For as long as I've known Kyle the idea of being an ultra-marathon runner excited him. He loves challenging his body and doing things that seem really difficult/nearly impossible to prove to himself he is capable of anything he puts his mind to. I have this same motivation in things like career, being a woman in tech, learning new skills, etc. but I have never felt this challenge toward my physical body. I admire him for it most of the time. 😉
Well, two weekends ago Kyle completed his first ultra-marathon! It was a 50k, and I'm so incredibly proud of him for getting it done. The course was in Torrey, Utah, right outside of Capitol Reef National Park. We drove down the day before and camped in a field at the lodge that was hosting the event. The next morning Kyle left to run 32 miles of forested trails at a ridiculous elevation gain, and I took Lola into Capitol Reef.
I knew I wanted to do a little hiking, so I stopped at the visitors' center to get a map. There's a 20 mile out-and-back scenic drive that is full of stops and dirt roads to additional trailheads.
The first stop I made was to hike to Cassidy Arch. My phone died right a little over mile in so I didn't get a picture of the actual arch. You end above the arch sort of elevated. Because I was by myself without a phone and didn't see anyone around, I was a little too nervous to go off trail to the base of the arch. It was still beautiful though, and I definitely recommend the hike. It's very steep up front with almost all your climbing in the first quarter mile, but the switchbacks after the initial climb are very easy. You are in direct sun the entire time though. There may have been one place at about half a mile where you can use rock for shade but that's it. Take plenty of water or get your start really early in the morning.
You're technically not supposed to have dogs on the trail, but I wasn't about to leave Lola in a black truck when it was 95 degrees outside. I just put her in the awesome carrier we ordered on Amazon and had perfect hands free control of the trail with her strapped to my chest.
After that I continued down the scenic drive. I pulled over in a few spots but mostly made way to the end of the road which ends in Capitol Gorge Trail. This trail was basically a washed out river bed, very flat but filled with rocks. Early down the trail are petroglyphs that were nearly impossible to see (not discernible in photos).
I took a little trail that's about a mile climb to what were called "the tanks". I was expecting them to be large freshwater ponds at the top of a plateau but they were underwhelming. They were basically just holes in rocks max of 10 feet across. The water was pretty murky and filled with tadpoles. Not worth the climb.
At this point it was getting later in the afternoon, and I wanted to see Kyle cross the finish line. I hustled back to the truck with Lola and headed back toward Torrey.
Torrey is an adorable town. I got there about 10 minutes before Kyle crossed the finish line strong. It took him 7.5 hours to finish but, he did great for his first one! There were several very experienced runners who came in after him. With ultras it's a lot less about racing and more about completion because the courses are so tough.
We had to wait for his drop bags to get brought back from the course so we hung out at the lodge for a while. I took down camp so we could camp at a site I came across in Capitol Reef and Kyle took a solar shower provided by the race. Once all the runners made it back we headed out and grabbed dinner at a cute place in Torrey called Cafe Diablo. It was a great little place with a beautiful view. The menu was awesome as well. It's a great place to stop if you're down that way.
Then we drove in to the campsite, but it was completely full. Knowing I wanted to drive Kyle through the scenic drive the next morning, we found a lookout point at the park entrance and just camped in the truck. The great thing about the 4-runner is letting down the back seats and having room to lay completely flat for a good night sleep. We opened the back window and sunroof and slept under the ridiculously clear starry sky.
The next morning we did a quick drive through Fruita. You can pick all the fruit you want there. Kyle's legs weren't really up for hiking so we headed home after the scenic drive. It was a fun little weekend trip.