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alint3500
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PostTue Aug 23, 2011 7:42 pm 
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I have never before wrote about my running experiences but I thought this would be a good one to start with. The plan was to run the 93ish mile wonderland trail around the base of Mt. Rainier continuous and unsupported starting from the White River campground and traveling clockwise around the mountain. The snow melt in the mountains has been extremely slow this year so I had been going back and forth in the two weeks leading up to the run.  Ultimately I decide to give it a go, expecting 2 possible high problem areas.  One possible problem area would be getting through panhandle gap which I had read a trip report just 5 days before my run where two hikers turned around because they wrote it was to icy to get through the narrow gap.  The second problem area would be in the klapatche park area which I had read was still under a lot of snow and the trail was tough to follow.         

     I will start this trip report with the one setback which occurred the day before I left to run the trail on Saturday August 20th.  It was about 7:30PM and I had just got out of work at Fleet Feet Sports in Seattle and I drove to the Grocery outlet in the Central District to buy my food for the run.  When I got back to my car with my supplies I was feeling excited to get started the next morning.  Well my car decided it did not want to turn over so I was stuck in the parking lot of Grocery outlet losing precious time in which I had planned to get a bit extra sleep.  OK,  hear is a great reason to have  AAA. Once the AAA truck got there the driver spent about 10 minutes trying to find the problem as he seemed to be stumped about what was wrong, but he used some kind of online resource that searches for similar problems based on make and model and was able to find the answer.  When the AAA guy told me what had happened I thought to myself, you have got to be got to be kidding me.  I have never heard of this happening to anyone, but in my excitement to start running the next day it turns out I must have forced my key into the ignition to hard making my car think I was stealing it causing it to shut down systems which allow it to turn over.  The fix was easy enough as we just had to leave the car in what he called accessory position for 11 minutes and it started right up and I was on my way.
    Ok now to run, I arrived at the White River Campground at about 9:20AM on Sunday August 21st and began running around 9:30 AM.  I knew it would take a bit of time to get used to the 13 lbs of supplies on my back so I wanted to start off with a climb rather than a descent so I would not put unneeded stress on my quads right away which is why I started from White River instead of Sunrise which has a 2.6 mile decent right away. 

The climb up to Summerland camp was extremely relaxing and the scenery in the meadow was well worth the climb, so beautiful!  Next was the climb up and through panhandle gap, the highest point of the trail at 6,800ft.  I had read that the gap was very icy and brought a 9 inch screwdriver along with me in case I needed to use it to dig into the ice for extra grip.  An ice axe would be ideal for these situations, but I was not into carrying the extra weight on my back for 93 miles. As it turned out my plan to hit the gap after the sun had been out for a few hours worked well as the snow was softened enough that I was able to easily maneuver through the gap and the surrounding areas where snow had covered the trail.

The decent to Indian Bar camp was breathtaking.  Here I got my first view of the many waterfalls and deep gorgeous valleys that would be all over this trail.  From Indian Bar bar to Box canyon was some nice back-country running.  There was some snow for about a mile or two soon after leaving Indian bar, but even that area was runable.

From Box canyon where a speedy river had cut a huge gorge into the mountain I climbed up to Paradise, the main tourist area for Mt. Rainier in the summer.  It took me a few minutes to find the trail at box canyon but the 7ish mile climb had some nice waterfalls and seemed to parallel the road up to the resort area.  Running trough Paradise and to longmire camp was the easiest part of the trail as the trails were plush and super well maintained.  After missing the turn and running into longmire camp I asked a park ranger where the trail went and he immediately directed me to turn around and re merge with the trail just .2 miles in reverse.

I ran the first 2 miles of the ensuing climb with a British fellow who was on vacation with his family.  It was nice to chat with someone as I would be spending a lot of time alone on this run.  He was impressed with the mountains in Washington state, b/f Mt. Rainier he had been on the Olympic peninsula.  If I did the conversion from meters to feet right he said the highest mountain in Britain was like 4,500 ft. Once my new friend turned back toward longmire I put it in cruise control for the next 3.5 hours until it got dark.  During this time I passed more awesome waterfalls, a mountain meadow just passed devils dream camp that gave me a feeling of happiness for which I have no real explanation for but it was sublime, and got the opportunity to cross a suspension bridge for the first time which was a bit scary for the first few steps as the bridge swayed a bit back and forth and it was a long way down to the river below.  I watched the sun set as I descended from emerald ridge which was a perfect place for it as it had a super nice view on the surrounding glacial cut valleys. 

The overnight section was very tough on me.  To sum it up I spent a good bit of extra time wondering around snow covered trail trying to find the correct route in the klapatche park area and also experienced a great deal of fatigue associated with my body wanting to go to bed, at one point I fell off the trail and rolled about 10 feet wile climbing up to the golden lakes and decided I would just go with it and rest in that very spot for about 20 minutes.  I only covered 13 miles in 9 hours when it was dark outside. 

The good part about covering such a short distance overnight is that I did not miss very much of  trails amazing scenery due to darkness.  When the sun rose I was again in the perfect spot, on an open ridge just passed the golden lakes.  It is such a treat when these things happen unplanned.  The sun gave me a nice energy burst as I was able to descend to the South Mowich River and up to Mowich lake like I had fresh legs.

