Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trail Tuesday

Last week I decided I needed a full day of running to myself for two reasons; 1- I needed the miles as a last long run before my 100 miler in 2.5 weeks, 2- I just needed a day to myself. I set my sights on the trail system in Draper/Corner Canyon as I knew there would be more then enough real estate to meet my needs. I had no planned route nor a desire to find one. I just wanted to park my car in a centrally located position to use as an aid stop.

I arrived at my home base, Red Rock Trailhead at 6:30am and was out of the car and on the trail within minutes. I started by running east on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BoSho) all the way to Corner Canyon Road. I had passed several mountain bikers along the way and one trail runner. We bid each other hello and continued on. It's nice to see how active the area is that time of the morning on a weekday. I then went up Corner Canyon Rd all the way to the top at the Clark's Trailhead. Instead of turning down the trail I took a left up into the dirt road system of Jacob's Ladder. I crested two small hills and took a short break as I took in the views of Lone Peak and Timpanogos. I had been running for just over an hour, had gone just over six miles, and gained more than 1600 vertical feet.

Looking up towards Lone Peak
Utah Valley

I continued east for another quarter mile then turned south down into a ravine with a very rugged dirt road in it. I knew this road would take my all the way to the bottom of Hog Hollow. It was really beautiful along this part of the course; the birds singing and fresh leaves on the trees.

Once down by Hog Hollow I took a wrong turn, but quickly corrected myself and headed up the appropriate road. There are roads and trails everywhere and it is pretty easy to get away from your intended course. Once in Hog Hollow however I had no problems getting all the way back up to the ridge. The road/trail is very runnable even though it is rocky near the top. I was amazed at where it let out and was very happy to find myself right back at the top of the Clark's trail. I chose to head west towards Suncrest and View Benchmark Peak. Normally I just run the dirt road over to the paved road, but last week I spied a possible trail that would take me further into town without having to run on pavement. A couple of the hills were a little steeper and I chose to walk them to conserve energy. The trail was awesome and dropped me off very near the crossroads. From there I continued on pavement up to the View Benchmark trailhead. I took a short break to fix my shoe laces and then hiked/ran to the summit. I couldn't believe how perfect the weather was. I could see down into both Salt Lake and Utah counties.

Timp in the background.

My legs were already getting tired and I was only 16.5 miles in. Last week's climbfest had really taken it's tool. I was in good spirits though, had plenty of energy, and looked forward to the technical trail down to South Mountain, a trail I've run several times. The steep downhill section I refer to as "The Wild Mouse" as it reminds me of the Lagoon roller coaster, constantly giving you this feeling you are out of control. Once I got to South Mountain I could choose to go down the steep ridge back to the car or continue over the summit ridgeline to the base on the west side. I chose the harder route. The climbs along the ridge are brutal, but I took it really easy and felt ok. Then the nasty downhill begins. It is REALLY steep and loose. I got several rocks in my shoes that had to be removed when I hit the bottom. In the picture below you can see how steep the trail is.

From that point back to the car is a very casual run along the BoSho. There are no really significant hills, but the heat was bearing down a bit and I needed to refill my water. My legs were also pretty tired from the pounding downhill. I was ready to sit and eat something normal. I got back to the car at 4 hrs 30 min with exactly 22 miles of running. 

When I was at the trailhead of View Benchmark I had spied a new trail to the south I wanted to try, so leaving the car I headed up towards the new trail near the downhill mountain bike trail. The first part of the trail is gone due to construction of a new water tower, so I had to bushwack up the steep hill. It really sucked some of the energy out of my legs. I was able to run the next mile of uphill, but then had to walk/run the next half mile until I hit the steeper section. From there it was just a slog through the switchbacks to the top. I made my way to the trailhead of the new trail I wanted to hit and started down. It was here that I put my headphones in for the first time after 5.5 hours of running. That trail was pretty cool. It winds down through the ravine to a dirt road that links into a small housing community on the south of View Benchmark. As I ran through the neighborhood I said hello to people watering their lawns and then continued down Suncrest Rd until I found another dirt road that would link me back over to Hog Hollow. 

Now going up Hog Hollow for a second time I wasn't nearly as spry as my first go. I was able to run about half a mile of it then had to slow to a walk for the rest. It was very hot and I was low on energy even though I had been fueling and taking salt. As soon as I got back to the top, however, I pushed back into a trot and made my way towards the Canyon Hollow trail, absolutely favorite trail in that whole area. It is so green and beautiful and the trail is so moderate that even on tired legs I was able to cruise at an 8 min pace. I forked over to Ghost Falls, stripped off my running vest and Ipod (which I had turned off a while back) and sat my hot, sweaty butt right down in the middle of the pool. Ah, it was so nice to soak my tired legs. I had been running for over 7 hours and more than 33 miles. I sat for about 5 min before getting out. I then refilled my water reservoir in the falls and took off back towards the BoSho. 

Looking back at Ghost Falls. I took this while standing in the water.

I only had 3 miles left, but I had just taken my last bit of fuel and was very low on energy. I had to walk every hill, but could still run the flats and downhill. I got back to the car in 7:56:18 and 36.25 miles with 7000 ft of vert. It didn't get as many miles as I wanted, but the tough vert made up for it and I had an amazing time running such beautiful trails. I really felt like I had that whole mountain to myself. What a day.

Summiting View Benchmark


Enoch Davies said...

I rode the clark's trail in corner canyon last night on my mountain bike. That trail system is so busy. I guess everyone is waiting for the other options to dry out. You should head up to Kimbal Junction sometime, there are some beautiful trails up there that would be fun to run, more fun to bike but... you could run them. I really enjoy the flying dog trail.

jun said...

I'll have to check those out. Are those trails listed on

Lily said...

You're the man!

Matt said...

Great report & pics - fun to read the report and follow your Garmin trail.

Enoch Davies said... has the trail I mentioned. There are probably a lot more.

Josh said...

Beautiful pics man! I need to get up there and check out the greenery... Everything was still completely dead when I was up there last.

TheHeapsToe said...

You gotta show me this trail when I get back to Utah. I'll be a little out of shape, but when I get there again I need trails like this. I will doing boot camp this Fall, so I might not get to run much with you guys till there's snow again, but I think doing some snow runs would be fun, as long as I get myself some gaiters.

Did you use GPS on this one? If so, can you post that info so I can see it? or is it over on dailymile?