Originally planned for Saturday the 10th, but due to extreme fire hazard (45 mph east wind event and low humidity) we waited a day to see how conditions panned out. The power was off (PGE) due to the fire risk. There was light smoke/haze (~90 AQI) and it was 55 degrees to start with no wind. The high of the day was around 80 degrees.
This was a solo trail run with support from Rob Hamrick who checked in on the ham radio (his call sign is KJ7IYG and mine is KK7CVV) and set up three full aid stations (AS): AS1/Zig Zag Ranger Station, AS2/Kinzel Lake Spur TH, AS3/Trillium Lake Loop Road. At each AS I ate food and took more to go (pb&j, pickles/juice, watermelon, oranges, fig newtons, snickers, gummies, hot ramen, coffee), filled my 2-liter bladder with Tailwind mix and 500-ml bladder with water, took my shoes off to let my feet breathe, massaged my legs, and exchanged items such as my headlamp and hat.
Started under the full moon at Green Canyon Way TH (#793A) and went clockwise to get the most difficult sections done first and to give me a gradual descent into the finish. Within the first 1,000 feet on Hunchback Trail (#793) headed to AS1, I got turned around navigating through the blowdown in the dark and without realizing it, went in the wrong direction and ended up back at Green Canyon Way. It took me at least an hour to get through the first mile of Hunchback.
The second scare of the day was getting a glimpse of the local cougar. This was within a mile of AS2, on the Hunchback Trail. I looked up to see brown legs and a long tail skirt around the bend on the trail 30-40 yards ahead of me, obviously running away. I turned up my music and continued cautiously with my poles up.
The road portion went by fast. There are two good climbs on the Sherar Burn Road of 300-400 feet over 1/2 mile or so. There is about a mile of paved road around Trillium Lake, and the rest is dirt. I passed several cars and there were many people recreating around Trillium Lake.
The finale of fearful events was heading back into the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness at dusk remembering the cougar. This final stretch along the Salmon River is very remote and for about five miles I was out of range of the radio repeaters. When my phone battery was low, I sang out loud and occasionally scanned my surroundings in case the cougar was around. It is mostly downhill and there are many stream crossings throughout, good for replenishing water. During the last hour, there was soft precipitation.
Throughout the entire day I encountered only three parties on the trails: two men with two dogs coming up from Kinzel Lake TH, a woman camping alongside the Salmon River Trail just past the Kinzel Lake Trail (#665) junction (we had a nice chat in the dark), and I saw another camp set up by the Salmon River about 3 miles from the finish.
Thank you to the Clackamas Amateur Radio Emergency Services (CARES) for maintaining the Mt Hood repeater, K7RPT, that we used to communicate.