Photos on Strava!
What an adventure. This is no doubt one of the most beautiful trails that I've run. Decided to go for this at the recommendation of Sean Haworth, who I would consider to be somewhat of an expert on the area.
Started off at Two Pan trailhead at 10:52am. I had a little less that two liters of water with about 400 calories of Tailwind, and a smattering of Spring Energy Gels. I could see the fresh snow up high on the peaks and had a sudden realization that I left my gloves at the house... along with my warm layer. I wasn't about to drive the hour back, so I made due with what I had in my car, which was a couple of sun hoodies, and a lightweight wind layer.
The day was crisp but once I got moving I felt perfectly warm. Muddy from the recent storm, the trail followed the Lostine River through lush forest, eventually switchbacking up to high alpine meadows with phenomenal views. The fall colors popped against the granite peaks and grey skies. I kept finding myself slowing down to take it all in.
There were lots of other day-hikers, backpackers and runners on the trail. I even ran into a train of packhorses (twice). I started encocuntering snow about 2.5 miles from the summit. The wind picked up as I gained elevation and the couds started spitting graupel. I ran and hiked through slush and eventually the snow firmed up as I got higher. Luckily, some other adventurers had hiked this way earlier in the morning, otherwise I would not have been able to follow the trail because the snow was starting to get rather deep.
It got colder, the snow got deeper, and the fact that I had no gloves was painfully obvious. I tucked my hands into my sleeves and kept going. I was really loving the wintery feeling and cold air in my lungs after the days of smoke-filled skies. I saw fresh bear prints in the snow about a quarter mile from the summit, I hesitated to keep going, but the prints were headed downhill, away from the snow.
The clouds moved in and the snow came down and it was nearly white-out conditions when I reached the summit. My face was frozen and my hands were numb, but I was full of stoke. I wish that I had been able to enjoy the views from up there, but I couldn't see anything! I spent a grand total of 2 minutes and 45 seconds on the summit. Of course the clouds cleared and the sun came out as I was headed down. The whole jog out was uneventful, but done with a big smile on my face... which may have been frozen on at the summit :)
Pack: Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta
Shoes: Salomon Speed Cross (great in the snow!)