What a Wonderland Trail!

I’ve beens so busy with getting ready to move the family – more on that in a future post – that I’ve neglected to write about one of my favorite running experiences – a two day self supported circumnavigation of the Wonderland Trail. Since it’s been a while I’m just going to repost what I put on facebook when I first did it – with a bit more color and some links.

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As paternity leave and Summer wound down Carrie was kind enough to support a crazy adventure I’ve been dreaming of for a very long time. Ever since I heard about it I’ve wanted to hike the Wonderland trail – a 93 mile trail with 22,000 feet of elevation gain that circumnavigates Mount Rainier. With work and family responsibilities I don’t really have a week to do it – so instead I put an ultra spin on it and ran it in 2 days. The first day was a 60+ mile 18 hour day and the second was 35 miles in 11 hours. It was the adventure of a lifetime the highs were worth all of the lows. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in terms of running. I did it solo and I carried all of my own water and food. Although I did resupply between day 1 and day 2 when I slept at the National Park Inn at Longmire. 

It definitely felt that I was pushing my limits. There were a few moments when I questioned my choice to try to do this including:

  1. When I first started out all alone at 2:30 AM from the Mowich Lake campground. Something about wandering into the darkness in a remote portion of a National Park gave me pause…
  2. Route finding over river crossings in the dark. It wasn’t easy to find my way over the river sections since they are marked with Cairns and small log bridges. And it was dark. Really dark.
  3. At lunchtime on day 1 when I was so excited to get to the Sunrise snackbar and get some real food – only to discover that it had closed down the previous week. Luckily I had packed plenty of nutrition.
  4. At the end of day 1 when I just wanted to get to the Paradise Lodge and it was dark and I was exhausted and lonely. But when I did get there it made the hot food they had waiting for me taste even more wonderful

Highs:

  1. Spectacular views of the mountain and enjoying how the views changed as I traveled around it.
  2. Setting into a rhythm and getting a feeling for the pulse of the park. The ups and downs reminding me of the trail of life. The trail really is just a sequence of cimbs up to ridges by glaciers with wide open views followed by decents down to river crossings of the rivers that are created by the glaciers. Really cool geology going on.
  3. Bear! I saw my first large predator while running.
  4. Saying goodbye to my mountains and filling up with their specticle before moving on to our next chapter

I’ll always cherish these two days on the mountain I love so much I named my son after it.

Strava Tracks:

Day 1 part 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/730402457

Day 1 part 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/730330627

Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/730433721

Gear:

Shout out as usual to Brooks! Ran this one in the Cascadia and it was great. I like the new Cascadia a lot.

Also I’m loving my Black Diamond Headlamp. They has awesome customer service as well. Had an issue with the lamp and a new one was sent out to me no questions asked – even though it was a couple of years old they sent me the latest model.

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