Monday, February 18, 2013

The Wedge - Rocky Mountain Wranglers 2013

Saturday morning I got up ridiculously early. 4:00 in the morning so I could hop in a van with my brother at 4:15 to meet up with a bunch of other crazy guys at 5:00 at the Park'n'Ride in American Fork.

We then drove for just over 2 hours down through Price to the middle of nowhere Utah... Where interestingly I had REALLY good cellphone coverage - including data! - the entire time.

We drove to a spot where we would be able to stop along the trail to grab refills for water, a soda, some food, whatever we might need - and realized there was a lot more snow on the ground than expected!

That means the trail was going to be covered in many spots, and might make things just a LITTLE interesting!

Everybody piled back into the van and drove a couple more minutes to the 'start' where the Little Grand Canyon made it's first appearance. You go from driving around with nothing but scrub pines to WHOA! Where'd THAT come from?!

Very cool!

The plan was to recreate the journey made last year by Craig, Matt, Scott, and MattVH (MattVH didn't come this year) and stick to the rim on the Good Water Rim Trail for 15ish miles, then turn around and head back to the start.

We got started and headed out to a very cool overlook of the canyon where we took some cool pictures

and headed back dodging rock plates and dead trees and trying not to fall off the cliffs... which really wasn't THAT hard. Did I mention it was really cool views yet?

After slogging through some rough snow along the rim for a couple of miles we unfortunately decided enough was enough, and we headed towards the road that circles the canyon and continued our run on the dirt road for a while.

Forget this stuff! (it would have taken us FOREVER!)

Runnin the road!
We ran right past our cache, but somehow I hadn't realized this and thought we were still heading towards it for about 5 miles! I was definitely a little disappointed because I was kind of looking forward to a little break and some refreshment at about 8 miles!

At mile 9 we were where the original 15 was supposed to end - so we decided to stick to the Rim again, as on the East side the rim was more like we expected - not covered in snow! It was fun to run along and jump over gaps and for some more daring people to climb DOWN the cliff to play around.

We ran along the cliff to another overlook and then decided to climb DOWN lower.

The overlook
Brothers! This is above.

I'm not sure what he's doing either.
This is down below! That point up there is where the earlier pics are.
In the video below you will see Craig and I climbing up that face pretty quickly. Well I'm pretty quick, Craig is just plain fast!

We turned back and followed the canyon for a bit longer then turned back for the road and FINALLY to 'lunch' or the break at the Stash - just after mile 16 - and my upper calves were NOT happy. I think it was from switching from rocks to snow to a dirt road (the biggest culprit!) and back again, but my legs were beat. We stopped at the cache and downed some soda, bananas, whatever we brought...
Scott brought a slice of pizza, a doughnut, and a couple of other funny items AND he took one of my Mt. Dew Throwbacks (which was fine that's why I put a few extra there!) Fun group of guys for sure.

Break time!

We headed back on the road back to the start, arriving at the start (just after mile 19) where I shed my running tights and jacket, and we ran West along the rim for a while

Over 19 miles - officially the longest at that point!

The cliffs.... of INSANITY!!!
I got a bit behind...

When we turned back at the lookout and got back to the start we were at just over 21 miles. I was hurting a bit, but didn't feel horrible and wanted to get at LEAST farther than a marathon, so we headed back out down the road for a few miles, with the plan that the fellas who were going for the full 31 would continue down the road, we'd turn back and Craig and I would set up the slackline while Matt went to pick everybody up - oh and Davy just ran around wherever racking up the miles. That guy is awesome.

So I ran out to just over 24 miles, VERY slowly, turned around and got back to the start again at about 25.8 miles!

Not there yet?! So tired!
Ha! Just kidding!
So I shed more stuff, and ran up to the point where we took some cool pictures at the beginning, and back to what I can't call the START anymore because now (finally) It's the FINISH!! 27.3 miles!

Hooray! Record Distance, Duration, Month, all sorts of stuff. AND we weren't even done yet.

But here's the map of where I did run!

Orange thing is Start/Finish!
Time for my first experience SLACK LINING!

Setting up the safety rope underneath
We used my long 82' Slack line I got for Christmas - attaching it across a break in the cliff to two scraggly but tough (we thought!) trees hanging out on the edge. We looked for better spots along the run but the best place was right there near the starting/finishing parking lot!

I'm actually glad my first experience was on a higher slackline. My legs were tired enough, and I am inexperienced in the type of balance required for slacklining, that I was unable to stand on the slackline for more than a few seconds. I did get off the ground, but it didn't last. BUT - I did hook in, and scoot out to the middle of the rope just to get a feel for it - and then drop under it and play around.

I did pull ups, and a bunch of other stuff playing around on the line - to the awe of an old couple that stopped to watch us - they were pretty funny. We had run past them sitting out at the overlook as I was ALMOST finished, and they were on their way out when they saw we were setting up the slackline so they stopped and pretended like they were looking at the signs before they asked us what the heck we were doing, and if it was all right for them to watch. They were funny but definitely impressed.

I wish I'd set up my little video camera with Tripod I specifically brought for this purpose!! But I forgot. Dang!

Otherwise Craig did all the real slacklining, until we almost ripped one of the trees, and a bunch of rock on top of the cliff off! Cool to see him make it across like he did.

Definitely makes me excited to get good at it so I can do some tricks and even just walk across it!

Oh for safety we had a safety line attached underneath the slackline, with a safety line connected by multiple carribeaners to climbing harnesses. I felt completely safe, just like I do while climbing with a rope or belaying device.

ACK I wish I had a canyon in my back yard!

Okidokee finally - here is Craig's Video!! It's awesome!

Also you can read a few more reviews at the following, or you can just enjoy the awesome blogs:
Orange Trail Monkeys
Refuse2Quit will have a current one soon I'm sure
Davy Crockett's Blog might have one too!

Fantastic experience and a good preparation for the Buffalo Run 50k!
I'm happy that I did NOT have any debilitating soreness the next day or today. That means my training has paid off! That's not to say I'm not sore at all - but really I'm very happy with the way I feel.

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