My decision to run around Mt. St. Helens had a lot to do with re-building my self-confidence and taking time for some self reflection. I'm sorry for not following up on my original invites to friends, but I felt like running this one alone. Having already ran around it once last October, I felt competent enough to safely manage my food, water, and energy. And yes Mum, Teresa and several friends knew where I was and when to expect to hear from me.
My route would start at the Marble Mountain sno park and run clockwise, following the Volcanic 50 course exactly.
RUNNING HEAVY - SOUTHEAST TO WEST
Knowing how exposed and how hot the day was going to be, my water supply consisted of two 22 oz handheld bottles and a full 2 Liter bladder (and a water filter for re-filling). My pack was probably the heaviest I've ever run with, and my legs/shoulders kept reminding me of it. Within the first three miles, I almost face planted twice and already took a wrong turn. Hmm, I better start drinking my water to lighten my load...
|Neil Armstrong landed here once.|
Ascending and descending through the forested Southwest corner of the mountain, I finally reached the Toutle River. This was a good opportunity to play around with my water filter and take lunch (about 13 miles into the run). The river is skinny and shallow, but the river channel is HUGE! The photos below give an example of what it takes to scramble in and out of the channel to reach the trail on the other side. It's gnarly and extremely tough to get a solid footing in the sandy-silt.
|The climb out of the Toutle River channel|
THE HUNT - WEST TO NORTHEAST
|Fallen Trees on the Northwest side of the Mountain|
|Tracks: Brooks Cascadias|
|Tracks: Rogue Racer|
|Green Oasis in the desert. The Natural Spring on the North Side of the mountain,|
about half a mile East of the trailhead to Loowit Falls. It's obvious,
and you can see the water bursting out of a rock.
A FEW GOOD MEN - NORTHEAST TO SOUTHEAST (FINISH)
|Hot Damn! Brooks Cascadias (Josh Owens) and the Rogue Racers (Josh Marks)|
|One of my favorite shots. Photo by Josh Owen.|
VOLCANIC 50 RUNNERS
Course knowledge will go a long way in the Volcanic 50 race on September 15th. For those running it, I highly recommend wearing gaiters and some sort of hat or sun visor. The course is mostly exposed, and can get pretty hot. And get intimately familiar with the course map, it'll help. Be prepared for every kind of terrain, including a few river crossings (ones where you can't avoid getting your feet wet). My conservative pace got me around the mountain in 9 hours and 30 minutes, mainly because of technical trail, photos, water filtering, and general frolicking. It's a slow course, so be prepared for a long day. Cheers!
The mountains are calling...bring your dancing shoes.
Mt. Adams from the east side of Mt. St. Helens.