What makes people run in the woods? In the rain and wind. Up and down the side of two mountains? A screw loose perhaps. Maybe. But for my running partner and I it was what we chose to do last Saturday. I documented the first half of the run in A Rainy Day Run on Monday. I’ve also looked at what makes ultra trail runners tick in Run Lisa Run.
I guess the other question is, why am I writing about it? Partly because it was fun and partly because I wanted to remember the experience. Because I won’t be doing it again. Ever.
When I signed off on Monday we had reached the ski lodge at Cypress Bowl after climbing to the top of Eagle Bluffs. We stopped just long enough under the ski lift base to scarf down a Lara bar and chug some water. We assumed we would need to find a port-a-potty or just pop a squat in the forest but as we started out again we realized that the lodge was just around the corner and open. Hallelujah! I have to admit the warm fire, grilled burgers and cold beer sign were tempting but it was time to use the facilities then get back on the trail.
The course description I had printed out said that from here on it was pretty much 7.5 miles of downhill. Ya. Not so much. We got back into the forest and spent the next hour dodging mud holes and slippery roots all while going uphill. Okay, so it was a gradual incline, but at this point up was still up.
At one point we heard the thumping of a wild grouse. It’s an eerie sound that, if you didn’t know what it was, would be kind of scary. Wildlife is everywhere. We would find out later in the day that a cougar had been sighted on the same trail a few hours before we passed by.
Just when we thought we may have taken a wrong turn, we heard what we thought was singing. Or maybe somebody camping? We came to a trail junction and came upon a group of about twenty Asian hikers. Covered head to toe in gortex rain gear, carrying hiking poles and at least half of them had……umbrellas? Keep in mind that we were half way up Hollyburn Mountain by this point. As we said excuse me, on your right, on your left and thank you over and over while passing them, we giggled a bit to ourselves. We then realized that they were probably giggling at us too. Two crazy women in runners, tight and t-shirts running in the rain and wind on the side of a mountain.
The trail opened up now and the rain and wind was relentless and cold. We stopped briefly to pull on toques. If my hands hadn’t been so cold I would have taken my camera out and taken a picture of us but that was not going to happen.
From that point it really was all down hill. For the next hour we headed down. And down. And down. While it was a nice change from the uphill it didn’t come without its torture. After a while my quad muscles starts to cramp up pretty good. Even though it was easier and faster to run this section we had to be careful. We had been warned about “the chute”. A steep rough section with intermittent drop offs. Turned out to be a bit anti-climactic. We kept waiting for it only to realize we had already done it.
Back into the woods briefly and we ran into a guy coming up the trail. We had a quick conversation with him about his Hoka runners and asked if we were on track to come out on Craigmohr Road. He had no idea what we were talking about. I’m sure he would eventually run into the Asian hiking group and would have a good laugh about the crazy ladies running on the mountain.
We eventually reached out destination. A bit off course but close enough.
The Best Thing in Life is that as we stood there in the rain we both said “that was so fun”. Yup. Two crazy ladies on the Mountain.