Monday, December 10, 2012

What NOT To Do On The Trail

Can I tell you what I DON'T want to do? I DON'T want to listen to any music by Celine Dion. I DON'T want to accidentally drop my phone on the floor of a truck stop bathroom. And I DON'T want to accidentally mis-step on a trail so steep that if you slip you end up looking like this (hopefully minus the tuxedo):

Last week I climbed to the top of Gooseberry Mesa. As mentioned, the trail going up is so steep (climbing more than a thousand feet in less than a mile) that it makes you cry for your mother. But the trip down is trickier because of the loose dirt and rocks that are begging to make you slip, and then mock you for looking like Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits (hopefully minus the tuxedo). Do. Not. Become. Jean. Claude. Van. Damme. On. The. Trail.

But if you can survive the death march to the top of Gooseberry Mesa, you are rewarded with some of the most spectacular views I've ever seen.

Gooseberry is one of my all-time favorite places to run. The trails are challenging so my pace usually isn't too speedy, but Gooseberry has a great mix of packed trails, sand, and slick rock.

And then every once in a while the trails pop out on to the edge of the mesa and it feels like you can see forever.

I shot this picture into the sunlight and it made the sky look like sunset. (That is one of my favorite photography tricks - shoot pictures into the sun.)

With wide expanses of slick rock it would be so easy to get lost up here. Fortunately there are white dots all along the way to keep you on track. It's like Hansel and Gretel went out with a can of white spray paint.

The best part of Gooseberry Mesa is The Point where many of the trails converge right on the edge of a cliff. This is around mile 23 of the Zion 100. Take my word for it that pictures don't do justice to this area.

The round trip took me 20 miles and left me itching to go back again. I will not be wearing a tuxedo.

On Saturday I took Jack out for six miles near Gould's Rim. (Jack ran 18 miles this week!) He looks like a black Brillo Pad with legs.

From the look of things, I'm sure Jack thought he had died and gone to heaven.

With a few mid-week runs I managed 38 miles for the week. Guess what - the medals for the Baker's Dozen Half Marathon have arrived for the race coming up on Saturday. I'm really happy with them. I think runners will be proud to wear them around their necks. Delicious. (Still a day or two to register at www.bakersdozenhalfmarathon.com.)

"For all the hardship, I was still excited to be on the trail, testing my endurance, feeling especially alive as strength and fatigue flowed alternately through my limbs." ~ Colin Powell

18 comments:

  1. Someday I'm going to run where you run. It's absolutely gorgeous and so different from where I run now. I SO wish that I was running your race. Every single update has been killing me! I'm just not there yet. Dang! Love the medals!

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    1. Someday I want to run up where you are. Not much green around here. (But thankfully no white - you can keep the snow.)

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  2. So who puts the white dots there?? Do they stay or do they wash away?

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    1. I'm not positively positive but I think a local trail group got permission from the BLM to spray paint the dots up there so people don't get lost. I heard they re-spray them every few years.

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  3. I am also curious about the white dots, how nice that they are there though. That dog does look very happy to be there.

    Love the medals. They kind of make me hungry though

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  4. It's time for Christmas and I need a new camera pronto! Please share a good model. Or even the kind you use that is a point and shoot. I don't need anything fancy. I know you've told me before but this time I will really pay attention and write it down because I am desperate.

    Is the top of Gooseberry where they used to test rocket launchers or something fast in the way long ago days of early 1900's ?? I recall my dad telling me a story of his uncle working up there.

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    1. I have a Panasonic Lumix (the model # is DMC-FH24). I like it a lot. Sometimes you can find one on sale at Best Buy or Costco.

      It's actually Smith Mesa where they used to test rocket launchers. They are very close to each other though and you get a great view of Smith Mesa on top of Gooseberry.

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    2. Super Swell Cory!! I have it written down now and will be doing some shopping and researching soon.

      I think I have a pretty good idea now of where some of those places you are climbing are at. Wowser!

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  5. A tuxedo tech shirt would be just the thing for your splits photos on top of the mesas.

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    1. Now that's funny. I'll put a tuxedo tech shirt on my Christmas list.

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  6. Jack's got to be one of the happiest dogs in the world. And possibly one of the fittest. I took Toby for a 4k walk last week and he was dragging his feet up the hills. I'll have to tell him about Jack and see if his competitive spirit helps him lift his game.

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  7. You really make me wish I could run in Southern Utah! So beautiful!

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  8. That whole splits thing makes me hurt just looking at it.

    Love the medal, very colorful!

    Beautiful scenery, but the Zion 100 must be a killer.

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  9. I'm super sad I'm not in the area and can't do the bakers dozen! Sounds like it's going to be a phenomenal race! Those medals look amazing, and let's face it, we remember how awesome the race was based on how awesome the medal is. (Okay not really, well, maybe a little.)

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  10. Amazing pictures Cory and Jack is seriously awesome. How cool that he is just jumping right into this running thing. I love it!

    Love the medals for the half and I am so sad I am going to miss out this weekend. I cannot wait to hear all about it.

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  11. You should try Red Mountain trail. Start up above Snow Canyon state park then end in Ivins. The map shows a trail but the trail ends about mile 7 or 8, so you will have to find your way along the slick rock and down washes. The last part of the trail is extreamly steep.

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  12. No splits for me, thank you! (Especially not in a tuxedo!) Jack has got to be one of the coolest dogs out there and one of the most thankful to have a master like you that loves to run. He looked so happy flying down the road! That's pretty sweet that they paint the dots for you so you don't get lost.

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