East to West.
Started at 8am on Monday Nov 19 at the east entrance. I started with Hayden Hawks (men's current FKT holder) and Abby Levene (who ended up running behind us on her own shortly into the run). I started the run overdressed since it was 26F, but reached 40F by 9:30am (I'm guessing). II left the Grotto picnic area at 1:40, after taking 3-5min to use porta potty, drink liquid and change out of my tights and soaking wet shirts. The next section was warm, but pleasant and I lolly-gagged a bit up the West Rim, occasionally hiking, but only for a few steps at a time because I knew Joelle is a strong climber and her time was very strong. I got a bit turned around at a Potato hallow sign, I turned around and backtracked unknowingly until I saw campground 6, which I had already passed. I checked my GPX route and then realized what I'd done and corrected myself. At Lava Point (West Rim - Wildcat), Hayden and Brendan were there. I drank a lot and got new bottles, gels and ran the next section with Hayden at ~4:20. It was the most joyous section, Hayden and I just chatting and cruising the whole time. Having Hayden help me with this made a signifiant difference in the experience because he knows everything about this area, the trails and is just such a nice guy and super fun to run with. And passionate about public lands! Then at Hop Valley I used the restroom, reloaded my pack and took off with Brendan ~5:40. The next section is sandy, but not as bad as I expected. Lots of water crossings and I started to have stomach problems, so I stopped eating 7hours in and even though I bonked, I was able to hold off more bathroom stops than the 3 I already took with Brendan (probably only ~5min total). The last two miles were the longest of the route. Very deceiving how you're gradually climbing the whole time and there are countless sandy dry riverbed crossings. I lost my sanity with a half mile to go, thinking I was done, but obviously I wasn't because we hadn't reached the sign yet. Full on delirious finish line! Favorite parts: shadow-sun-light East canyon descent with Hayden, Hop Valley with Brendan. *Note, since the West entrance was closed, we bushwhacked out via a route we scouted the day before from the highway. Not advised without warm clothing because it got very cold after 4pm.
Full report: https://clare.run/2018/12/20/zion-traverse-report/