running kesugi ridge

for years, my favorite run ever was a sunrise barefoot beach run on lake superior with a really good friend.  now, my favorite run ever is a sunny day on kesugi ridge with a really good friend.  wow!  so beautiful!!!   

we drove through a hailstorm and pouring rain friday evening.  the kind that makes you think "hmm...i swear the weather report promised 0% chance of rain for tomorrow..." but things cleared up before we made it to the byers lake campground.  i forgot slippers and it was chilly on the feet, so dove into my sleeping bag after dinner and slept super well.  i miss the endless days of high summer, but it's nice to be able to actually sleep when sleeping outside again.  we had a relatively slow morning before finding a spot to leave our bikes and then driving north to the little coal creek trailhead.     

 

and then we went for a run.

i warm up slow, so the first few miles of up felt terrible, but i eventually fell into a good rhythm.  the trail was fabulous.  not smooth and cruiser fabulous (which i also enjoy), but varied, technical, and challenging fabulous.  i loved the portions in the tundra, which was most of the run.  about mid-way, we had to drop down into a small valley of sorts.  mentally and physically, i didn't fare well there.  too much where i couldn't see with my feet and too much worry about bears.  i almost ran (literally) into a porcupine.  

after walking much of the valley section, we climbed back up onto the second long stretch of ridgeline.  concerned with my low energy, i busted out my ipod.  dance music + snacks and i felt great.  john wears a fancy gps watch and was able to quantify the change from my "i think i need a hug" pace to my "this is so much fun!" pace.  it was significant.  fun pace is way more fun.  

dropping off the ridge was relatively easy on the knees, with lots of switchbacks taking the grade down a notch.  then a bit through the woods and we made it to our bikes.  after a short sit-down, we pedaled out to the highway and headed north.  construction cut down the biking portion, as we had to get in the pilot car.  i didn't mind so much.  the biking felt okay on my legs, but i really, really wanted a nap.  

if john wasn't motivated to get back, i would have been happy to spend another night at byers lake campground and do a (significantly) shorter run in the morning.  but he was, and it was pretty nice to have climbing partners wake me sunday morning for a day out at hatchers pass (which made for another great day, although i spent a fair amount of it napping in the sun).