Last weekend we went to southern Utah to participate in a race. Carol ran a 10 mile (16 km) race and I ran a marathon, which is 26.2 miles (42 km).
We went on Thursday, two days before the race. On Thursday evening we hiked to a lake on Boulder mountain, fished for a while, and then hiked back. Here’s a picture of Jacob fishing in that lake.
We didn’t catch any fish. But we ate dinner by the lake, and then it started to get dark. So we hiked back down the mountain wearing headlamps to help us see in the darkness. Ryan and I were a little ahead of the others, and suddenly we heard a noise in the bushes near the trail. Then we heard a growl that must have been a bear! We both looked toward the sound, and the lights and our voices must have scared it. We never saw what made the noise, but we clearly heard it crashing through the bushes and trees as it ran away.
On Friday we visited Escalante. We met many interesting people who live there, and bought some petrified wood and a fossil of a mosasaur jaw. Carol found a cool cross-stitch store that was amazingly complete for such a remote place. We took some pictures of the mountains near Escalante. It rained all day on Friday and was very cold. We drove the road where we would run the race, and it was quite scary. The road is built on the ridge between two canyons, so sometimes there are steep cliffs on one side and sometimes steep cliffs on the other side. In a few places there are steep cliffs on both sides that go down into deep canyons, and nothing above the road at all. Friday night we all slept poorly because we were all worried about the race that we would run on the next day.
But we didn’t need to worry. The start of the marathon was cold, at freezing temperature, but after running a few miles we were all warm enough. The scenery was amazing. It’s hard to get a real picture of what it was like by just looking at photographs, but we did our best. Most of these pictures were taken by Ryan. You can see a bigger copy of any picture by clicking on it.
Carol’s race started a little after the marathon did. But she got to start in the most beautiful part of the race. She finished before almost all of the marathon runners.
I couldn’t believe that I got lucky number 8!
The course was tough! The first half was very steep downhill, some places going down 14%, which is almost twice as steep as any place where I could train. Then the next 6 miles are steep uphill. After that point, the rest of the course was gradually downhill until we got to the finish line. Many of the local people came to see us finish and cheer us on. We really had a great time!
This is the view from the place where Carol started the 10 mile run. The marathon went past this place also. The marathon course climbs up the road you can see in the picture. Partly because of the storm the previous day, and partly because the area is so remote, the air was perfectly clear. The snow-covered mountains in the distance are over 100 miles away!
More views of the course:
And here are some pictures taken from the course. This is what we got to look at while we were running!
These pictures don’t really give a full idea of what this beautiful country looks like. It’s one thing to look at a picture, and quite a different thing to be surrounded by that kind of scenery on every side. And it’s even better to be running through it, watching as the scenery flows smoothly from forested mountains to ridgetop, to riverbottoms, to slickrock, and finally to sagebrush flats. Absolutely the most amazing place I can imagine to enjoy a long run!