|Girls + Mountains = Rad|
I had the pleasure of co-organizing this trail running adventure with head organizer Jen Segger, of Challenge By Choice Coaching in Squamish. Jen couldn't have selected a more magical series of high alpine trails to showcase the best running that our beautiful province has to offer. From an overnight in an alpine hut to swimming in emerald lakes and bagging 2400m+ peaks, this classic trail running road trip had it all.
I will need to write a 6 chapter story to cover all of the moments, laughs, adventures, mis-adventures and memories from our road trip (stay tuned!) but I will start by sharing a few of my favourite images from the week. When it comes to the endless giggles and confessions in the van, what goes on the road, stays on the road!
Day 1: 10km undulating route with moderate climbs from Whistler mountain to Russet Lake Hut. From the Peak Chair, we ran Highnote Trail and rolling Musical Bumps into Garibaldi Provincial Park. We shared supper in the hut and finished the evening with a thimble each of red wine and dark Denman Island chocolate. Chanace and I chose to sleep outside in my tent, with the wild mountain wind. It was a cold night, with a leaky thermarest, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
|Our crew on Musical Bumps Trail on the edge of Garibaldi Provincial Park.|
|Russet Lake Hut and Fissile Peak in rear.|
|Jen, Ashley and Sarah, soaking up the sun at Russet Lake Hut|
|Home, sweet home.|
|10 women are sleeping in here right now.|
|Ashley warming up in an alpine sunrise.|
|Sub-alpine running at it's finest. Eva Lake in Revelstoke National Park.|
|Climbing up to Jade Lake through endless meadows of wildflowers. These Dr. Seuss like, Western Anemone's are my new favourite flowers.|
|Reaching the saddle between Eva and Jade Lakes after a 13km climb.|
|Mountain moments...reality or fantasy? I don't care.|
|Chanace, living the dream.|
|Heading up up up through single track heaven...Kokanee Glacier in rear.|
|Coach Jen Segger greeting me at Slocan Chief Museum Cabin.|
Day 5: 28kms on the Seven Summits, my bucket list trail, in Rossland. It was a well maintained, buff climbing trail beginning at 1575metres and winding upward through black spruce forests and dusty powder. We reached the ridge and the route ahead was a single track addicts dream...an endless sandy ribbon laid out ahead with wide reaching valley views on either side- Rossland to the east Old Glory to the west. We turned off the main trail after about 10kms and 600metres of elevation gain, to tackle Old Glory Mountain. The final climb up to 2350m and the summit was well worth the effort. Show stopping views from the easy to gain summit and a windy lunch at the top with new friends. Old Glory is higher than the tallest peak on Van Isle and we were able to run right to the top. No ice axes or ropes were required, unlike most of the tallest peaks (aka the Island Alps) on Van Isle! A fantastic 14km flowy descent via the Seven Summits and Old Glory trails wrapped up an awesome 5 hour day on the trail.
|Crew photographer, Hanna Dewey, acting all bad ass during her turn behind the lens. We paused for a few poses at Sunrise cabin on the way up Seven Summits Trail.|
|Lishe running free amongst the wildflowers on an endless ribbon of creamy single track.|
|Girls rockin Old Smokey Mountain at 2350m via Seven Summits Trail.|
|Hanna, returning home from the summit.|
Day 6: Manning Park, 28kms, Windy Joe and Frosty Mountain Loop Trails. 5.5 hours on the trail including a summit of Mount Frosty at 2400m. We cruised along an easy warm up trail then tackled the first big climb up a steady forest road. After running for hours through wildflowers, beautiful old burns, and epic mountain views, we hit the final ridge and scree stepped it to the summit of Frosty. We had lunch in the wind break, PB and honey and savoured the moment... We finished the adventure with a lovely 12k cruisy descent all the way back to the van at Lightening Lakes for a quick dirtbag bath.
|Hands on thighs, Sarah, earning her views en route to the summit of Mount Frosty.|
|Sarah and Chanace trekking in paradise.|
|Sarah, using extreme caution en route to the summit.|
|Chanance celebrating on the summit of Mount Frosty, 2408m.|
|Heading home after reaching the summit of Mount Frosty. Bucket List peaks lined up in the distance...|
This whole week was a trip down a dirty memory lane and my many years spent travelling the province as a tree planter and forest fire fighter with Rapattack. It was sweet deja vu to relive my forest service years around every bend and in every small town we travelled through. And it was so awesome to see the girls embrace the dirt bag trail runner spirit. Sitting in that Keremeos parking lot together, while eating coconut curry and spring rolls in the late afternoon sun made my heart swell. The girls were wearing five day old running gear (Icebreaker rocks!) sporting grubby hair and dark dirt lines around their ankles, but they all had big grins on their faces and were loving every minute of it. These are my kind of girls. They are dirtskirts, just like me.
Run BC: An unforgettable road trip, shared with amazing mountain women on some of the Province's most spectacular alpine single track. Stories shared, hearts opened, dreams revealed and future adventures crafted. It was a sweet a rhythm of dirty sneakers, beautiful giggles, mind blowing mountains, endless roads and funky coffee shops in the best little towns of BC.
Keep pole dancing on summits, ladies. We need more women on top...of those mountains;)