Monday, August 16, 2010

Media Wire: Injury? What Injury? - We All Just Want to Run

As a medical writer, I've gnashed my teeth many times reading Gina Kolata's health pieces in the New York Times, but I have to say I almost always enjoy it when she writes about her passion for running.  And today was no exception as she wrote about the non-sequitur most folks and most MD's see when a runner experiences repeat major injuries but still feels the need to run.

It's a nice, little piece that will speak to most of us who've been told by weary doctors (and family, friends, and the neighbors two doors down) that it just may be time to hang up the La Sportivas.  But like hopeless romantics or deluded ultra-runners, we keep the faith that things will eventually turn around, and even if we can't get back to 100 mile weeks, at least we get to lace up and feel the earth moving quickly under our feet.

Story: When Repeat Injuries Can't Dim a Runner's Passion

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cracking Open the Eastern Pioneers

I've lived in the Wood River Valley for a little over five years now and, sad to say, before this weekend hadn't made the relatively short trip over the Trail Creek dirt road pass to explore the Eastern Pioneer Mountains.  For being so close to the Sun Valley area, just 20 - 30 miles, it offers some of the most remote and spectacular trails the area has to offer.  And save a few select hot spots, it's hard to tell the difference between rush hour and non-rush hour trail traffic, it's typically so quiet.

And this is exactly what I found when I stole away for a couple hours during a family camping trip this weekend to Wildhorse Creek for a trip up to Boulder Lake - a modest, 8 mile (2,300 feet vert) run.  It's an out-and-back, with a loop option to Devils Bedstead only if you have your climbing gear, and it offers a great variety of terrain - steep climbs punctuated by Alpine meadows and mellow ascents, and a quarter mile scree scramble to the lake itself, which sits against near-vertical rock walls.

It was great to finally break the seal on this area of trail.  Like a new convert, I feel drunk with the possibilities but sobered by the press of summer's short play now that I know what I've been missing.

Some photos.

Trailhead.  About 5.5 miles out Wildhorse Creek Rd.
Opening steps - through the creek (no logs or bridge) and a sage meadow
Steep switchbacks with some great views
Open meadow at 9,200 feet.  Getting close to the scree and the lake

Boulder Lake
Back down, near trailhead.  Hyndman and Old Hyndman peaks in the distance

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Photo Guide to Sun Valley Runs: Johnstone Creek/Hyndman Creek Loop (Pio Cabin Alternate)

This is the run the Sun Valley locals hit when they're jonesing for a trip to Pioneer Cabin but want to avoid the crush of tourist traffic that can make an outing to the popular destination more travail than treat mid Summer.  It's about 3 - 4 miles longer than the standard routes up to the cabin (detailed here), with a little more vert and a lot more technical trail.  But the payoff in views of the Pioneers and solitude on the run make it well worth it.

The Hyndman Creek trailhead and Johnstone creek trailhead are about a mile apart via dirt road.  I prefer to run the loop clockwise and start at the Hyndman Creek trailhead, which means you start the run backtracking on foot down the dirt road to the Johnstone Creek trail.  But, it's nice to get this over with first, since it's the least rustic mile of the loop.  For directions to the Hyndman Creek trailhead, visit SummitPost.   This link is for the hike to Hyndman Peak (also a great outing, previous post), which shares the same lot.

For a run that's not that far off the beaten path, this one up Johnstone Creek trail is one to put toward the top of the list, if only for the stunning views of the timeless-feeling Pioneers.

A two minute photo guide -

Photo Guide to Sun Valley Runs: Johnstone Creek - Hyndman Creek Loop (Pio Cabin Alternate) from Run Junkie on Vimeo.