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Friday, August 17, 2012

No Reservations: The Final Round

I think I say this every time there's been a blogging lull, but, seriously, this is the longest I've gone without blogging.  Ever.  Hopefully, the wait was worth it.  

(I really feel like I just abused the heck out of the comma in those first sentences, but I'm not quite sure :)  So forgive me if I've wronged.)

Sooooooooo, I left off with some high altitude adventures.  And I've completely bypassed my Hardrock  100 pacer report, but that is also in the works.  I've had fun taking a buttload of pictures so this is once again a little journey of pictures.  I think they sum up the last four weeks of No Reservations.  It's been a super fun adventure and I'll definitely be posting a summary.  I like looking back on cool stuff :)

Without further adieu, the last stage of the No Reservations summer:

Gunnison and Crested Butte, CO were our next stop, after Hardrock, to visit some family and check out an area I'd never been to before...

The view atop Mt. Crested Butte...of course we ran it, what else would we do in that town? ;)  We ran mountain bike trails up and down the mountain for a nice little long run.

Next up, Boulder, Colorado for some wedding action: congrats Julia & Russ!

There is going to be a lot of "next"ing in this post...fyi.

Next, we stopped off in Rocky Mountain National Park to camp out and do a couple quality trail runs.  We ran up to Ypsilon Lake the first day and then the Lawn Lake-Crystal Lakes trail the following day.  Gorgeous, rugged and awesome.  Pure Colorado.

Lawn Lake

Geof modeling in front of Lawn Lake

We couldn't decide which way to go...so we did both :)

After RMNP we decided to head home for a few days before hitting the road for the final stretch of our summer adventure.  In the midst of our homebody-ness, I took a phatty digger running around town and earned myself a nice hole in my knee.  Awesome.  But, we managed to eke out some great Wasatch running and even took in the Speedgoat 50k at Snowbird.

Hanging out atop Hidden Peak waiting for runners to come in

LEWIS! hanging tough in the top 15!

Rickey Gates, eventual "official" winner, climbing up Hidden Peak (mi 26)

Rob doing his best impression of TK... ;)

Let us see now, after chillin' at home for a bit we packed the truck again and began the looooooong drive up to northwest Montana to take in the ridiculous beauty that is Glacier National Park.  If you've never been, go.  Unless you hate nature and beautiful things, go.  Even if you do hate those things (which I sincerely doubt if you're reading this here blog :)), go, and you'll find that you do in fact love nature and beautiful things.  Glacier is hands down my favorite national park.  No contest.  I love it.

Rob n' Rina highly recommended we do the Dawson-Pitamakin Pass Loop for our long run so that's just what we did.  We followed the loop route up, down and around a huge mountain for 20 miles, then headed back out to get another 5 miles to make it a legit long run.  It was crazy pretty and gave us a really great bite-sized tour of the park.  Barely a soul up there, all things considered.  After leaving Dawson Pass (we ran clockwise) the trail is carved out of the side of the mountain and goes on forEVER.  It was terrifying to me because the footing consisted of loose rock and shale so a slight misstep would have been fairly traumatizing, to the tune of falling off the side of a steep cliff.  So, I walked.  But eventually it turned back into a less scary trail and I could stop hyperventilating ;)

Atop Dawson Pass

Geof at Old Man Lake, below Pitamakin Pass

Alder Falls

The next day we were pretty jazzed about how our long run went, and the legs were surprisingly recovered, so we felt like doing a little more.  I found us a nice little 15 mile route, from Logan Pass to the Granite Park Chalet. Freaking cool ass trail!  And completely runnable!  Be warned, it was crazy busy (notorious), and it's singletrack most of the way, so exercise caution. Hence, the parking lot was full at Logan Pass (also notorious), so we parked at a pull-out 1/4 of a mile down the road.  No bigs.  More miles, more fun :)

Snowfields higher up on the trail.  It was fun to run through snow, in August :)

Bear Grass

"Bear?  No bear?  C'mon bear!"  Geof really wanted to see a bear...from a distance.  No dice.  Thankfully :)

A personal favorite: St. Mary Lake...it's stunning in person

Sadly, we had to leave Glacier and head further west for more adventures, but first we wound our way down to Whitefish to check out the town (adorable!) and inhale the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had.  Next up: Seattle, WA!

