Day 2: Upper Paradise to Rae Lakes, 6876 to 10900 ft in elevation gain, 11-12 miles
We left camp a little later than the day before at around 8:15am. In contrast to yesterday’s 7am start, it seemed very late, and it was already quite warm. A group of girls who had camped (but very quietly) at the campsite south of us had already left. We chatted with a couple of them yesterday and learned that they had made their way up to the lakes, but, at 10,000 feet, one of their group had gotten altitude sickness and they were compelled to turn back.
Day 1, Road’s End to Upper Paradise Valley Camp, 5035-6876 feet in elevation, 10 miles.
On Tuesday, we woke at 5am, as soon as it became light, and quickly got ready. Our plan was to have breakfast at CGV, but by the time we made it to the there, it was only 6:52am, and the cafe did not open until 7:30am.
So off to Road’s End long term parking we went, planning on quickly eating a bar at the start and then taking a longer breakfast/ coffee break at Mist Falls, some 4 miles in.
After having lived for nearly 31 years in the U.S., I have never been to a national park. No, driving through Yosemite (without stopping) does not count. Nor had I ever been backcountry backpacking, not even for an overnight.
Last week I did both, hiking some 41+ miles, going from 5k to 12k in elevation around the Rae Lakes Loop in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, accompanied by Danny and Jared. We had spent weeks in preparation. Since their Lost Coast trek, I had also gotten into obsessive perusal and research, poring over trip reports, maps, backpacking gear, backpacking foods, photos of the sierras, lightweight camera gear, etc. Danny had already done much of the research into ultralight gear, and so I also became familiar with Zpacks, Gossamer Gear, cuben fiber, and began weighing and tracking (some of) my stuff. We went on several traininghikes to test out gear and food and endurance.
Another weekend brought another training hike, and this time Danny chose a spot closer to San Francisco on the Peninsula. The trail he had planned had several ups and downs and some 2300 feet in elevation.
So it is looking like this is the year of the back-country thru-hike. In April over an extended weekend, Danny, accompanied by Jared and Jesse, hiked the Lost Coast Trail – a point-o-point course along the beach in Humboldt County – Danny’s first-ever backcountry backpacking trip.
And so the fire was lit. I’m now accompanying him on my first-ever backpacking trip in a couple of weeks – the popular Rae Lakes Loop that traverses Kings Canyon/ Sequoia National Park. Running/ hiking trails is one thing, but hiking a thru-hike, with significant elevation and carrying gear of 20-35 lbs on one’s back is another.
This year I’m attempting to complete Brazen Racing’s Ultra Half Marathon challenge – complete five (out of 13) of their most challenging half marathons (some are dubbed “ultras” because they run longer than the standard 13.1 miles) – and receive bragging rights and a special Ultra Coaster for your trouble and effort. Continue reading →
On Sunday I did my usual long run (~12.47 miles). Because of an upcoming hilly Half in Livermore, I chose a route (quite standard, really, especially when I was training for the SF Marathon last spring/ summer,) that took me through the park, up Strawberry Hill and eventually down to Great Highway and up and Land’s End. Relatively “hilly” with lots of downhills and flats in between.
Though this will be my 4th year running, I still don’t know a lot about what to do/ how to improve. If I make the effort, and make it a point to go to track workouts, I might get better.
This year I vow to overcome my fears, to do things that scare me.
The Porch is where we ended up for a post-CIM brunch. DD and I were able to leave our car at the Hyatt since we had already paid the $17 day-fee – our day lasted until 4pm. Carlos had kindly researched places on Yelp when I mentioned that I was in the mood for Fried Chicken after my marathon.
So we walked a couple of blocks. I felt fine, the legs a little achy, my body a little sore. Finally we saw the rectangular, low-slung building, gleaming white in the sun, with a true-to-its name porch for al fresco dining.
Yes, that photo above is a Punchbowl, full of Bloody Mary goodness, served ever-so-quaintly in little glass cups, so you can sip your drink genteely as you ponder whether to order the shrimp-and-grits or chicken and waffles. Tart and a bit spicy, the Bloody Marys hit the spot. I think the mix was, on the whole, a tad lighter on the alcohol, which was just fine by me. Continue reading →
This will no doubt be just another of the hundreds of blogposts that will be filed about this day, but I need to get this down since:
CIM 2012 was my first-ever marathon.
2012 will be remembered as the year of the epic rainstorm.
Warning. This is waaay too long for to be of interest to anyone except myself, really, but – for what it’s worth…
On Friday, though I was still checking the weather every couple of hours, hoping beyond hope for some change, I was pretty much resigned. Yes folks, all indicators pointed to a deluge of not-insignificant proportions in the beginning, middle and most likely by the end of the marathon.
So that was that. My goal – of finishing anywhere from 4-4:15 — did not change drastically because of it. I figured that I’d start running, and adjust goals from there. Having never run a marathon before, and certainly, having never run long in pouring rain before, left lots of things up in the air. I kept telling myself that ultimately, the true goal was to finish, and finish strong. A good time would be icing on the cake. Also, beating Oprah would be icing on the cake. Continue reading →