportunity to step in and be the partner she needed then I totally would. After all, she’s flying to Arizona to run with me! Even though I was only going to be 10 days out from Volcanic 50, on dead legs I decided to be that company. I don’t regret it one bit.
So this finds us prepping our required supplies on Tuesday night. Approximately 13hrs worth of nutrition, a first aid kit, water filter, emergency bivys, extra clothing, headlamps, a knife, fire supplies, sunscreen, the works. Laughing and getting really excited about the day to come the next day.
Wednesday, 5am my alarm goes off. I instantly text her. I can tell through the text that theres so much excitement. I gather my last things and head out the door to meet her and her wonderful husband at Porteau. He woke up super early, just to drive us to Cypress so we could be spared the headache of shuttling cars. How great is that?! EVAN YOU ROCK!
We get to the parking lot just before 7, and head out on our way. I am nervous because I remember hating the first climb. It takes me about an hour to be sufficiently warm, and at that point we are nearly at the first summit. We hit the summit of St Marks, giggle a whole lot, eat some food, take some selfies, bounce around and then head out on our way.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7am
Lara in the first big climb
Me in the first big climb
St Marks Summit views
Next up.. Unecessary and all of its damn false summits.. “OH WE’RE AT THE TOP” “OH JK, WE’RE NOT EVEN CLOSE”
Up next… the Lions. Lara had told me that she was scared of the section where you traverse between the two mountains but she definitely handled it like a rock star this time around.
Approaching West Lion
Find the Lara!
Between the two.
Then after a boulder filled descent, comes my most despised part of this trail. The relentless, scrambly, steep ascent of James peak, the rope traverse in between the sub summits and then a descent down into a small meadow, which I’ve been lucky to use as a water source twice now. The water here is sometimes dried up though, so it isn’t a reliable source. On the way off James peak we found a bunch of garbage, at first it was just a couple pieces scattered around but as we went down the trail it was a collection of gel wrappers, mountain house dried meal bag, used antiseptic wipes, baby food pouch and a bag of grapes. We were disappointed, but collected it all and packed it out. COME ON TRAIL USERS, WE’RE NOT YOUR #@*%ING PARENTS PAY A LITTLE MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR KIT. We all need to do our part to keep our wild spaces wild, and practicing no trace is super important. I hike out a lot of garbage on my runs, and it makes me pretty sad that some people are clueless enough to let this happen. We decided that this was likely a mistake rather than intentional, but still… pay more attention to your zippers, store your garbage more securely.
If you read this… and you recognize this garbage… you are welcome, Lara and I hiked it out. We carried your disgusting antiseptic wipes out, and I got your fermented grape juice all over me while running. Thanks!
Now, we climb up, up and away over David Peak, the last big climb of the day. The views from the top are stunning, we sign the register and zip down the fun descent with lots of ropes and technical bits and head over to Magnesia Meadows. Another water stop, a buff dump and a soak the singlet break there and we continue on our way. The second half of the trail ends up having similar amounts of giggles, more photos, some T Swift and the theme is fun loamy descents, beautiful lakes and stunning mountains.
After Deeks Lake… the descent… Oh jeez, talk about quad burning. With 4km left to the parking lot I definitely wanted nothing to do with that downhill. At that point it juts out onto an old logging road and my brain lost interest on being there. All the stunning views were behind us, and all that was up front was tired legs. Except, that wasn’t true… in the car we had cider, chips and watermelon waiting for us!! My legs decided to push through just a bit further. Then, with 800m left we feel the cider calling us more and zip out of the trail head to the car, where a bunch of construction workers cheered us in. It was really great. We laid by the car, drank our recovery drinks like good girls, ripped open the bag of chips, tore off our shoes and then cracked our celebration ciders.
Sometimes parking lot “naps” are a must.
Lara being all cute and stuff with her cider.
The best tan is a dirt tan
Thats all she wrote! Afterwards we popped by Porteau cove to put our feet in the water but the tide was too high, so drank cider by the ocean and then headed to the brewpub to eat.
I highly recommend this trail to people who are prepared to do it. Its not a walk in the park, its an extremely technical trail, with limited water sources and bail out points. I’ve learnt from experience that the bail outs on this trail are worse than finishing for the most part. The trail gains nearly 1700m of elevation in the first 15km and then drops nearly 2600m throughout the whole thing Its important that you take everything you may need to survive for a night or two if you get lost, and always take a buddy… also pack out everything you bring in!! And, if you see other peoples garbage, do everyone a favour and pick it up. We can all do our part to keep our parks pristine.
On another note, today was the first day of coached training for my 100km! I’m being coached by Jen Segger who is a total badass and I am excited to be working with her.
I’ll report back at the end of the week to see how week 1 of directed training goes.