Had a really amazing adventure run on Thursday morning – July 31. I ran from Ohanapecosh to Sunrise via the Cowlitz divide trail and frying pan creek along the Wonderland trail. It’s about a 23 mile run with 9100 feet of gain according to Google Maps. I finished it in 7 hours and 20 minutes. I ran it hard but I didn’t take it at “race pace” since I wanted to enjoy the rest of the day / weekend. However, I am going to claim the unsupported FKT for this route for a few reasons:
- I was relatively fast
- You would not start from Ohanapecosh campground unless you have a family that was car camping there
- The really fast runners on the Wonderland trail wouldn’t have the side trips that my route included
The stretch of the Wonderland trail from where Cowlitz terminates to Indian Bar was the most amazing section of trail I think I’ve ever run. I was still fresh since I was only about six miles into the run. It was still early since I had started at 5:30. The sub alpine flowers were blooming. Amazing views of layers upon layers of mountains. Adams looming on one side and Rainier massive on the other. Beautiful singletrack with not another soul to be seen. It was wild and enchanting. I’ll never forget it.
The section from Indian Bar up to Fryingpan gap was also breathtaking – however I was not as fresh at that point and this section was a significant climb. Having trekking poles helped save my legs some but it was still a struggle. The meadows were not quite as blooming here. I did see a pair of mountain goats though.
I loved seeing all of the glacial streams flowing down the ridges.
I bombed it down from Panhandle Gap to White River campground. The trail was very runnable and a steady downhill. It was not the most interesting part of the hike but it was quite fun. It was also longer than I expected it to be. I kept thinking the camp ground must be just around the next bend.
Worst part of the run was the stretch from White River campground to Paradise. I was pretty tired by that point in time and the steady steep uphill was brutal six hours into the adventure.
When I reached sunrise ridge I was awarded with some spectacular views and flowers but was mostly just happy to be done. I finished within five minutes of my estimated finish time at 1:00 pm. As I walked into the parking lot I saw my family pulling up to meet me for an afternoon of hiking. Ugg more hiking …
All star gear: battery pack for iphone, smart wool calf sleeves, trekking poles. It was not terrible to run with my backpack but also definitely made it slow going. I went through both of my bottles and my full hydration bladder. If I were going longer I could have resupplied at Sunrise or I could figure out how to filter water.