Our past little 1 week vacation was a great test to it, and a great prove it works, and we do, indeed both totally love it. (we both came to trail ultras with a background of mountaineering and backpacking and hiking prior, as a natural development). Our finest example for the future is a 74 year old man we met in 2010 while scaling a top of one of the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, and he mentioned he does it 3-4 times a week. Wow, for sure.
We flew to Sal Lake City early Friday morning with the intention to hit the Wasatch trails as soon as we land and get a car, like, by 11 am. And here where it went wrong...my bag was missing on a baggage claim. Now, I never check in bags! But we had a pretty huge one for the camping stuff, and since we flew SouthWest and they have 2 bags free policy, we figured might as well. The big bag came, Larry's bag came...and mine was nowhere to be found. What was even worse, it was nowhere to be detected! Because apparently, those barcodes the airlines paste all over your luggage - nobody scans them anywhere with SouthWest! Like, you know, did it leave Austin, did it get stuck in mid-way airport (even though we had a long connection), did it walk away with someone at some point? No information! The lady filed the form and assured us it'll be on the next flight from Denver arriving in 3 hrs. What to do now? She tried to offer to deliver it to a trailhead (um, would they hike up indefinitely to find us on a trail as well? No? You think we just sit by a trailhead?), but we chose to come back...in a meantime totally killing those 3 hrs doing nothing (like, driving God knows where to eat lunch, then visiting State Capitol and Mormon Church).
So, we are back at the airport...and the bag is not on a rotating belt! I burst in total sobbing. Nobody still knows WHERE in the world the bag is, and no promises are made anymore. All my worldly possessions - ALL my running clothes I carefully collected and chose and loved - were gone. Not only I can not begin my vacation, replacing those would be a great deal of money - and personal attachments. The lady tried to offer me directions to Dick's Sporting Goods and a $50 voucher...hmm, Dicks? $50? That's like, 1 pair of shorts I own, and those are not from Dicks! And I had 7 pairs in my bag, you know, for a 7-day trip? Plus 7 of everything else? And some gear I was to test and write reviews on?
I needed to get out of there, I needed to be on trails. So, I turned around, and drove, with Larry, still sobbing loudly, to a Cottonwood trailhead, got into Larry's shorts, and wearing a regular top and my comfy shoes (Merrell Road Barefoot, it's in the name...), up we went.
The phone bared a message that the bag arrived and that it was a "human error" - someone couldn't read SLC and sent it to SJC (San Jose) and miraculously it was discovered (without scanning?) and managed to be sent the right way. We made another trip to the airport to pick up my beloved shorts (and tops, and shoes, and socks, and ...you got the idea) and finally crashed at Mindy and Jared's incredible house for a dinner and a night in. There was a great chat and we loved - LOVED - spending time with these two amazing folks, just back from Spain, where Jared killed their Skyline 100M race in some 36 hrs (3 weeks prior to his Hardrock run). Thank you! People like them, along with great outdoors and mountain air, are re-charging, for sure.
|Ice-cream and Moonshine on the porch!|
|First 6 miles of rather small bumps on a precious soft single track!|
|Testing UD packs: SJ and PB.|
|Got some legs stretched out there too!|
|The wild flowers were WILD!|
|Big Sandy Lake.|
Of course, once the views were behind, it hit us: this is Western States 100 Saturday! When cut out of civilization and exploring great places, you forget things, even if they are something you followed one way or another for 13 years...so, as soon as we begun to get some cell service signal, I was frantically sending messages to all I know with questions about friends. And all our friends were rocking it! Arriving in Lori and Chris' place in Jackson, we were honestly glued to the computer until midnight, all of us, interspersing it with some news exchanges - we didn't see each other for a bit over a year (since last Pocatello 50). But, there was more fun awaiting, and once most folks we cared for crossed the finish line, we retired to bed - for a new day of fun.
Photoalbum to first 3 days of fun.
It was time to get ready for some Backcountry! Our plan called for a 3-day 2-night backpacking trip into the back side of Tetons, and Larry had strung together a loop of some almost 50 miles. Luckily (or not so much, but really, a good thing) Lori agreed to drive us to a trailhead some miles away from where we dropped the car so we could cut off the first 5-7 flat miles. That was extremely helpful!
We had our packs very light, our bear can for food storage, our bear spray strapped, and hearing a snow condition, our ice axes (provided by Chris and Lori) strapped. Here we go!
Next time we got to plan more miles per day, honey! I could totally see myself as a backpacker, getting stronger and "inside myself" as I go, day after day...and some sections of AT, CT and PCT in our future, as well as TRT, JM and many, many more...And what a gift to see it all! And yes, that's why I train in hot and humid Texas summer, running on roads and squatting at the gym...but lets get back to the story...
Grand Teton backcountry adventure.
We celebrated 4th of July in Jackson on what happened to be the steepest trail in the front range of Tetons - after first 1.6 flat miles, next 2.4M gained 3,000 feet, over roots on a narrow path, then over granite, over rock formations, and it lead us to Hanging Canyon and into the paradise of two lakes, one after another, where we took an extended break and ate a bunch of candy. No cheeseburgers or beer needed! On the way down, which we picked a bit differently, we had to slide alongside the bustling creek, before re-joining the trail, and we finish our celebration with a humongous plate of nachos and some berry margaritas. Yes, it's not Paleo, and yes, I began paying for eating those before I even finished with my portion, and no, I do not feel guilty at all! Larry, on the other hand, broke into shivering, ran a fever for 4 hrs, slept through some serious heat exhaustion later that day as a cumulative effect of high altitude, heat exposure, dehydration and some miles we put in. But, by the time Fireworks hit the town of Jackson, we were all well and outside enjoying them!
Pictures of our last 2 days near Jackson.
And that was that. We slowly made our way back to SLC, with a stop at Park City, checking out the town, a little bit of trails, the Olympic center...spent a night at Mindy and Jared, again (thank you!), where my honey dusted off his skills and played some piano (which impressed me immensely), and next morning we were on the flight home.
|Goodies from VFuel and BRL Sports.|
|Meghan Hick's article in Marathon&Beyond mentioned our names:)|
Trailrunnermag.com picked my blog post as an editor's choice.