Friday, July 15, 2011

Methow Training Week, Day 5

Day 5, it's drawing to an end.

Today is trail running (and swimming, of course). On my last training week here I'd made the mistake of "running" to Slate Lake. Big mistake. The trail goes just about straight up so there was no running. And coming down was so hard on me that I had sore legs for days afterwards.

This time I wanted something more gentle. I knew that the Twisp River Trail (TRT) goes along the valley kind of paralleling the road. I knew that the valley didn't rise too steeply so that seemed like a good option.

The main issue for me was access and where I wanted to be. On my Slate Creek mis-adventure I'd gone on the TRT for a short distance, so I knew it was that far down the valley and that it went both directions. But I wanted to start farther up river to see some new country.

The Forest Service TRT information indicated access at Scatter Creek, so I elected to start there.

My geezer pass was useful as the access point is a fee area. Once again I was convinced that it's the best $10 I ever spent. One advantage of advancing age!

A short spur trail took me right up to the TRT and the intersection for the Scatter Creek Trail. The directions were well-signed so I started out.

This was a classical Eastern Washington drainage bottom: the occasional area with moisture filled with lush growth interspersed with areas of open timber. Since it's still spring like the air was filled with the smells of these plants. Most of the flowers have bloomed and gone down in the valley so the main color is green.

The trail in the first couple of miles is quite technical - narrow with lots of rocks and roots and ups and downs. In the wet places I walked because the growth totally obscured the path and I didn't want to trip on an unseen rock and break something.

After those 2 miles the trail really opened up. At North Creek it came right down to the road and crossed the creek using the road. Then back up into the trees.

From here it was just a short distance to an unsigned fork in the trail. Both looked good so I took the right-hand fork. This started me up a long, long climb towards North Lake along the North Creek drainage. On my way up I met a solo hiker coming down and that was the only person that I saw the whole day.
Without a target location to turn around, I just kept my eye on my watch and turned around in 1:24 (my goal was to run a total of 2:30). This trail was a mix of really good trail (even though relentlessly uphill) and mixed technical terrain. There was even a wild stream crossing at an avalanche slide.

It was a pretty narrow stream but running swiftly down a steep avalanche area. And I didn't want to get my feet wet by wading through. Some kind soul had put a couple of logs across but they were too small and slick to walk on so I crabbed across with my feet on the lower one while using the upper for balance. It worked OK; I just got one foot wet.

The lower log moved around as I walked on it, so when I returned I piled a few rocks around one end to stabilize it a bit more; worked great.

I turned around at 1:24, had an energy bar, and pretty much reversed my trip up to return to the car. Time back was 1:08 so I judged it pretty well for 2:30.

My new Nathan hydration pack is really getting a test on these runs. I love the way it rides on my back and I've had fluids left over after my 2 trail runs here. It's not been hot, but it looks to me as if the capacity would be sufficient for this amount of time in much warmer weather.

Plus, I got to see some great scenery and smell some great smells and hear some wonderful sounds.

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