Friday, August 13, 2010

Wasatch 100 2010 - Course Preview Pt. 2 and a New Loop on Sunday

Last Saturday (8/7/2010) I ran with Greg and Peter from Big Mountain (mi. 39) to Lamb's Canyon (mi. 53).  We actually start this route down at the first switchback in East Canyon since it adds a couple of miles and little more vertical.  Plus it's a shorter car shuttle when we're done.  What I thought was even better was the run we did on Sunday (described a little lower).
I'm happy to report there's very little to be worried about on this section when it comes to the trail.  The ridge is still rocky and exposed, Ball Bearing Hill is still slippery and the remaining ridge to Alexander (mi. 47.5) is a little overgrown in sections as usual.

Heading along the pipeline into the "oven" felt especially hot and I can only hope that it's much cooler for everyone on race day.  Finally after topping out on Roger's Saddle, Peter turned up the pace all the way Lamb's and had us running a lot faster than I had planned, but it was all good.  I also took notice that crossing the last little stretch was much easier this time around since somebody cleaned up the downed trees, thanks Jay!

The real gem of the weekend was the run we did on Sunday (8/8/2010). None of us had ever run Silver Fork Canyon so we came up with a route that would take us from Brighton up to Twin Lake Pass, down Silver Fork, back up Days Fork, over to Twin Lakes Pass then back down to Brighton. Sounds easy enough right? Greg and Peter thought so as well so we made a plan to meet up with Matt Hart to put it all together. I’ve decided to go with a heavy picture post (more here) this time with captions.
Sunday's route

Peter was gracious enough to let me try his Hoka’s for the day and I’m not sure it warrants a separate post, but I can confidently say I’ve never run downhill faster when I really turned it on.
Me with Clown err, Hoka's on

I tore down the descent off Twin Lakes with Peter hot on my heels and when we reached the turn to Silver Fork we were both breathing so hard we couldn’t talk. I have two complaints about them though, 1) I nearly rolled my ankle a number of times when landing on my fore to mid foot and 2) the upper isn’t quite right yet, at least for my foot. The top two eyelets had to be pulled so closely together to secure my foot that by the time we were at the end of the run the top of my foot was slightly bruised from the plastic digging in. Enough Hoka talk and back to the run.
Matt at Twin Lake Pass

Peter and Greg on our way over to Silver Fork Canyon
Once we reached the Pass over to Silver Fork we decided to go check out the Prince of Wales Mine constructed in 1872. Definitely worth checking out and it’s only a ½ mile or so off the trail. This little diversion got us off trail a bit and we ended up just running straight down to find the main trail again in Silver Fork.
Prince of Wales Mine in the middle of the picture
Greg inspecting the boiler at Prince of Wales Mine
L-R, Peter, Matt, Greg at Prince of Wales Mine, I'm looking west taking the picture
The Silver Fork trail is very much like Days Fork, steep in parts and very runnable for the most part. We reached the bottom near some cabins and after asking directions to avoid the pavement we ran down a dirt road then a trail for a couple miles. It’s worth noting that there is a connector in Day’s Fork that looks like it comes from Silver Fork, however we were unable to locate it and ran the last stretch of pavement down to the Spruces Campground where we filled up with water.
Matt running in Silver Fork
Greg on the steep stuff in Silver Fork
The long climb up Days Fork got pretty hot, but we still kept a good pace all the way back up to the ridge and the divider between Silver and Days. Up on Emmas Ridge I re-discovered some of the steep climbs leading back toward Twin Lake Pass. I don’t know why, but I always seemed surprised when I literally run into them.
Bottom of Days Fork heating up
Matt near the top of Silver Fork
Looking down into Little Cottonwood from Emma's ridge
One of the steep climbs on our way back to Twin Lake Pass
The distance ended up at around 18 miles with 4,900’ vertical and we finished in about 4 hours even, including the extra time at the mine. Good times indeed.


Jay said...

The Prince of Whales ruins are good fun. The Sunday after Speedgoat my daughter and rappelled into the Prince of Whales shafts. While we there we met a guy who thinks he had discovered a link to a tunnel in lower Grizzly Gulch and wanted to throw a smoke bomb in to test his theory. After tossing the bomb he sprinted down the hill in search of orange smoke. Do they connect?? A great area to run and explore!!

Missy B. said...

i can't believe none of you had ever been running in Silver Fork! it is a very pretty little canyon. great photos from your run--looks like a great route.

Missy B. said...

btw--i'm pretty sure those canyons connect (Silver Fork to Grizzly). legend has it that the old Alta-Silver Fork mail route went through there.

Joanne said...

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