Monday, June 15, 2009

Shackleford Trail, Ft. Jones, CA

My trail run Saturday. Where do I begin? My dad and I traveled to Etna/Ft. Jones for my niece's wedding. When we got to town on Friday, we went and found the trail head so I'd know where I was going the next day. The whole area is very beautiful. It's in the Marble Mountains in Skiskiyou County. Without knowing the trail, I had figured on about 5-5 1/2 hours for the 20 miles. I had planned on 5 miles in/out twice. However, once I got going, I realized this was going to be quite the trial. This trail was so rocky, it was ridiculous. It's a great trail for hiking and horseback riding; but running, especially with a time constraint? No. I finally gave up after 4.5 miles and no less than 8 water crossings, not counting the 5-6 feeders.

So with the water crossings and 20 miles of running, I wanted to keep my feet dry, if possible. Stupid, I know. But being totally brain dead, I had failed to tape my feet properly, and having them wet for a 20-mile run would've caused some real problems. However, it was on the 2nd or 3rd crossing going in that my right foot ended up nice and damp. On the way back, I was a mere .5 miles from the end, I am at the second to last crossing, I'm on a rock in the middle of the creek. It's not deep, about ankle deep. I decide to go a different way than I initially wanted. Took a large step to the left, my foot slipped on the rock, and (in my best Howard Cosell) DOWN GOES LESLIE! Slammed into the rocks on my left side, and for awhile I thought I sprained my left wrist. Yeah, I was a happy camper. It took me 2.75 hours for the 9-mile round trip. I'd say of that mileage, only about 3-3.5 miles total was runnable. When I run the Arcata Forest, I can do 10 miles in about 2:15, 2:20.

So I'm a bit irritated, to say the least, since I need to get 20 miles in and I'm on a time limit with my niece's wedding at 5:00 p.m. I head back down to Etna, having decided to finish up the last 11 miles on the highway (it's not a busy highway). Not challenging like trails, but at least I'd be getting the miles on my legs. Two problems, I'm totally and completely pissed off, and it's a 45 min drive back to the motel where I have to change my soaking wet shoes and socks and retape my feet. All in all - about an hour between runs. Plus the sun has decided to come out. Plus it's the freaking road. Plus I could feel a blister forming anyway. Plus, plus, plus . . . I started the run hoping my attitude AND the run would get better. Uh, no. The longer I ran, the hotter I got, the hungrier I got . . . the more pissed off I got. I finally turned around at 4.5 miles. From about Mile 6.5 on, it was sheer hell. I was thisclose to trying to flagged someone down to give me a ride back to town. It . . . sucked . . . sucked . . . sucked.

Once I staggered back to town, I hit the restaurant by the motel, and first thing asked for the largest glass of chocolate milk that they had and proceeded to chug it almost in one long gulp. I'm not sure I could possibly ever have a worse run. . . . . . . . nope, just not possible.

Until I can get some pictures posted here, you’ll have to settle for looking at them here:
Shackleford Trail

This was a gorgeous trail, and I will definitely go back for a leisurely day of hiking/running.


Dan said...

Looks like a beautiful place to run.

rustyboy said...

Ha! Ohhhh man, if we all haven't had a run like this. In the moment? SUCKAGE, but it makes for a great story in retrospect.

In the wise words of someone stumbling beside me during a really crappy ultra: "Take what the trail hands to you."

And my addition: "And swear a whole hell of a lot in the meantime."

fatozzig said...

And my addition: "And swear a whole hell of a lot in the meantime."