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Sep 22, 2014

A weekend of running!!!!

This weekend was an epic weekend of running for me.  I ran over 31 miles on the trails this weekend including a 20 mile run on the Jordan River Valley Trail.  One of my running buddies, Dave and I, went up to my cottage on Friday for a weekend of running.  It rained the entire weekend, with one exception ---- WHEN WE RAN!  Seriously, we ran for 6.5 hours this weekend and we didn't get rained on.  Our shoes were definitely wet but that was it!  It was awesome!

First up was a 20 miler on the Jordan River Valley Trail.  This is excellent training grounds for any trail race.  It's my favorite trail and also the hardest trail I've ever run.  Take a look:
Jordan River Valley Trail
Jordan River Valley Elevation - over 2,534 of gain!
That elevation was a killer but it also meant that we got some pretty spectacular views along the way. We started off by taking a huge drop to the valley.  As you can see below, the fog was hanging around still when we got there which made for a great picture with that in the background.

Later, we made our way to the river.  This is only about 5-6 miles into the run and it's one of the best parts of the trail.  Very scenic.
One the Jordan River
Of course, there is nothing like being up high and our reward for running that huge elevation was that we ended up at the top of the trees.  It's cool to see eye to eye with the tops of trees.

As we ran even further, below is one of the higher places on the trail and you can see that, while it's early in the season, the fall colors are already starting to show through.  It was beautiful even though the sun was not out.  We were almost to the Pinney Bridge Campground(8 miles into the run)

The rest of the trail is new to me since I've not made the entire loop before but figured it was a good time to try and nice to have Dave there with me running it.  We saw this sign.  With the North Country trail being 4,600 miles long, this is the only point on the North Country trail where it crosses the 45th parallel.  Very cool!

As we continued the loop, we got to run along many streams along the way spilling into the river. This is another part of the river but at a higher elevation.  It was also another highlight of the run.

As we got to the top on the Jordan River Valley Trail(and off the North Country Trail), there was another lookout point called Landslide Overlook.  It was really high up with some great views.  This part of the trail was also the hardest elevation change and it made it even harder since we had run 12 miles already!
Landslide overlook
Jordan River National Fish Hatchery

Since we were getting tired, and were at 15 miles, we took a little detour(shown above), and ran to the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery where we got a special tour of the workers tagging all the fish - all 2.4 million of them!  It was a cool process and you can see all the pools below where the fish are stored until they are large enough to transport out into the lakes.  This also gave us an extra two miles of running to help get us to 20 total miles.

The above picture of the road is the hilly road down to the hatchery which also had some crazy elevation since it was located back down in the valley.  That made for another fun hill to go back up.

We finally ended back up right where we started which was Deadman's Hill.  It was a fantastic day for a run.
Overlooking Deadman's Hill at the end of 20 miles of running
The following day we followed up our 20 miler with an 11 mile run on another part of the North Country trail.  I didn't take any pictures of it this time but here are a few of the trail when I was out there earlier in the Summer.

Here's a look at the map as we ran an out and back on this part of the trail today.  The trail here is much flatter than the day before but still gave us over 265 foot of elevation gain.
A section of the North Country Trail
265 Foot of elevation gain on an out and back run
Before we got on the trail, the parking lot is about 1/2 mile from the trail so we ran to the trail.  This is the start of the trail.  Because it was raining much of the evening before and this morning, the trail was very soft which made for a nice run.

The great thing about the North Country Trail is how diverse it is even when you are running in the same area.  Below it shows how tight some of the trail got.  Of course, it's single track but the bush is grown over.  Adding another element to our run, there were tons of tree branches down and none of the footing was flat.  Even though the elevation was lower, it was still a difficult trail to run.

As we got to this part, the ferns were not as green as below but they were still burying the trail.  They were also soaking wet which made our shorts wet as well as our feet were soaked too.  In fact, we pretty much ran in wet shoes much of both runs this weekend.
 The pines area are one of my favorite parts of this trail and we had another success full run.

With that, it's a rest day for me today and running 31 miles was great training for Oil Creek 50k in October.  I can't wait!!!

Have a great day and....Keep running!!!!