FKT: Anthony DeLorenzo - Cottonwood Trail (YT, Canada) - 2021-09-05

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Total time
10h 48m 41s
GPS track(s)

I got dropped off at the Mush Lake trailhead around 6 AM and was off at 6:17. It had been raining all night so things were quite wet and stayed that way most of the day. I needed my headlamp for the first half hour or so.

Fortunately, I didn't get hit by any rain the rest of day and it was unseasonably warm. 8 C at the start, I ran in shorts and a base layer all day. I was wet most of the day due to vegetation and my shoes were soaked of course.

I took about 1:50 to complete the Mush Lake 4x4 road which was extra wet and muddy. Then I tackled the biggest climb up to Dalton Pass, making the top about 3:50 and 27 km into the run.

I struggled a bit through the next sections, working my way through some overgrown trail through the Victoria Creek valley and up to Cottonwood Pass. The singletrack descent is a highlight of the trail but I wasn't able to really give 'er like I wanted. I stopped for a short break at the bottom of Cottonwood Creek before making my way through the meadows to the old mining road. These sections took me about 3 hours to cover a total of 21 km.

The fall colors were spectacular, maybe the best I've ever seen. (This is my first time running the trail but I've biked it many times.)

Things started to turn around on the old mining road and I ran the next 16 km to the Victoria Creek Crossing in just over 2 hours. The biggest crossing of the trip was only knee deep, and all the other significant creek crossings during the day were similarly low.

The last sections are a real mixed bag of nice runnable trail, scrambling along the lakeshore, hiking up scree slopes and really rugged singletrack. I was actually feeling good here and powered through this stuff quite well. The infamous Cottonwood hike-a-bike section sure is easier when you are not carrying a bike!

I stopped the clock in 10:48:40 at the Kings Throne trailhead parking lot. I had a parked vehicle waiting for me, hopped in and immediately headed to Frosty Freeze for poutine and ice cream.

I filled up in the creeks. I only carried one bottle with me as water sources are abundant. I didn't bring any real food just a bunch of Clif Bars, Little Debbies and some trail mix.

It was an awesome day, probably one of my favorite trail runs ever. Thanks to Peter, Buzz and the whole crew behind the scenes!