Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eagle Creek 18 miles

Current Mile total: 128 miles

"Hardcore. I like it."

That's the greeting I got while passing a hiker while running Eagle Creek.
Let's face it, that's a big reason why we do this. Because it's hardcore. Because it's impressive and we get the bragging rights. No? Come on, admit it ultra runners. We like the idea that we're doing something that most people think is insanely tough. It certainly doesn't make me feel bad about myself when I get a comment like that. No worries. I'll trip and fall a few feet later and my ego will be humbled right back to reality.

And it's only part of why I like ultra running. The big reason I keep coming back is not for the glory of it. It's for days like today. Today's run was Awe....some. I'm talking a Chris Farley and David Spade, a deer just completely destroyed your 1967 fully restored Plymouth GTX convertible, level of awesome. Eagle Creek is a never ending scenic route that continues to raise the ante as the miles add up.

You start out at where the river is flat, right off the highway, then work your way up. Admittedly this is not a tough trail to run. And at first it's heavily trafficked which is understandable. Anybody whose not at Multnomah Falls is going to be here.

The trail is essentially a ledge that clings to the side of a ravine that has been carved out by the creek. The further you get up into it the deeper the ravine seems to get. There are a couple bridges that move you from one side of the ravine to the other but for the magority of the trail you're on the eastern side of the creek.

As I said, the trail is heavily trafficked. There were lots of boy scouts in seperate groups headed up for a night of camping. Those poor kids were lugging large backpacks and it mad me think that although I was srunning, I was the lucky one. There were also people carrying kayaks up the trail so that they could ride the rapids down.

Many times on the trail the ravine rises above you and you get water that drips down over you. Not quite a waterfall but it was a nice effect. There were also places that were so narrow and high up that there needed to be a safety rail to hold onto. It was made out of very thick steel cable that was bolted right into the rock face. Of course running didn't really allow for holding it. As I passed these part I just kept thinking about my tendency to trip all the time. Doing that here would most likely result in death.

Eventually I came upon punchbowl falls and which was beautiful but I passed it up without taking pictures as I wanted to focus on the workout.

The real sight to see was about 6 miles out. What a sight it was. Tunnel Falls. You come around a corner and suddenly you see ahead of you a 175 ft tall falls. It's so pretty but then you realize the best part. The trail you're running is going to go right under it. Not only under it, but you have to go through a cave. I was grinning ear to ear as I ran through this but still I waited to take my pictures.

Next sight was Twister Falls. The name makes sense when you look down the shoot and see how the was twists down the falls. This was the last real good sight to see and the creek slowed down and the trail got more dense. Eventually I came to the intersection of Eagle Creek and Tanner. I made the mistake of trying Tanner and will not be making that again. The trail just got too overgrown. So much so that I was concerned that Hansel may have to leave some breadcrumbs to find his way back. And for the life of me, I almost did.

As I was pushing aside a downed tree it swung back and brushed my head. I heard it hit my hearing aid and my heart stopped. I raised my hand and felt for it. Nothing. My heart dropped out of my chest. I was now thinking, did I just lose it or has it been gone for a while. As calmly as I could, I walked back over to the suspect branch thinking of the $3000 bill I'd have if I didn't find it. I can't imagine what the odds of me finding it were but within 15 secs I spotted it and sighed a breath of relief. I put the baha in my pocket and zipped it up. I think I'll not be running with this is the future. So on I went through the brush, over a couple streams until I came upon a third that seemed too risky to pass. For the second week in a row I was forced to turn around by mother nature. But it was best as the run went just as long as I wanted and I was sufficiently wasted upon the finish.

Overall the run was great. I ran really well, the weather was great and I got another 18 mile sunder my belt.

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