Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Running the Wedge

By MattW

With Presidents Day fast approaching, it reminded me that it was on Presidents Day last year that a small group of us had run "The Wedge" - officially known as the Good Water Rim Trail of the Little Grand Canyon in central Utah. This recollection brought back fond memories of last years run, and I was determined to see if we could get a crew to make it an annual trip and going again. I tossed the invite out to the universe, and by Saturday morning we had a crew of 7 piling into the "ultravan" at 5am and heading south.

The main appeal of this trip was the hope that with all of the cold temps, snow and inversion that we had been experiencing in the Salt Lake Valley, that this run might provide us with some sunshine, fresh air and hopefully...dirt. Yes dirt. It's incredible how much your feet miss the sound (or lack thereof) and feel of nice firm ground beneath them. Even with the heavier winter storms we'd had this year, we still maintained hope that the trail would be clear and free of all the white stuff.

As we got closer and closer however,  the snow on the ground did not seem to diminish (unlike our hopes). Gratefully though, the sun was shining, the view at the start was still spectacular as ever; we were not to be deterred. After dropping some food at the cache, we suited up, snapped some photos, and headed out!

Davy, Craig, Aaron, Matt, Rob, Sam - Photo by Scott
The first mile or so is on the dirt road, which was just great. It wasn't long though, before we were crunching through crusty, deep snow. We still had fun messing around and taking in the views, but after 4 or 5 miles of slogging through the snow, we decided to loop back towards the road and try for some dry stuff.

Heading for dry ground

In a matter of only a few miles, we were at our turnaround point at what should have been mile 15.5. Taking the road we were at about mile 8. The ground was dry just along the ridge, so we ran on that as far as we could, having a grand ol' time running on the rocks, jumping the cracks and enjoying the day.

We ran some more down the road, until there wasn't any more of it, and then went back the way we came, stopping at our cache at mile 18 for a lunch stop.

Lunchtime! Scott had quite the picnic basket.
Sam, Rob, Matt, Craig, Scott - Photo by Aaron
After our quick lunch we headed up the hill and back to the car, hitting just shy of mile 20. We ran west now along the ridge for a couple more miles, until we again ran out of trail, and then back it was to the car. From there it was back on the road, with Scott, Rob and Sam planning to run it straight out until 31, and a few of us ran down the road, planning to turn back (Craig was really itching to set up a high line). Davy hung around on the rim and ran a meandering loop route. 
Aaron and I ran together down the hill, he was now past is longest run ever, and wanted to get over a marathon before calling it a day, so we ran until we'd hit that mark and turned around to run back up the hill towards the car. Craig was running back at the same time, so I ran back to the car with him, then the three of us ran the half mile or so out the the overlook and back, and called it good!

Scott and Rob getting it done
Aaron and Craig went about setting up the high line, while I hopped in the ultravan and headed out to pick up the rest of the boys. I caught them with a mile to go, and was able to watch them finish their 50K strong. Back at the wedge Craig and Aaron had the high line set up and Craig was finishing his first walk - not bad for just having run 30 miles! Craig made a couple more trips across and we decided to head on out, wrapping up another unexpected, but totally successful day of running!

MattVH was busy crushing the Red Hot 50K in Moab and wasn't able to join us this time around. Looking forward to his race review here.

Hanging out after a good day of running
Craig, Sam, Matt, Rob, Scott

Aaron doing some 'Hanging'


Josh Greenwell said...

Bummed I couldn't join you guys. Looks like ya had a blast out there!

Warlord Blade said...

That was a fantastic day! I know I look forward to more adventures!

Sam said...

I love how in the "heading for dry ground" photo we all seem to be locked in the same pose. At least we have good form.