Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter Recap - the First 6 Weeks

Winter is going out like a Lion here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  On this day before calendar spring officially begins, it is snowing like gangbusters outside my window, with 12-18" predicted before the storm is over tomorrow.  Sure is beautiful - how I missed snow living in SoCal x 6 years.

Chris and I had an interesting winter.  The first 6 weeks were spent living as vagabonds out West, with the last 6 weeks at home in Vermont.  We left New England on December 19, driving all the way back to California in the Honda Element.  We've made the trip cross country so many times now that we're pretty good at knowing great places to stop and stretch our legs which feels SO good after being cooped up in a vehicle.  This particular trip we got runs in on Dickey Ridge in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia; Chimney Top on the Barkley course in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee; Pinnacle Peak State Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas; Palo Duro Canyon, near Amarillo, Texas; and Grand Canyon National Park, where we snagged a cabin at the Bright Angel complex on Christmas Eve.  Christmas morning I got in a great run down the Bright Angel to Plateau Point and back.  What a special place to spend Christmas.  We also enjoyed spending a night with our good friends Steve and Deb in Jemez Springs, New Mexico.

We closed out the old year and welcomed the new with a little Coyote runfest back in California: a few Ray Miller loops in Pt. Mugu State Park, a couple of days on Santa Cruz Island, and for me running the awesome course of the old Coyote Fourplay 40 miler on December 31st while a bunch of folks did variations of the fat-ass 24 Hours of Ray.  Not a bad way to close out 2012.

Our wanderings next took us on a big, circuitous route to Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree National Park, Sedona, Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park, Bishop, Sacramento, and back down the Central Coast.  We discovered more great trail running in Sedona as I tried to "redline" my local trail map, the loop around Cathedral Peak and the Hangover Trail being particular favorites.  At the end of one of my runs I was chased by a skunk -- though thankfully not sprayed -- a definite first for me.  In Vegas we spent a couple of days out at Red Rock Canyon but found even better running farther south on the Cottonwood Trails, where there was much more smooth, serpentine singletrack.  We spent all of 2 hours on the Strip, such Vegas people we are... NOT.  Death Valley has never disappointed.  We checked out some old favorite trails as well as some new ones, including the awesome Ubehebe Crater.  Such interesting territory out there in the Mojave Desert...

Next up was a couple of days in Bishop.  Since I didn't bring winter gear for the mountains, runs in the Buttermilks had to suffice, and they did.  For the next four days in a row, I ran on the pancake flat American River bike path in Sacramento while we stayed with Chris's brother and his wife.  My run the following day -- on the lovely Vicente Trail in the Ventana Wilderness of the Central Coast -- was pure bliss after 4 days on a paved bike path.  Aaahhh...  On January 31 we flew back to Vermont to finish out the second 6 weeks of winter...

No comments: