In an effort to get a little bit of altitude and a change of scenery I convinced Greg to join me on the Shingle Creek trail. The trailhead is located just 10 miles east of Kamas on the Mirror Lake Highway only 50 mins from my house. I picked this trail because the drainage has a southern aspect and fairly easy access to the trails above 10,000'. I had no idea what to expect since neither Greg or myself had ever been on this trail, we decided to call it an exploratory mission. All to often I get caught in a trap of running on the same trails because I know exactly what to expect and how long it will take to complete a run. Some of that is driven by time restrictions, but I believe that it's mostly a comfort zone thing. After completing this run I'm convinced that mixing it up is good for the mind.
We hit the trail at 7am with a goal of getting to Big Elk Lake, but first we agreed to turn around at 1hr and 50mins since that's when our supplies would run dry. I was feeling a bit tired from yesterday's run so we just kept a moderate pace heading up the drainage, crossing the river three times on small bridges. Eventually the bridges ran out and we had to cross the cold, knee deep river to continue on up the trail. We made it to our first landmark, East Shingle Creek Lake, but our time was running short. The snow was deep enough through here that we lost the trail but made our way up to the pass, picking the path of least resistance. I knew we didn't have time to make it down into Erickson Basin and over to Big Elk Lake so we started up the north ridge of Wall Peak to gain a little extra vertical. We finally stopped at a shoulder on the ridge with our time up, my watch reading 9,970'. I snapped a few photos, and we ate some food before starting back down.
We got back to the car in 3hrs 30mins, getting in 13 miles and 2,800' vertical. Not exactly setting any speed records but time on the (wet) feet is still a good time.