Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wet Run on the Island

I originally wasn't going to do an outside run last Sunday, but a couple of fellow crazy runners wanted to go run on the island, so out I went. The day was icky at best. Cloudy, around 30 degrees, threatening to snow or rain or both, and a little foggy. I wanted to weenie out and run on the treadmill.
But as usually happens, once I got out and running with others, the day ended up being good regardless of the weather. John Maack and Tim Olson were my companions for the run. Both are fellow ultrarunners, Wasatch 100 veterans, etc. Tim was an island virgin. He had grown up and lived all his life in Utah and had never been to the island. He was in for a treat.
Turns out I think there were a grand total of maybe half a dozen people on the entire island, and 3-4 of them were park employees. We had the trails....and buffalo.....and deer to ourselves. The original plan was to run the White Rock and Split Rock trails. Kind of a figure eight and the 25K course for the Buffalo Run.
When we started out, it wasn't raining or snowing and actually not too bad. As we went up the White Rock trail, we could see a few head of buffalo in the distance on the trail. As we got closer they moved. With no wind, it was so quiet and peaceful, all we could hear was our breathing and each other telling tall tales about past runs and races.
Both Tim and John are faster runners than I am and they started to pull away a little. As always, I enjoy any run on the island, but running with someone who's never been out there makes it more fun. The run itself was pretty uneventful, we saw several mule deer, several does along with a lucky buck and several small herds of bison.

I love going out on the Split Rock loop. It's out on the west side of the island and from there it's difficult to see any signs of civilization. It's easy to imagine that you're back in time when the the west was just being explored, yet 20 miles away live half a million people.
We didn't see another soul on the trails until we were about a mile from the trailhead, as we were going in Brian Beckstead was heading out for a run.
All in all, a good time. We came back soaked from the light rain and snow that finally came down. Went to the park office and put on some dry clothes, chatted with the ranger on duty and headed for home. Good times.
Oh, I forgot to mention the two bald eagles we saw as we went back across the causeway. Way cool just sitting on the ice. This eagle was the closest but was still too far away to get a decent picture.


  1. Any day, regardless of weather, is better than a day on the treadmill. Great photos. I need to get out an run that course before the race.

  2. Great Pictures! I admit I was shocked when I saw three other crazy runners on the trail during such a wet soggy day. It was beautiful though.