Tuesday, November 16, 2010

North Bend Adventure Running

The beauty of being lost...
Our Detour, Bonus Miles and Little Gifts from the Trail
It started out with James' really sweet idea.  Let's run 10.5 miles to the Goldmyer Hot springs, go for a soak and run back!  A nice, relatively flat 21 mile run with warm reward halfway through.  Well... that's what we thought we were doing.  James and I camped out the night before the run and set out Saturday morning on what we thought was the Snoqualmie River Road.  It quickly turned into a trail, our first hint that something was amiss.  The route was supposed to be a recently closed down road that was to open soon, and this trail was no road.  A few miles in we ran into a group of fisherman still sipping beer and carrying fishing rods at 11 in the morning.  The informed us that yes, it was the Snoqualmie Trail.  Which was good news to us as the Snoqualmie River Trail goes to the hot springs as well.  We ran three more miles, for a total of five and came to a good sized river.  Holy cold legs!  The only way to cross was to wade though up to out mid thighs grasping rocks to keep upright.  At this point we thought there was a good possibility that we had taken the wrong trail as the directions did not mention raging rivers to cross. What to do??! 

Since we had already gone 5 miles out of our way (possibly) making a total of 10 back to our car, we opted to cross the river and see if we could get any more clues as to whether we were on the right trail.  After all, why come this far to go back to the car and find out that we were going the right way all along.... We forged the river and the trail led us uphill past some incredibly big trees.  The trail narrowed and kept climbing.  Holy tired cold legs!  This wasn't looking good!  We decided to head back to the car, it wasn't looking like we had the right route.  James rightly figured that the fisherman may have meant that we were on the Snoqualmie Lake Trail, whereas we wanted to be on the Snoqualmie River Trail. Damn!

Back through the river, back through the rock bed, back down the trail and on toward the car.  Four miles from the car we met a man who was looking for Otter Falls with his tripod and camera.  It turns out Otter Falls is a 800 foot waterfall just off the trail marked by some stacked rocks.  We were able to point him in the right direction and decided to take a look ourselves.

Wow!  What an incredible sight!!  The waterfall cascaded down a huge rock face in what seemed like slow motion. The rocks reached into the misty sky, like the water was flowing from the clouds themselves.  The sight was truly a gift, and well worth the extra 12 miles!

Back on Course: Finding Goldmyer Hot Springs
Despite the late time of day (3 PM) and 12 extra miles logged, James and I decided to go to the Hot Springs when we returned to our car and found the real trail head.  We had planned to do 21 miles today to the Hot Springs (rather than 33 miles) and 31 miles (50K) tomorrow at Yakima Rim, but it was looking like we would be doing back-to-back 50Ks instead this weekend.  Oh boy!  Those extra 12 miles were a big mental leap for me.  The actual route to the hot springs was a road that was closed down and appeared to be in fine driving condition, making for an easy 10.5 mile run to the springs, although we arrived at the springs in the dark and would be returning to the car in the dark.

Goldmyer Hot Springs was wonderful!  We arrived just as everyone was heading out for dinner or whatever else normal people do at 5 PM.  The springs are cared for by a couple in a cabin who live without electricity or running water.  There are three natural pools, the highest one comes out of a 20-foot long cave and is really hot!  You can swim all the way to the back of the cave.  Warning: at night it's a little steamy and claustrophobic feeling.  There is a bench at the far end of the cave for those who want to sit out of the water in the steam.  The other two pools are outside the cave and are cooler as they are farther from the spring.

We ran back to our car that night after an hour of soaking.  Try putting on wet shoes and socks and running clothes that you just ran 23 miles in.  Oh yeah, and dry off with t-shirts.  We didn't bring towels.  Luckily we were hot from the springs and the transition wasn't as painful as I expected.  The run back to the car was in the dark and I used my new black diamond headlamp.  All said, we ran 33 miles that day.  Not too shabby.  Next?  Drive that night to Yakima to do James' Yakima Rim 50K route on Sunday.  The real race will be in April so this was a mapping and information gathering expedition.  More info to come!
James on the Snoqualmie Lake Trail
Despite being 6 miles out on the wrong trail, we found some cool trees and waterfalls!

 Otter Falls, Snoqualmie Lake Trail

It's getting dark, but we're on the right road, headed to the Hot Springs!

Road to the Hot Springs follows the River

Alright, where do we go again? Almost at the Springs!

Cabin at the Hot Springs

Hot Springs: Rules
Goldmyer Hot Springs, picture courtesy http://www.goldmyer.org/
For more pictures of the hot springs visit here:

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