I got an early 6:30 AM start from the trail head at Buck Creek off Hwy 410 near Crystal Mountain Ski Resort. It's been a year since I have run the trail so I brought along a photocopy of the Trail Running Guide to Western Washington for the Camp Sheppard-Forrest Shelter Loop. I'm really glad I brought those instructions because while I made a couple of wrong turns I was able to quickly recover without wandering too far from the desired trail.
This course climbs over 3000 feet in elevation combined with the Corral Pass out and back from the shelter. Climb is the word of the day! Good thing all my Mt. training has my Mt. goat climbing honed so I don't get too tired on these steady drudges up the hills.
Check out the staircase in the slide show below. Up up and away!
Had to deal with a number of blow downs across the trail. Ended up not being able to make it all the way to Corral Pass due to heavy snow on the trail at the upper sections. I probably could have made it but being solo I didn't want to risk a slip or post-hole and hurt myself. I did some exploring on the trails on the upper section above the shelter and got a few extra miles in.
The final section of trail from the shelter down is about 5 miles of down hill switchback and traverse. It's a great section to strengthen up your quads.
I felt great at the finish of the run and even considered starting the climb for the second half of the race. Instead I headed down to the river for a brief soak of the legs and headed to the small town of Greenwater for a burger and fries.
I hope all of you had a great weekend! Tomorrow I'll be riding my Mt. Bike and supporting Michelle at the Rattlesnake Lake Marathon.
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