Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Fun

Here's a quick glimpse into what's been happening around here the past few weeks.

When the kid is away the parents will play

A few weeks ago the little guy went to his first sleep-away summer camp...a backpacking camp in the beautiful Cascade foothills about 2-1/2 hours from Portland.

The little guy and his backpacking buddies

Marc and I took full advantage of the opportunity to go out and play without time restraints or responsibilities. I took a vacation day during the week and we headed out to the gorge.

Marc's favorite gorge route is Multnomah Falls to Larch Mountain and back again. It's 7 miles each way....4000 ft up and 4000 ft down again.

We power hiked up in exactly 2 hours and 20 minutes. Well, not exactly. About halfway up, I predicted it would take us 2 hours and 20 minutes. As we were climbing the last stairs to the top of the lookout, my watch ticked away the seconds 02:19:50, 51, 52, 53....54! How cool is that?

All the mountains were out - Hood, Jefferson, Adams, St. Helens and even Rainier

We took a longer loop back down to the river which made the total mileage about 16 miles.

We ran most of the way, but my back gave out with a few miles to go, which slowed me up a bit. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time and I can't wait to go back.

Mt. Hood PCT Ultra - five years running

Last weekend we made the trek for the fifth year up to the Clackamas Lake Ranger Station. This was the setting for Marc's and my first ultra in 2006, when they still offered the 50k option. Marc ran the 50 mile race for the 4th year in a row. I probably could have completed it, but I'm trying to be conservative this first year back to running. I have a few things up my sleeve but don't plan on a trail 50M until next year.

We originally didn't plan to camp this year, but just make it a (long) day trip. But a week before the race I looked around at some of the nearby campgrounds and found a spot at Little Crater Lake. This campground is a short drive from the start/finish, but the PCT goes right by the campground so the little guy and I would be able to see Marc from there. However, when we arrived at about 5pm on Friday afternoon, we discovered that the campground host had mistakenly given away our spot. He was apologetic, but slow to think of solutions. I had recalled seeing spots open at the horse camp, which is right near the start, so suggested we check there. Normally you need a horse to camp at the horse camp, but an undesirable spot (for horse owners - it didn't have a corral, just a hitching post) was available and it was agreed that we could camp there.

Our neighbor, a super nice woman who is active in equestrian groups, welcomed us and we had fun talking about our respective hobbies. It had been announced in a pre-race email that runners would have to climb over a few significant blow downs across the trail. However, these were cleared by the equestrian club, so the runners have the horsey people to thank for a clear trail. We savored our time at this lovely campground --- unless we acquire or borrow a horse we won't be going back soon.

5:30am early start instructions

They're off!

I love this pic ---- he didn't know I was taking it

Marc had a pretty good race. It was his second fastest time, but still about 40 minutes slower than last year. It was a hot day and (as usual) he went out too fast. He was toast at the finish, but recovered pretty quickly, and acquired a bit more experience that will help him in his upcoming races. To me, the race wasn't quite the same without Olga and Monika at the helm. But the new race directors seemed to do a pretty good job despite some crazy rules imposed upon them by the forest service. Hopefully, I'll get to finally cross the finish line of this race next year!

Coming back through the start/finish - 28.4 miles

Clackamas Lake - I just love this place

A dunk to cool off

Round the last corner to the finish

He's toast

But after a dip, he's his ol' self again


Addy said...

These are wonderful photos that show some amazing experiences :). The ones with the mountains in the back are especially amazing!

olga said...

I love, love, love this rac, and missed being there so much! Missed organizing, going crazy, and then giving hugs to sweaty nasty smelly bodies:) Little Guy looks so grown up, and would ya look at his hair...Stephen had this, but got a haircut a week ago (hot, and I punished him). And Larch is one of my fav routes. I miss, miss, miss PNW...

Gretchen said...

Looks like awesome summertime fun. Keep it up!

grrlpup said...

Aha! I thought I recognized Marc on the trail from photos on your blog, and was waiting for this post to confirm! Blue bandana, check. :)

I wondered what was going on with the non-existent fallen trees. I'd step across a little knee-high tree and think, "This can't be what they warned us about!"

Congrats and hooray for fun weekends in the forest!

Rick Gaston said...

Man, little guy is not so little anymore. Look at the size of those shoes! Great pictures of family time in the outdoors. You guys are at home on those trails.

Joe said...

Great pix, Sarah...and wonderful summary of summer so far! Wow, your son is growing quickly!!