Needing to recharge the soul, I headed out for a small adventure by running around Mt. St Helens this past Saturday. I hadn't completed this run in over 2 years. I tried 2 previous times. One attempt I just wasn't motivated to do it but found myself at the trailhead any ways (needless to say, I turned around after maybe 10 miles). The other time I found myself getting way behind schedule after becoming "lost", trying to find my way around 2 canyons that took me off the trail for extended periods of time.
Knowing now that the trail wasn't it great shape, I allotted significant amount of time to be able to complete the run (i.e. telling the wife that it could be an all day adventure). My previous record for the run was 6hrs 10min (it is estimated that the trail is ~50K in length). This was back in 2005 when I hadn't really trained for long runs.
I started from the Climbers Bivouac parking lot having to go ~2 miles to get to the Loowit Trail that circumnavigates the mountain. I again went clockwise around the mountain (for some reason, I've always gone this way). The 2 canyons that had detours were finally marked well enough that I wasn't having to search for the trail. Running through the blaze zone, I meandered a few times, searching for the trail, but having crossed it a few times in the past, it went rather quickly. I met 3 other ultra runners from the Portland area about a mile from Windy Pass. I recognized the "leader's" face - Steve -from other local races. Hope he reads this......would be nice to run have other running partners in the area.
From the top of Windy Pass through the Plains of Abraham, I ran all of the way. I passed 3 mountain bikers just before the trail to Ape Canyon. Looked like they were having a good time. The trail for there to the June Lake Trail juction, I ran much of the way albeit some of the steep canyons and lava fields.
The grunt from June Lake up to Monitor Ridge (where you obtain the trail that gets you to the Climbers Bivouac) was brutal. I was hot and getting a little tired. Once reaching the other trail, I ran the entire way to the Bivouac. Finishing time - 7hrs 48min. A new PR for me starting from the Bivouac and the new, added detours (i.e. mileage).
Sorry. No pics.