Sunday, April 27, 2014

Going there

Photo by Erin Donnelly 

The mountains for me are like good wine    or a fine kiss, one tends to want more after a taste. Alluring, intoxicating, can blur your reason and stir on courage where dumb risks potentially result in injury to body, to pride. The mountain teases or can plainly break your heart with lingering abstinence. All day, every day my mind wanders off to twisty trails, what lays past this next berm? I can almost smell wet dirt until the foggy air cools with promises to uncover a grand plateau or an imposing snowbowl. I yearn in spirit until I can at last go there.

Clean shoes 'in waiting' on the dryer

Less daydreaming, more doing

The ache of longing soon turns to anticipation as the work day ends and I can finally jet off to the North Shore. During the evening runs, my imagination cranks-up with talk of adventure plans for the weekend with my companions. I might just burst. 

Wednesday. In the company of like-minded.
The iRunAmok relay team for Trailstoke

Wednesday. Flint & Feather on Grouse with Aran and Graham

Hazards for the curious

The main adventure of the weekend was an attempt up Coliseum on Saturday. We were aware of the hazardous conditions with heavy wet snow covering very steep gnarly terrain. Also there was a threat of fickle weather, which can kill you or ruin the day if unprepared or neglect to reassess with your trail-mates as the run progresses. It's important to 'check-in' during group runs, see how all are doing.

Saturday. Poised to move light and fast

Four of us set out that morning: Shauna Connaughton, Erin Donnelly, myself, and Spring McClurg. We wore running shoes and packed the usual long-run staples such as fuel, extra layers and safety gear. 

Saturday. Shaking out the legs and adjusting gear
before the trailhead toward Norvan Falls

Some had brought microspikes though later proved unnecessary, as the snow was mostly deep slush, and best to just step and glide. We had water for approx 4 1/2 hours and the determining factor for our turnaround point.

Saturday. 700ft root gnarl ascent below the snow line 

Saturday. Cresting to a wet slop snowbowl.
Using toes and fingers as snow-picks for purchase up to 'false summit'

Here’s a summary written by Spring: “We climbed for about 1/2hr before we hit the snow line, and when we did it didn’t let up. Following some old tracks from previous visitors, made for easier travel, but there was still some serious postholing. We slipped and slid our way through the forest and up towards the ridge. On top of the ridge we decided to call it our 'summit' and turn around. After a quick group shot we made quick work of the descent and enjoyed a fast paced run once back on the snow free trail. The total for the day was about 27km with 1100m of elevation thrown in for good measure.”

Saturday. We didn't linger, swirled in mist on a hesitant clearing

The descent took its toll, my legs were ugly beat-up the next day from postholing. So, I changed my Sunday plans from running the 5peaks’s Golden Ears course orientation (organized by the RD Solana Klassen and Jude Ultraa –thank you!) to staying local for a super fun 2hr recovery run on my favourite trails with Graham Snowden, Jackie Muir and Ashley Wiles.


Sunday. Bridal, Powerline, Forever After, Mushroom,
Ned's Atomix Dustbin, Bottletop, and so on

Sunday. Graham not having any fun on Forever After

A few more pics on Instagram.

Next up: Special posts on Athlete’s Corner, and I’m thinking HSB up Black Mnt to Cleveland Dam on Saturday as a point-to-point.

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