Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yes! Our friends chose to get married in Tahoe!

Monday - 3 mile run w/ Lucy.

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - Easy 4 mile run w/ the FTRs, a going away run for our friend Dave.

Thursday - Ran 5 miles with Lucy, including 3 repeats on the "Costco Hill", giving us ~1k ft. of climbing.  I was happy with how easy the effort seemed, I still remember not being able to run up this hill without stopping.

Friday - Rest day, traveled to Sorenson's resort at Hope Valley for our friends wedding.  Beautiful cabins and location!

Saturday - The wedding was at 1:00 PM and I promised I'd be back from my run by ~10:30 AM.  I woke up at 4:50 AM, gathered up the ingredients for some rice & bean tacos and headed towards the Freel Peak trail-head (the same one I got my truck stuck in the snow on in early May).

I saw a good sized bear while driving in on the 4x4 access road, shortly before I arrived at the trail-head.  Lucy and I were off and running at 5:45 AM.  The morning was crisp and calm, maybe 40 degrees F.  After a mile or so, the trail links up with the Tahoe Rim Trail, where I hung a left towards Star Lake.  This section of trail gives some unique views down the wide, long-sloping mountainside, towards Trout Creek and Lake Valley.  I let Lucy off the leash around here, she was absolutely enjoying her morning.  The first few miles of the trail consist of quite run-able terrain, but due to the LONG gentle incline, I stuck to a run/walk mix.

Wonderful morning in the Sierra!

Lucy, back on leash for a bit, as we approach a cliff area.

I made it to the Freel Peak trail junction, a little more than 4 miles in, shortly before 7:00 AM, and made the turn up the steep (and beautiful) trail to the summit.

Freel Peak hikers only.
The next mile or so to the summit is a bit of a slog, as the elevation becomes a factor (over 10k ft.) and the trail is steep with footing that consists of decomposing granite (sort of like an extremely coarse sand).  Lucy has no problem at all with this and falls into a pattern of charging ahead, running back to me to check-in, and then charging up the mountain again.  Freel Peak and Job's Sister are two of the few peaks in the area that rise above the tree line.  The unique, high altitude environment harbors some endangered plant species, so visitors are urged to stay on the trail.  Fortunately Lucy and I do just that.  Lucy has a great knack for following the trail and sometimes, she prevents me from taking a wrong turn in areas where the trail is hard to follow.  I assume she follows the scent of other hikers (and of us on the return trip).

Gorgeous morning view of Freel Peak, 3/4 mile from the summit.

Lucy's ready to do some glissading.

Wildflowers blooming at 10,500 ft.

Wildflowers blooming at 10,500 ft.

Final push to the summit.
We were the first to the 10,886 ft. summit (at 7:45 AM) today and I had yet to see anyone else on the trail.  We signed the summit log, which is stored in an old military ammunition box, enjoyed the view for a moment and then headed down the back side of Freel and over towards Freel's slightly shorter friend, Job's Sister, 10,823 ft.
Panorama taken from Freel Peak's 10,886 ft. summit.

Signed the summit log.
With a -20% to -40% grade, the backside of Freel Peak was too steep to run (for me, I took more of a hop/slide approach), but once onto the saddle between the peaks, there is a really enjoyable ~1/2 - 3/4 mile stretch of fantastically run-able terrain.  After crossing the saddle, we arrived at another steep pitch and pushed on up to the Job's summit.  The high alpine landscape was breathtaking.  I'm really glad I decided to squeeze in this outing!
Running across the saddle over to Job's Sister (pictured at center), 10,823 ft.

Gorgeous view of Freel Peak (left) and Job's Sister.

Lucy, enjoying the view from the Job's Sister summit.

Panorama from the Job's Sister summit.
After a few minutes on the Job's Sister summit, we bumped back down the mountain, back onto and across the saddle, back up Freel Peak, and made our way back down to the car.  We made it back to the cabins by 10:30 AM or so.

Lucy finally went down for a nap, 2-3 hours after our hike/run.

Sunday - Before heading back over the hill, Candace and I drove the 4x4 trail back out near the Freel Peak trail-head, in order to do some exploring and to give Lucy a chance to burn off some steam.  We wound up getting some great pictures of her jumping over a stream. :)  After an hour or so, we headed up highway 50, and stopped at Echo Summit Pacific Crest Trail access point, where we enjoyed a 3 mile family run.





PCT trail run, was trying to get Candace and I, but only got I...

Lucy, scouting out a beverage.

Snow Plant!

Candace enjoyed her high altitude trail run!

Lucy briefly met some friends on the trail.

Weekly Totals:  26.83 miles 5,269 ft. elevation gain

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