Wednesday, July 29, 2009
PCT, Grouse Ridge, Finale.
PHEW. The Toad worked hard these last few weeks. The trip is over and I topped out at over 3,100 miles. After Boulder I found myself winding up and down seemingly endless passes while taking the scenic route to my brother's places of origin, Winter Park and Kremling, and ultimately to Jackson, Wyoming in the same day. The last night in Boulder was pretty long and the morning started at 4AM so I valiantly fought fatigue through this long day of driving but finally succumbed to an hour nap on the side of the highway just before Steamboat Springs. This combined with a blast from the Black Dahlia Murder got me motivated to keep going and jam though the rest of a fairly boring day. Soon enough I was heading North in Wyoming and in awe of the range (Lander?) that paralleled the highway. When I finally arrived in Jackson (exhausted) I wandered around for a bit in the crazily busy historic tourist part of town and for the first time on my trip felt truly unwelcome. I'm sure the that it was as much my state of mind as it was my unkempt appearance but I did let it get me down a bit. After struggling to find a dark place that was far enough away from the highway to sleep (a cop did follow me around as I searched for secluded neighborhoods) I finally settled in behind a whitewater adventures office and passed out quick.
My negative attitude carried on into the next day and as stoked as I was to be at the Tetons and while I basked in their glory, I actually decided I was ready to head West again, as heading further North (Banff) seemed impossibly far away (also the additional miles would take a toll on my budget and the health of the Toad). Being decidedly sick of the perceived attitude in Jackson and not up to dealing with the rain outside I packed up the car and headed to California. Driving across the Rockies into Idaho was a fantastic sight as was the epic Snake River, but I couldn't wrap my head around getting out and running in the rain so I just mashed the the hard drive all the way to Reno.
I got to hang out with Reno homies and then had an awesome 17 miler on the PCT the next morning starting from the Boreal parking lot. Funny how a short time in Leadville makes everything else below 10,000 seem pretty easy. I rolled into Auburn at some point and got around to unloading the car. After a couple of runs in the heat I was stoked at the chance to meet up with Austin and Ken at Grouse Ridge and had an epic 9 miler there. I probably hurdled between 20-30 downed trees, almost wiped out multiple times, surfed down a scree field, chased a marmot and stepped on a wasp nest. FANTASTIC. I followed up the run with a running shoe presentation with Ken to the high school XC kids that were up there for a high altitude camp. It's always funny to me to sell cushioned and support shoes to people, when I try to talk my friends out of them in favor of simpler choices, but people like the idea of maximum cushion and it is my job to sell it.
On that note, I have after much deliberation decided to make a bit of a short term lifestyle change and commit the next two years to helping manage at the Auburn Running Company. The nature of this particular job makes it easy for me to be excited about, my deliberation was instead about if I could commit to anything for even nearly that long, as I prefer to be free to take off in the Toad when I wish for as long as I wish. That liberty is something I will sacrifice for the time being and I am instead going to focus on the challenges this new job will offer me as well as take the time to finish up my degree at Sac State, and of course log more and more miles on my favorite trails in Auburn.