Saturday, August 30, 2008

Road Trip: Pre CCC100 report

Part I: Paulina Lake

Since the Cascade Crest Classic 100 is my first 100 mile run, I wanted to stretch the experience out as much as possible. So I took 7 days off of work, packed the Kia Sportage, and started driving at 5:00am. on Saturday August 16th. The marry band of adventures including my Wife Heidi, sister-in-law Kati, and the dog--Gordy.
(Picture of the Deschutes National Forest)

Our first destination was Paulina Lake, which is located in the Dechutes National Forest in Central Oregon (30 miles Southeast of Bend). Paulina Lake was created by the Newberry Volcano, and it is the caldera of the Volcano. There are many trails around the lake, including the crater rim trail that is 25 miles long and encircles the entire crater! If I wasn't running 100 miles in a week, this would be a great place to spend a couple of das exploring the miles of trails that surrounds the Newberry Volcano.
(Our campground)

The first adventure was supposed to be a 7 mile run around Paulina Lake hosted by Fleet Feet Bend, and organized by ultrarunner Rob Bien. Fleet Feet Bend hosts a bandit run every month, and these runs are free and a great introduction to the joy of trail running. Regretfully, we couldn't find the start of the run, so we decided to hike Paulina Peak instead.

The views from Paulina Peak were breathtaking. One could see Paulina and East Lake, as well as a basalt lava flows, and rock spires that I imagined as castle walls of a forgotten fortress. Coming down Paulina Peak we met up with Rob and all of the bandit runners. I did a short run with Rob, and he offered some tips on the CCC100 course.

(Paulina Peak can be seen in the background)

After the run, we decided to cool off in Paulina Lake. We rented a canoe and rowed around the lake. Although Paulina Lake is a popular campground, our canoe seemed like the only seagoing vessel. Since Newberry Volcano is still an active volcano, geothermal vents are located througout the lake. One of these vents is near the lake shore and offers a very relaxing soaking pool. The geothermal water mixed with the river water created a hot spring of 105 degrees. Laying in the springs, sipping a bud light, a feeling of calm washed away all of my previous anxieties and worries. I laid in the water becoming absorbed in the wilderness and the beauty of the lake.Soon the weather started turning, and we decided to return to camp. Thunder was soon rumbling through the sky and echoing off of the mountains. A strong breeze started blowing across the lake, and then the storm, or more accurately storms began to hit. Wrapped in the cocoon of my sleeping bag and tent, I listened to nature's soundtrack which was being played in all of it's natural ambience. The wind caused the tent to snap and shake, the rain drummed against the lake and forest floor, and thunder and lightening were chasing each other across the night sky.

(A storm is brewing)

Part II: White Water Rafting, Olympia, and Vashon Island

The next leg of the journey was white water rafting excitement!! We met my parents, brother (who was going to be my pacer in 6 days!), and uncle at the Deschutes River. I have rafted the Deschutes River many times (10?), nonetheless it is always a fun trip. A good mix of technical rapids, and slow pools, I always have fun on the Deschutes. We had one causalty on the river, my Kati fell into the Oak Springs Rapid, her shocked face was hilarious, too bad I didn't have the camera!

After rafting, we drove to Spanaway to stay at my Grandparents house. After 3 days in the wilderness it was nice to finally sleep in a bed and take a shower. The next stop was to visit an old childhood friend of mine in Olympia. I grew up with Simon in Richland WA. Regretfully, Simon moved and we lost contact. Yet, thanks to Facebook I was able to get back in contact with Simon and arrange to meet him in Olympia. Reliving some of the trouble we go into as kids, as well as catching up on the events in our lives seemed to nourish the soul. I am pretty bad at keeping in touch with people, yet seeing Simon again reminded me how important it is to keep in touch with our friends.

Next stop on the journey was Vashon Island; a island located between Seattle and Tacoma, and is inhabited by a tribe a very liberal population. My Great, Great Grandfather bought the property in 1920 and it has continued to be passed from generation to generation since then. For myself, Vashon allows me to connect to an inner tranquility, or a level of equilibrium.

My first activity was swimming in the cold Puget Sound waters. The waters were so frigid that I got brain freeze, but after awhile I got acclimated. The swim was followed by a 5 mile run on the roads near the cabin. Along the way I made sure to stop at the blackberry patches to pick, delicious!
(Standing on the Big Rock, Popeye looking on in the row boat)

The final activity at Vashon Island was setting some crab traps, and preparing fresh Dungeness Crab! Killing, and cleaning the crab was messy work, but the reward for our catch was GLORIOUS! Soon a table full of crab shells, legs, and pinchers was all that was left from our catch. Our band adventerous rallied from the depths of our food comas to get back into the car.

Next Stop Easton!