Sunday, June 17, 2012

Night running, hosted by Dallas Stevens

My friend Dallas told me he was getting ready to do a double Bear Canyon Loop starting at 6:30pm and ending 6 to 7 hours later, so naturally, I was in.
He picked me up around 6pm and the temps were in the mid 70's with quite a bit of humidity and a slight breeze due to a recent "mini monsoon". We started off in hopes to get passed the last stream crossing and to the first major climb by sunset, which we did. Dallas had a close call with a sneaky snake hiding in the boulders of the last stream crossing. Right at junk level. Would've took the junk right off!
We started to climb.
It was a strange feeling running as the sun was setting. I had never run trails at night. I think that as natural type of reaction, one gets a sort of "panic" type of feeling as dusk is setting in and they're trotting off further into a canyon with  mountain lion warning signs. I got that feeling anyways.
But it soon subsided and the trail was lit by my new Black Diamond Spot Headlamp.
The view from the top of that climb is amazing. The city lights were sparkling down in the valley creating a sphere of light in the sky as if Tucson was just a desert snow globe that I wasn't a part of.
We continued towards west fork, headlamps lighting the way.
The wind began to pick up and became more than a slight breeze. It was refreshing.
One of my favorite parts about running out here at night was the spider eyes.
Spider eyes light up in the night from a headlamp like diamonds shimmer and shine in jewelry case lights. They're bright and sparkley and they scurry around in all directions. There were hundred of them throughout this run. Like someone was running down the trail with a back pack full of 1/4 carrot diamonds spilling them along the way and once a beam of light hit them they grew legs and ran off so you couldn't get in on the wealth.
Once we got to the basin we started off down Sabino Canyon trail. I had already had an uneasy feeling, looking around occasionally to see if something vicious was stalking us, like I'd be able to see it even if it was. But once we got down Sabino Canyon a ways, I looked to the left and saw two giant green eyes. I'm not exaggerating, they were BIG. I stopped Dallas.
 "You see that, man?"
"See what?"
"Those eyes up there."
I pointed my headlamp.
"Oh yea, I do see 'em."
"They're pretty far away, and they look pretty big."
We kept going for a bit.
I looked left again.
They looked to be a little closer and still locked on to us.
"Dallas. Those are pretty fuckin close. You think it's a Lion?"
"I don't see em anymore."
"Right up there!"
I pointed my headlamp again.
They were staring right at us.
"Oh, shit, yea man."
"Well, should we just walk slow?"
We ran out of there.
I kept frantically looking back as if some starving beast might sneak up from behind and grab me by the neck for a midnight snack. But it never came and eventually I stopped looking.
We dropped down onto the tram road and ran the 4 miles back to the parking lot.
The tram road ended up being like a little wildlife safari in itself.
We saw a skunk, tons of sonoran desert toads, and a gila monster.

Once we got back to the parking lot I had a little snack and a mountain dew. It took us three and a half hours to run 17 miles and I was feeling pretty crappy. I could've stopped here and been completely content with it, but since I made such a big deal out of making sure Dallas came out and telling everyone all week about it, I decided to suck it up and carry on.
We started back off up the tram road.
It took us 45 minutes to get 4 miles on pavement with a slight up hill.
We were both feeling crappy.
Once we got to the Junction of phoneline and sabino I asked Dallas if he would mind just taking phoneline back.
It was 11:45. We were both tired and only thinking about going to sleep.
Phoneline ended up having it's sights as well.
Somehow I managed to spot a HUGE bee hive in a stone crevice. Thousands of them buzzing around trying to sleep. I still have to remember to tell the Forest Service people about that just in case they're Africanized honey bees. We also saw quite a few Common Poorwills. They just chill on the ground in the path. They look cute, but I got really close to one trying to shew it out of the way and it flew straight at my face!
I was tired.
We also ran into a rattler and had to wait for him to cross the path.

It felt like phoneline took forever and all the familiar land marks weren't coming when they were supposed to, but I was just pooped. We finally made it back to the parking lot and called it a night.
We ran 26 miles with around 5,000ft of EG in just under 6 hours.
It was a good run and it's been a decent week in training for me. I believe I'll hit 70 miles this week if I get off my lazy ass and get a run in today.
Thanks to Dallas as always for showing me around the desert.
Awesome times.

I'll leave you with this short video about thru hikers on the AT.
My moms over half way done.
See if you can tell who she is ;)

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