Long Trail Run: 19 Hardcore Miles

I cannot say enough great things about Saturday’s long trail run! It was everything a trail run should be:



stupendously wonderful

and intensely gratifying.

It all began Friday night. I left work and discovered that my happy hour plans had fallen through. Damn! So not the way to start a weekend! Undeterred and unwilling to eat soup alone in my apartment, I picked up this book: Trail Running Oregon. Next, I beelined to a bar, ordered a glass of Pinot Noir and began flipping pages. Soon I was under the influence. The wine was tasty and the trail running possibilities grew grand and limitless. Somewhere in between the first and second glass of Pinot I realized the following:

1. I was sick of my regular running routes in the Portland area

2. I needed an adventure

3. I had a car, gas money and a cell phone:

4. There was nothing standing between me and an adventure.

I finished my wine and conversations at the bar. I went home and was in bed before 8:30 PM – like a loser, but a loser with a plan. And I’d like to think that makes all the difference?

Saturday Morning: Adventure, here I come! I woke up at 5:15 AM, ate bacon and steamed pumpkin, packed my things and headed out the door. My little car and I hummed happily into Oregon’s Central Cascade forests. It was misty, rainy and leaves were flying off the trees. My destination was the Indian Henry Campground near the Clackamas River. My plan was to run the Pup Creek Falls trail. It roughly parallels the river and my turnaround would be 8 miles down the trail at Fish Creek Campground. I’d run there and backtrack to the car. If I was feeling good, I’d tack on a few miles at the turnaround – making the run somewhere between 16-19 miles. Taking a hint from the trail running book, I drove to the halfway point and stashed an extra water bottle among the bushes so I could refuel. I’m so happy I did. Few things are worse than running out of water on a long run!

Pup Creek Falls - One sight on my 19 mile trail run

Pup Creek Falls - One sight on my 19 mile trail run

Trail Run Stats:

Total Mileage: 19.3 Miles

Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 3813 feet.

Time Spent on Trail: About 3 hours.

Things I passed: A horde of boy scouts, a waterfall that looked like something you’d see on PBS, a basalt semi-cave, many gigantic moss-covered trees.

Overall Impressions:

While the sign at the trailhead indicated that it was “moderately difficult” hike, I found trailrunning it to be technical, steep and challenging. I ate an Espresso HammerGel before setting off, a Vanilla Bean GU after Mile 8 and another Espresso HammerGel at about Mile 13. I used my handheld water bottle and stuffed my extra GUs and cell phone into the back pocket of my singlet. (BTW, whoever designed the singlet with pocket down the back was a genius!)

There were plenty of switch backs, pointy rocks, narrow passes and a couple of open fields to keep me entertained. It was an overall elevation loss of about 300 feet between the start and the turnaround. But there were plenty of ups and downs. Despite feeling fabulous for most of the run, I found myself hitting a wall near Mile 17. (possibly I needed to eat another gel?). I powered through the end and found myself stumbling a lot in the last couple of miles. Nothing was better than turning the bend and seeing my little car waiting for me in the parking lot. I finished up my run with a gigantic if exhausted smile on my face – and I’m pretty sure that is the sign I had a great adventure


About heatherdaniel

I'm a runner, writer, eater and traveler.
This entry was posted in autumn, hitting the wall, portland, running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Long Trail Run: 19 Hardcore Miles

  1. MJ says:

    Cool post. I’m inspired to go look for a book like that!

  2. danica says:

    AMAZING VIEWS! 🙂 I am so into that idea of “Well I’m a loser, but I at least know what I’m doing”.. 🙂

  3. Aileen says:

    What beautiful scenery to run in! We don’t have much like that in Chi-town!

  4. the mom says:

    Awesome waterfall!!! More than fantastic. Glad you are feeling comfortable running again. Love you lots.

  5. Whoa, that sounds like an excellent run!
    I am very curious about trail running, but there is NO possibility where I live – other than running across boggy pastures.

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