I met a woman at Mowich lake who approached me wile I was eating my second breakfast interested in what I was up to. When she learned that I ran super long distances she asked me if I was a vegan.  She said that one of her friends who ran ultra marathons only ate carbohydrates. The thought that immediately came to mind was, "ma'am I am 70 miles into this run, I could eat the hide off a dead animal right now", however I chose to answer with a simple no I eat some meat." 

After 1.5 miles of easy running I came to Ipsut pass and upon passing through saw the fog that had filled the carbon river valley.  The descent from here was intense at first but it allowed me to immediately pass through the fog and get a clear view of a huge waterfall coming down from Mother Mountain.  Once to the bottom of the valley I ran along the carbon river for 2ish miles and then took a short detour around a closed section of trail that added about 1/2 mile to the route.  The smell of the carbon river was kind of like a basement soon after it has been cleaned. 

Next began an intense 4ish mile climb up to Mystic Lake.   This is where I began to feel the distance that I had put on my legs as it felt like an 8 mile climb.  Since my fast twitch muscle fibers were still fresh I decide to do 30 second intervals (sprints) with a one minute break in between just to get my ass to the top of this climb.  The only thing that made the fatigue ok was along the way I got a spectacular view of the carbon glacier, and passed through another heavenly meadow with an awesome view of the summit of Rainier.

Once I left the mystic lake area I must admit I went into completion mode and just gut it out for the next 6 miles.  All I remember from this section is that I went downhill for a wile, crossed a river, then went uphill for a super long wile and ended up reaching tree line where I realized I was only 5 miles from being done.

From here I revived and ran along an open ridge for a short distance where I could see all of the mountains and valleys I had passed through all the way back to Mowich lake.  There is something I have always loved about looking back and reflecting on the mountains I have crossed during a run. 

From here I went through a narrow pass where it opened up to yet another breathtaking view of an open valley near sunrise.  I cruised the next 2.5 miles into the sunrise area where I saw a bunch of day hikers enjoying the scenery and sunny weather.  All that was left was an easy descent for the last 2.6 miles back to my car at the White River Campground which I savored every step of the way.

The total trip took me 30 hours and 30 minutes. I got off the mountain just in time as the sun went away as soon as I finished and it was raining by the time I drove through Enumclaw.  What an experience and what a great night of sleep I got after getting back to Seattle!       

Just for fun, here is the food I ate along the way.  It is to say the least hilarious, well at least to me.  I ate so much my mouth was chaffed from it. 

30 pop tarts
1.5 lbs cheese its
1lb crackers
3/4 lb skittles
6 energy gels

Thats like 13,000ish calories!
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Phil
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PostTue Aug 23, 2011 7:44 pm 
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alint3500 wrote:
I ate so much my mouth was chaffed from it

lol.gif

Badass TR, well done.  Hope to read more like it from u.  Hope to do  something like that myself some day
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bobbi
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PostTue Aug 23, 2011 8:07 pm 
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fantastic! congratulations!  love your choice of caloric counters!

on day 2 between box canyon and the cowlitz divide, we met a couple of trail runners.  they were headed clockwise to our counter.

anyway, they were planning on completing the trail in about 26-28 hours.  wonder if they did it!

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"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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yaki
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PostTue Aug 23, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Amazing! Congratulations on a job very well done!
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anyludes
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PostWed Aug 24, 2011 10:41 pm 
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Impressive!

You don't happen to drive a Dodge/Chrysler do you? If you do, you may have solved a problem I have had for a while...

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kbatku
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PostWed Aug 24, 2011 11:16 pm 
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Awesome TR - many thanks. Just out of curiosity, what did you do about water? camelback I assume - how did you/did you purify it? How much do you think you drank?
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Bedivere
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PostThu Aug 25, 2011 12:41 am 
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Good grief, nearly 30 hours of continuous running?!?!?

You sir are an animal!   borank.gif

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Magellan
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PostThu Aug 25, 2011 5:19 am 
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That is an amazing accomplishment.  up.gif  up.gif  Congratulations!  I am curious about the food.  It seems counter intuitive for a person of your fitness level to be eating poptarts and such.  Any thoughts on how you picked these foods? You are right in that it does seem like a lot to eat in 30 hours.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostThu Aug 25, 2011 6:40 am 
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Welcome to the site, and yes an awesome accomplishment to be sure.

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silence
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PostThu Aug 25, 2011 6:56 am 
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great time under the current conditions .. even though not the record (as you must know) you certainly deserve a huge hand for a major accomplishment ... you guys always amaze me ... i have much respect for your endurance and stamina ..

btw .. i was told by other trail runners that the park frowns on this .. so they like to keep a low profile ... just saying

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DIYSteve
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seeking hygge
PostThu Aug 25, 2011 10:30 am 
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up.gif  Are you a member of the local ultrarunning community?

True, the park does not encourage running the WT, although people have been doing it for years, usually with one or two car camps.
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nuclear_eggset
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PostThu Aug 25, 2011 11:10 am 
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Wow!  I'm not sure whether to be inspired, or just tired!
Congrats on making it through such a big challenge, and in style.  (Ok, maybe not on the food front.  lol.gif )
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wamtngal
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PostThu Aug 25, 2011 7:37 pm 
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up.gif Nice!

Sounds like this was your first Wonderland run, right? What other ultras like this have you done?

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oregoncrna
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PostSun Sep 04, 2011 6:29 am 
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Very nice job!
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Mark Griffith
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PostSun Sep 04, 2011 7:06 am 
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up.gif Well done!
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