Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nabbing Hyndman Peak, Feeling Like a Trail Runner

Yesterday afternoon I set off for Hyndman Peak like a mafia informant being whisked away to the witness protection program.  It's been one of those weeks where it wasn't at all clear when or if I'd be able to get in a good run - between soccer coaching duties, regular weekend tasks, and a sickness running rampant through the household.  So when a window opened up unexpectedly in the late afternoon, I checked the weather forecast, packed up and was out the door in five minutes, speeding to the trailhead.

If you live in the Sun Valley area, Hyndman is one of the anchors of the landscape.  It's one of the small number of Idaho 12er's (elev 12,009) and the tallest peak in the close-in Pioneer range. It beckons.  Always.  Six miles trailhead to top, with about 5,000 feet of vert, there's a lot of steep hiking, including a talus scramble up the last 3/4 mile, but much of it is pretty runnable.  

I can't say exactly what it was about yesterday's outing - that I was feeling good, that the trail on the return was feeling soft and fast, that it was a windfall long run - but for the first time since my knee went south last winter, I felt like a trail runner.  I felt like myself.  It was a great afternoon.

Autumn hitting its stride
Looking at Hyndman from near the Pio Yurt
Heading up the Hyndman Basin, looking at Cobb Peak
Halfway up the talus scramble. Cobb Peak in background.
Looking back at the basin
From the top, looking down on Old Hyndman Peak (right) and Cooper Basin (left).


Middle-aged runner said...

Man, you live in paradise!

Gretchen said...

Right on, trail runner! You capture a beautiful feeling. Autumn is definitely the best time for running in the high-country, I'd say. Few things motivate like stolen moments on trail and the knowledge of inevitable, impending, inexorable winter storms.

Hank Dart said...

Thanks, Gretchen. It feels great to feel like a runner again, no matter where the knee takes me from here. And I definitely agree, Autumn is a special time in the mountains, however great summer is.

Middle-aged runner, I agree with you too and feel lucky to call the mountains home. I visited your blog; good luck on your Boston qualifier.