Chris and I started our run from Denny Creek at 8:03 am. Temps were in the mid 20 degrees. I always choose to run the road section of this loop first, in an attempt to avoid traffic (which seems mostly comprised of nervous fifth wheel/RV drivers). We maintained an 8:30ish pace for those first three downhill road miles, then put our poles to good use on the next uphill section. Not much running here, just a sustained power hike. After the pass, it’s a smooth, fast three miles downhill (1/2 mile of which was in about an inch or two of snow). Once we hit the dirt road, it’s about 50/50 with the run and walk combo. We hit the trailhead a couple minutes ahead of schedule, so we ate some snacks and filtered some water from the stream on the trail. At this point, we had only seen three hikers. The hardest part of this route for me is the final half mile until you crest over Brown’s Pass. It’s slow, steep, and snowy at this point. I was looking forward to the downhill from the pass, until I saw how much snow we would be in. At one point, we lost the trail due to snow and tried to just maintain an ankle-deep trudge (a lot of work with little speed to show for it). Just 100 meters later, we were able to spot the trail and got right back on it. At that point, we knew we would break the current 5:18 record, as long as we didn’t get hurt, so we maintained a caution run on that technical stretch, finishing in the same parking lot we had started in just 5 hours and 5 minutes ago! Such a beautiful run. What a fantastic loop!
5h 5m 56s