On the way to Seattle, we stopped at Snoqualmie Pass to do a 10 miler on the southern Pacific Crest Trail.  After  a few miles heading up on some really amazing trail, the route became totally covered in green...and neither of us are well versed on poison oak or sumac (both are present there) so my infinitely whussy side came out and said it was time to turn around.  We finished up our run on the north side of the PCT and did hill repeats on the ski hill there.  Lemons, lemonade :)

Running down the PCT

Seattle was great fun!  Neither of us had been there before so we got all kinds of touristy and really enjoyed ourselves.  The main event, however, was the union of Wyn and Sarah.  It was an incredibly beautiful ceremony in Olympic Sculpture Park followed by a crazy fun reception inside the Seattle Art Museum.  Congrats you two!

Touristy stuff...and totally worth checking out!

The SLC crew representin': Rob, Rina (RnR), Tom, Geof and I...photo booths rock.

Sarah and Wyn

Did someone say ferris wheel?  At 11:30 p.m.?  On the Bay?  Okay!!

More touristy stuff...The Space Needle

Cool sights at the Experimental Music Project beside the Needle

After leaving Seattle behind, we had one final big event to make it to, down in San Diego.  So we set out on the loooooooong drive down the 5.  Of course, we made a few stops along the way.  Next up was Crater Lake National Park.  AWESOME PLACE.  You should also go there sometime, too.  

We did our long run from the connector trail (Alice Springs) that was literally 20 ft. behind our campsite at Mezama Campground and took that to the PCT, then hopped on the new PCT connector trail that takes you around Crater Lake.  Incredible views!!

On the PCT

Wizard Island within Crater Lake

On the Rim Trail.  Lots of up and down and lots of killer views

We love nature and things that grow so after leaving Crater Lake we drove down to Redwoods National Park (which is a small part of the larger conglomerate of Redwoods State Park, which is a small portion of a big grouping of various redwood parks) and checked out some tall nature.

The tree on top was growing on top of a fallen redwood.  How did that happen?  We were fascinated by it!  The felled tree had to of been down for a REALLY LONG TIME in order for the other tree to climb on top and grow huge.  But the felled tree didn't look like it had fallen all that long ago.  Crazy!  Nature is awesome.

Hello, anyone home?  Any spideys in here?

Big tree, little G :)

We camped at a great campground in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park (I think it was the Hidden Springs Campground).  Awesome place, and huge.  And the bathrooms were clean :)

The next day we drove down to Roseville, CA to spend the evening with Uncle Steve.  In the morning, we rolled out and made the final push for San Diego.  One of my brothers, Toper, was graduating from Marine basic training at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in SD.  So exciting!!  I have to gloat a little here: he was named lance corporal and Series Honor Man (e.g. series badass), as well as being named Company High PFT (aka iron man...in laymen's terms: most fit recruit in the entire company of almost 400 recruits).  Bam!  That's how we roll in this family!  PFT stands for Physical Fitness Test, but Geof came up with a better meaning: Pretty F***ing Tough :)  True story.  

Since Toper was such a BAMF he got to wear his dress blues for the ceremony (he's the one holding the flag)

I said to show me his Marine face...

Proud sister and momma-dog with the new U.S. Marine (photo by Geof Dunmore)

He was so excited to have 10 days of leave, and wanted to show off his mad iron man skills

We were so happy we could be there for his graduation.  It was freaking cool to see him work so hard towards a goal (he was training for over a year before he was recruited) and went in with the goal of getting lance corporal and he did it.  And he survived!  It was so inspiring to be there.  I suddenly felt like doing some push-ups and planks :)  Yay, Toper!

We spent a couple days with my family in San Diego and managed to take a week off from running.  Oops.  By Sunday, we were ready to head home and get started on real life.  But we wanted to close it down right.  We stopped at a Utah favorite, Mt. Timpanogos, and whipped out a long run.

Past their prime but the wildflowers in the basin were still amazing!  Imagine what it looks like in June!

A week off of running, and spending that week at sea-level, had us moving a little slow and breathing pretty hard, but we managed to get it done :)

And that's a wrap folks!  

It's great to finally be home and start working towards building our new life here in Salt Lake City.  We learned a lot over the last 2-1/2 months, experienced some truly amazing places, ran some unbelievable trails, met and spent time with some fantastic people, family, old friends, and just generally squeezed everything we could into that time frame.  I feel like we really did make the most of our time on the road, for the most part.  A No Reservations wrap-up is in the works!

Paige, out.


Danni said...

Awesome. You must come back to Glacier.

Rachel said...

Wow. Your pictures are stunning; I felt like I was living vicariously through you. Your summer sounds like an absolute dream and a reminder of why training running is so awesome- it takes people places few ever see. Congrats to your brother!
Thanks for sharing your adventures.

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