Took advantage of a good fall weather day before winter weather hits the mountains. What an awesome route! I'd done recon of the first half so knew what to expect but that never makes it easier (VK+ to start with!). Lots of variety on this route. Running surfaces: technical to gravel road, scree to smooth single track. Awesome forest views of the trail cutting through a carpet of bright green moss along rushing creeks to expansive views above treeline of rugged peaks and fall colors. And then that final LONG descent on fatigued legs, and the mentally challenging flat & straight abandoned Dosewallips River road shrouded in fall colors to finish it off.
This route is deal for unsupported outings as there is plentiful water. However you could do it supported with access points at about miles 7, 15, and 21 but really no need. Came across quite a few people on the Lower and Upper Big Quilcene trails, probably out to the see the fall colors as the huckleberry bushes were beautiful. They gave the runner in shorts many warnings about the wind and cold at Marmot Pass, assured them I was prepared. Turned out it was actually snowing lightly with wind so quickly got out the jacket at the pass but it didn't take long to get out of the wind again. The section between Marmot and Constance Passes had amazing views, sort of wished I wasn't pushing the pace at the point, will have to go back and really soak it in sometime.Poor research on my part made me think the climbing was done when I reached Constance Pass but it turned out there's about another 3/4 of a mile and 700' to climb before the leg breaking descent.
Thanks to Isaiah Hemmen for his fast time a few weeks ago, had to up my game a bit. Heading down the last, long, painful decent from Constance Pass I was thinking maybe a sub 10 hour was possible but it wasn't to be. The realization at 3.1 to go that I'd have to run my normal 5K pace in order to make sub-10 brought be back to the painful reality of just finishing as soon as I could.
Dude! Nice work! Thanks for blazing the trail the day before my girlfriend and I went out!
Thanks, and nice work to you both! What a beautiful and challenging course.