Earlier this year, Heather had one of those milestone birthdays (40) which definitely needed celebrating. On her actual birthday, we went for a lovely trail run along the Ridgeline Trail System, that was complete with birthday crowns and randomly placed wood chip hearts (which were a total surprise to all of us, but a nice birthday touch nonetheless)...
|the birthday girl (caught slightly unaware)|
|Heather, Leslie, Marci|
|Heather & me|
Thursday, July 10th, Leslie picked us up when she got off work, brought us some Cafe Yumm! (mmm, yummy!) for fuel and we headed south. Our first stop was in Merlin at Orange Torpedo Trips, where we dropped off an extra key to Leslie's car. (During our planning deliberations, we had decided that having the rafting company shuttle our car from the start of our run to the finish was our best option.) Then we went a little further down the road to Galice where we spent the night before our trip began in a cute little cottage at Galice Resort.
There was even this adorable little stuffed squirrel that was literally begging to come along on our adventure...
Anyway, we spent some time Thursday night getting everything laid out for Friday's running, tweaked our fueling plan a bit, discussed our plans for departure and turned out the lights. I don't remember sleeping, but I'm sure I did. Before we knew it though, it was time to be up and heading out the door. The excitement and nervous energy was almost palpable.
Friday, July 11th... Day 1 Plan: Grave Creek to Paradise Lodge 27+ miles
|blurry pic of the blurry eyed runners, Heather, Leslie, Me|
up, up, up...
A quick look back at what we left behind...
and our first official sighting of poison oak.
We only had 2 big fears on this adventure... poison oak and bears. We saw lots of poison oak, but luckily no bears. (Heather did have bear spray just in case.)
The Whisky Creek Cabin was a short distance off the trail and very much worth the trek. There wasn't a whole lot to see, but it was still awesome to look at and think about what it would've been like to live there.
Most of the run we were pretty high above the river but there were lots of creek crossings...all of which were beautiful and serene.
|"Ditch Creek" had been slightly altered.|
|Can you see the face?|
With a little over half of our first day's mileage completed and nice river access, we decided it was a good time to get up close and personal with the Rogue River. Heather chose to soak her legs on the shore, but Leslie did end up joining me for a swim...it felt amazing!
|this picture was taken before any skinny dipping might have occurred...it was 'girls gone rogue' after all|
We passed Marial Lodge, which was were we had originally planned to stay and I have to say that it wasn't very impressive. Although I would've been happy to be done running for the day, I was even happier to go a few more miles and have less distance to cover on day 2.
The last couple of miles before we got to Paradise Lodge were quite exposed and very hot but also breathtaking. Every turn we took had us wanting to stop and take more pictures. It was amazing!
followed by dinner that consisted of chicken and ribs, broccoli, rice, salad and delicious bread and butter.
We were so hungry that it could've been a less appealing dinner and still been incredibly tasty. They also gave us some sort of fruit cobbler dessert that was pretty good as well. After dinner we headed back to our cabin were we briefly contemplated playing a game or something but instead talked for a bit before completely passing out.
Day 1 Stats:
5:49:20 total time
12:51 avg pace
6,987 feet elevation gain
7,328 feet elevation loss
To be continued...