Sometimes I feel that way when I am on a long trail run. I come to an intersection and I think, "If I go to the right, I'll see a, b, and c... but if I go to the left, I'll see x, y, and z!" Honestly, I feel like I can't really go wrong either way. And I love retracing my steps at the end of the day through maps and pictures.
Last week, I made up my own set of adventures. I challenged myself to complete 100 miles in 5 days, mostly on trail. After getting asked to work the first half of the day on what would be my first day of running, I had a bit of a rough start with hot temperatures, cramping legs, and running out of water because of my late start. By day two, I laid in bed in the morning, not convinced that I was capable of pulling off my goal because I had quite a lot of foot pain (in my foot that was injured from the Bighorn 100 a month ago). But I motivated and got out of the house on day two, first for 5 miles with the dogs and then nearly 13 more miles by myself.
We had a lot of afternoon rain a couple of weeks ago before the hot temperatures, and the wildflowers were crazy huge and over my head. The colors were magnificent and I can't say that I've ever seen them quite so intense.
After day 3, which was my biggest day with the challenges of very hot temperatures and lots of elevation gain, I got some inspiration from friendly mountain bikers in the last 5 miles who helped me choose a route that was not only in the shade but went by some lovely water sources so that I could splash about a bit and cool myself off. Indeed on day 3, I realized that by tucking my running skirt into my hot-pants that it was not only cooler, but created a lovely distraction for mountain bikers whereby they were quite willing to stop to the side and yield right of way to me, allowing me to pass safely on many a narrow section of trail.
Just at the end of day 3, two mountain bikers passed me and said head's up, that there was a third biker coming along the trail. I looked up just in time to see that he had looked up, lost his concentration (due to the hot-pants?) and crashed off the side of the trail. His arm was a bloody mess, but he insisted that he was alright and I was certain that I was the cause of his mishap.
By day 4 I was "over the hump" and had a lovely but hot run with less elevation gain than the prior three days. It was a Saturday which is typically very busy with people recreating, but my choice of trails was a wise one and got out early to avoid the crowds.
Day 5 I was joined by my friend Ann, who paced me last fall at the Bear 100 and after 5 delightfully cool miles on the trail through stands of large fir trees, she had to turn around and go in to work (she was on-call) and I continued on by myself. Nearing the end of the day I found my mind wandering and my pace slowing in order to take everything in. I had such a good time with my daily routine of wake, run, eat, sleep for five days in a row that I honestly didn't want it to end.
I feel a bit stronger after my 100 miles in 5 days and am definitely contemplating another 100-mile event later this summer or early fall. It's a bit hard for me to commit to going somewhere else for an event because the Wasatch Mountains are just so beautiful and full of good trails and good people. I thoroughly enjoyed my self-imposed challenge in the hills near my home.
17,900 ft elevation gain
Now for the photos:
Day One: The "Little Rogue" ~ Jeremy Ranch Road, Moose Hollow to Parley's Summit, Great Western Trail to Big Mountain, Mormon Pioneer Trail to trailhead. 4h 46m/ 19.05mi/ 3,171 ft elevation gain
Day Two: after 4.9 miles and 1,000 ft of gain in Summit Park (semi-secret trails), I hit Butler East Fork to Dog Lake, Little Water Trail down to trailhead, Big Water Trail up, Desolation Trail West to the beginning of Mill A Basin, then the West Fork of Butler back down to the car. 3h 54m/ 12.4mi/ 3,379 ft elevation gain
Day Three: Start at the Guard Road (pass, not the hairpin), Crest Trail to the base of Murdock Peak (Canyons east boundary) Mid-mountain trail to Park City Mountain Resort, Pipeline Trail up to Shadow Lake, Scott's Peak trail back to Crest Trail and the car. 6h 54m/ 24.3mi/ 3,683 ft elevation gain
Day Four: 24/7 Trail from end of Jeremy Ranch Road, Glenwild Stealth Trail, Cobblestone Trail (backside of Glenwild), Flying Dog, back to 24/7 trail. 4h 48m/ 19.35mi/ 2,610 ft elevation gain
Day Five: Pinebrook Lower to Upper Meeks, Jekyl & Hyde Trail, Mid-mountain Trail to the Canyons, Crest Connector to Red Pine Road (just east of SquareTop), resort roads past Red Pine Lake to Red Pine Lodge, Mid-mountain Trail back to Pinebrook. 5h 52min/ 20mi/ 4,058 ft elevation gain