Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Zion Train

well, the Zion Traverse did not pan out as originally planned. my running partner Jen wasn't feeling very well, and i have to admit, i was not feelin' it either. we made it 14 gorgeous miles from the Kolob Canyon turn off at Lee Pass to the Hopp Valley Trailhead. getting the layers just right was a challenge, as it was nukin' windy at the start at 6am and then warm in the sun when we hit the Timber Creek and La Verkin Creek canyons. when we got into Hopp Valley it was a brisk, cold wind again. i felt like all i did for 14 miles was take layers on and off and make adjustments to my shoes, pack, etc. a bit frustrating, but i didn't let it detract from the spectacular scenery that is Zion or the excellent running company in Jen.

after 14 miles, we met up with Eve who was crewing us and her partner Charlie. getting into the Eurovan was a bit like getting into the Brighton Lodge at mile 75 of Wasatch--hard to leave. especially with snuggly little Mesa-dog luring us in... so we bailed on the rest of the run (i had thoughts of running the next 20+ miles solo, but decided against it as my legs just really felt like lead, and i was dying for a good cup of coffee. note to self: drink coffee before running, even if it is 5am. Herbal matte just doesn't cut it when you are a coffee fiend like i am. some might say this should be a lesson to me to cut back so that i can go without, and to that i say... Never!)

anyhoo, back to the story. so we three drove around to Springdale. i got coffee (Aaahhhh...) and Eve got an over-priced sandwich, and Jen got a nap. Eve and i then proceeded to take the shuttle bus in to Zion Canyon, and hiked up Angels' Landing to meet up with Charlie. we were about a half-mile or so from the West Rim Trail when we spotted him coming down the trail. so, in addition to my 14 miles for the morning, i got about 9 for the afternoon. 23 miles total for the day--not bad! and to make matters even better, i ran into the majority of the Leopardi clan up on the trail (they are an awesome Italian Catholic family that i have been friends with forever, and were in town for Grandma Kay's 80th birthday celebration. Happy Birthday, Kay!)

we squeezed onto the shuttle bus again to rejoin the crew back in Springdale (the tourists were not too fond of the way we smelled after a long day running on the trail, and the bus was totally packed full. i had to giggle). Jen was waiting for us at the Eurovan, along with her boyfriend Chris who had spent the day mountain biking on Gooseberry Mesa.

a delicious dinner at the Bit-n-Spur, and then we took off for showers at the Travelodge in Hurricane, Utah. breakfast the next morning was at the fine establishment of JB's family restaurant chain. mmm... can you say mini-sausages and donut holes on the all you can eat buffet?!? delish.

Chris, Jen, and i then went mtn biking on the JEM trail outside of Hurricane (spectacular!) and i showed off my tuck and roll skills off the side of the trail. we got some snacks back at the car, and then rode our bikes on the Zion Canyon Road into the Park to check out the Narrows. all in all, a 12 mile mtn bike plus a 12 mile road ride plus a 2 mile walk to the Narrows. the epic miles were adding up!

camped at Mosquito Flats that night after an amazing dinner at the Spotted Dog in Springdale. we were totally underdressed for this fine establishment, but the proprietor treated us as if we were his top clientele. they even have their own "Spotted Dog Ale" which is brewed in Salt Lake City by Squatters. we closed the place down at about 10:30.

next day we had breakfast at the Red Coyote Cafe in Virgin (a must! visit if you are in the area, with free wifi and amazingly delishious croissant breakfast sandwiches and lattes) and then hit the Guacamole trail for 7+ miles of slickrock, technical mountain biking. Jen and i for sure improved our skills with this ride. so much fun!

such a great weekend. check out the photos as proof!

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