FKT: Ashly Winchester - Mt. McLoughlin Circumnavigation (OR) - 2020-09-20

Athletes
Route variation
Circumnavigation + Summit
Multi-sport
No
Gender category
Female
Style
Self-supported
Start date
Finish date
Total time
11h 48m 29s
GPS track(s)
Report

Beautiful day! I kept putting this effort off because of the smoke. As soon as I got a clear window I took advantage of it to run the summit and circumnavigation.

I started and ended at the intersection of the PCT and the summit trail so that I could distinctly separate the summit from the circ. This meant that I had to hike 1.4 miles in before I could even start my 36+ mile run, then have to hike out another 1.4 afterwards. I hiked in with two packs; one for the summit and one for the circ. That way I knew I could carry enough water for both, and I could leave extra water, layers, and snacks behind for the hike out.

I went pretty easy up the mountain. I had never climbed McLoughlin before and wanted to enjoy it, but also conserve some energy for the circ. It went smoothly. I was told that it can feel "spicy" but I thought it was pretty cruiser. I couldn't find a summit market at the top, and was later told that there used to be one but it's disappeared. I signed the register and headed back down.

My feet were already hot and painful after coming down the mountain, but I decided to continue on with the circumnavigation anyway. I chose to go counter-clockwise in order to get the more "bushwhacky" trail out of the way early on. I took off on the PCT headed North for about 4 miles. PCT miles always seem kind of cruiser to me because it's such a well-traveled trail. The Twin Lakes trail got a bit bushwhacky and required some routefinding. the trail kind of comes and goes. Perhaps it's easier to follow going the other direction. It was a relief to get back on well-trodden trail again, and then I was able to find a good groove on the gravel road after that. My feet totally blew up on the 9 mile stretch of uphill paved road. I love my Salomon Speed Cross shoes, but they aren't really meant for pavement and the blacktop was a little unexpected 😅 Towards the end of the pavement section, a worried person pulled over and warned me that there have been some mountain lion sightings in the area recently... So that was on my mind as I headed back onto the trail and the sun started to set. I refilled my water at a faucet at the Fish Lake Campground and started using Tailwind from here. I was pretty sure my toes were falling off at this point, which was a great distraction from the eyes looking at me from the dark forest. I blasted music and sang my heart out and had solo dance parties as I tried my best to keep my swollen, blistered feet shuffling towards the end. My phone died about 0.2 mi from the finish. Once I arrived, I stopped my watch, took a minute to breathe (cue full body cramping here), then talked myself into starting the 1.4 mile hike out in the dark without my music to distract me. Overall, it was a hot, dry, rough day for me, but the skies were blue, there was no smoke in the air, and I was outside running... that's always a win in my book.

Gear:

Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta

Salomon Speed Cross Shoes

Outdoor Research Echo sun hoody

Nutrition:

Spring Energy Gels (Speed Nut is my fave)

Spring Energy Electroride hydration mix

Huma Gels

Cliff Shotblocks

Tailwind (started using at water refill)