Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let's run the Chilkoot Trail


So I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to run the Chilkoot Trail with my 70 year old friend Glenn.

The trail is 33 miles, most people hike this historical trail over the coarse of 4-5 days with a backpack. Glenn wanted me to run it. Crazy.

A little about Glenn, he is my favorite new friend of the summer. He moved to Sitka in 1959 and watched AK become a state. He met his first wife (and only wife, this is how he always refers to her) in Sitka and then they moved to Juneau where he has lived every since. He started trail running because he got a lot of heck running on the roads. He wore jeans and flannel shirts. Every time he saw someone one the trail he would start walking because otherwise they would think he was crazy. 50 years later he is still running, just as fast as ever. He runs with a group of runners in Juneau called the "Smokin Old Geezers." He founded the group and they run every Sunday morning at 7:30 am.

I was lucky enough to meet this man my first week in Juneau this summer. After I meet Glenn the running never stopped. We were running 3 or 4 times a week up summits and across ridge lines. Our first run was up Mnt. Roberts. When we got to the summit he looked at me and said "Well Emlaa (He calls me Emlaa not Emily) if you are going to run with the geezers you've got to be part mnt. goat" and he then jumped off the peek and rode down 1800 ft., in approximately 3 minutes, on his butt. I followed. His day job consists of building a kitchen for his first wife (he is a retired carpenter), and the rest of his time is spent running.

Everyone in town knows him. He has records all over the country and he recruited me to run the Chilkoot Trail, 33 miles with another one of his running buddies Geoff (one of the 5 Gs) and the best 100 miler in the nation, who had just finished running Crow Pass an intense 24 mile AK trail race and blew 7 minutes off the trail record the month prior. Great. What was I thinking?

So I begin recruiting other runners. Aaron and Paul were roped in, Paul the morning before we left. We left on the ferry Thursday and made it to Skagway Friday, just in time for our 8 hour Saturday trail run. Returning home Sunday. Monday consisted of a lot of sitting and today finally I pulled myself up for a nice bike ride.

It was hard, long, insane, but I wouldn't have done it any other way. It was my last hurrah before school begins tomorrow.

* More ferry time, I can never get enough of the Alaska Marine Highway
* The Glennisms, he makes every trip more fun
* The trail itself, BEAUTIFUL
* mile 33
* that I am still alive

The good omens:
* Nancy, a sweet Juneaunite angel whom didn't know us and invited us stay at her house, made us a fresh Salmon dinner and was our chauffeur
* Sprinkles on Paul's hot chocolate
* The Canadian railroad workers who gave us a free train ride out of the trail so we didn't have to run an additional 8 miles
* That we all finished with minimal injuries, Geoff could have done it 3 more times no sweat, but that wasn't the case for the rest of us

Glenn wants me to return to Juneau again this weekend for a 50K relay. Hmmmm...

Bike Trip: 5 days 600K later...

Before this trip the furthest I had ever gone on a bike all at once was 80miles. Yep, it is true, I was a little nervous about this trip. Especially the 3300 ft climb for the first 12 miles.

However it was all in vain, everything was perfect: the company, the scenery, the food... a gift. This summer I was lucky enough to spend 5 days on a bike trip of a lifetime with my buddy Heang. This trip had been talked about an anticipated for months. I found our later that Heang thought I was going to bail the whole time. Silly.

Heang road tripped up from NC and spent a week here in Sitka training. I had him climbing mountains the first 3 days he was here. We also found trailers for our bikes and eliminated many things that we wanted to pack for fear of caring too much weight. The grand total weight of our trailer content wasn't much more than 30 pounds but the trailers themselves weighed 17 pounds putting us at about 45 pounds of additional weight.

We left from Skagway and ended up in Haines 600K later. Each day came with new adventures many involving delicious food and as much sleep as possible. Eat, bike, eat, bike, eat, bike, sleep, was what each day looked like. We also laughed quite a bit. Everything is 10 times more funny when you are exhausted.

Overall the trip was perfect. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I love summers, adventures, and friendships. Perhaps this same time next year I will be writing a blog about my 2010 summer bike tour.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

south kakalakee

Home and back... blur but fantastic and always delicious!