FKT: Brian Fagundes - Emerald and Sapphire Lakes, Trinity Alps Wilderness (CA) - 2020-11-12

Route variation
out & back
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
7h 15m 31s
GPS track(s)

Thanks Nate for the inspiration to turn another Trinity Alps backpacking classic into an FKT fun run!

This was day three of running classic routes in the Trinities. The night before I wasn't sure how my legs would feel getting up at 4AM in freezing temps. Snow was coming and I had the day to get up to the lakes and back. I set out in the dark bundled up and asking my body to forgive me for what I was about to do.

The trail was blanketed in a colorful sea of fallen leaves as I trotted along. Contouring with the creek canyon, the trail weaves in and out of multiple tributary drainages providing a nice ebb and flow of ups and downs. It was difficult to keep going as the number of massive evergreen trees growing along the trail begged to be taken in. As the sun hit the peak tops, I struggled to keep my hydration system from freezing. Getting to Emerald Lake I soaked in the lovely warming sunshine. The trail around the lake was thick with brush, which normally would be no problem with hiking pants or warmer temperatures.

The highlight was cruising through the rocky scree field between the lakes along a mostly there trail surrounded by craggy peaks, glaciated cirques, and alpine lakes. After taking in the Sapphire Lake views of towering peaks it was time to turn around and head back. Thin clouds were developing and wind was starting to pick up but fortunately I was treated to a mostly sunny run back down.

I was overjoyed with the opportunity to run this trail, free of snow and crowds. This was by no means a speedy effort. I wanted to establish this as a mountain marathon (plus a mile or two) for any other folks interested in longer forays. I hope many others will make the journey to run with the creeks, bridges, towering and colorful trees, summertime wildflowers, meadows, craggy peaks, granitic basins, and alpine lakes.

This was my first FKT route I established. Thanks for the inspiration all you amazing runners out there and to the GR crew for the 2020 support!

Be kind, smile deeply, and run freely.