Monday, April 2, 2007

Weekend Antics

Hittin' the trail at 6am meant an early wake-up and making sure that my headlamp was functioning. This is another difference between cycling and running; I rarely started a ride before the sun was up but now I start trail runs routinely in the dark. I like it because I can head out for a 3 to 4 hour run and get back to the house just as everyone is getting done with breakfast. That of course means more time with the family and that makes everybody happy. However early alarms on the weekend can seem evil sometimes.
The chartered course for the day is called Short n' Steep. It's only 16 miles but packs in 5000' vertical over 2 major climbs and 1 minor climb. The rest of the elevation gain and loss comes from rolling foothills in between. I came up with this loop back in the fall when I was looking for a way to connect a few trails without going out and back. My favorite types of runs, or rides for that matter, consist of loops. I find them more interesting and fulfilling than going out and back. The true loop is one that I can complete without crossing over anything I've already been on. I can't quite make this one work that way but it's still one of my favorites. The Short n' Steep route starts at the mouth of Emigration canyon at the trailhead for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and follows the BST over to George's Hollow then all the way up to the summit of Mt. Wire. Near the top there are two panels that look like monster billboards (I assume they are repeaters of some sort) and at the top there is a 25' metal lookout tower surrounded by a chainlink fence and a gate without a lock. I had never climbed it before, but as I watched Peter scale the metal ladder I figured what the hell and climbed up as well. It was actually quite amazing how much more of the mountain can be seen from up there, mostly because the summit is very big and round.
A view from the top looking Southeast

There goes Sam on the descent

On the way down we hook up on the trail that leads to the 'Living Room'. This is a spot on the ridge that has many flat pieces of sandstone that people have stacked in the form of armchairs and couches.

Sam and Peter in the Living Room

From here we descend into the mouth of Red Butte Canyon and straight up the north side of the canyon to the top of Mt. Van Cott.

Me on Van Cott looking out over SLC

Then we run the ridgeline all the way back down to the BST and ascend up Dry Creek. I've toyed with the idea of leaving the trail at the back of Dry Creek and following Dry fork then ascending Unkle F@#ker, but today was not the day, especially after the 50 miler last week. So we stuck to the plan, climbed up to the saddle then dropped into Limekiln Gulch and ran back to the trailhead on the BST. Even though I prefer the high alpine runs I'll try not to take these smaller mountains for granted. They can provide a proper beating if you're in the mood...

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