1d 13h 33m
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 20:45:19 EDT Reply-To: SuzannePomeroy@AOL.COM Sender: Ultrarunning <ULTRA@LISTSERV.DARTMOUTH.EDU> From: Paul Pomeroy <SuzannePomeroy@AOL.COM> Subject: Kokopelli Trail Account The short story: Ran the Kokopelli Trail in Utah (147 miles) solo no crew in 37:33 on 4/13 and 4/14. The longer story: I had been thinking of a long trail run in the desert for a while, but the White Rim trail near Moab had always sprung to mind. On an outing in early April it occurred to me that the Kokopelli would be a bit easier to self support and perhaps a grander undertaking. After several minutes of judicious reflection it was settled - Kokopelli for my 41st birthday! My initial move was to locate a map I had in the map drawer. Hey - this thing looks long. I polled the internet - no info on previous attempts. I called local runners of great repute. They informed me that they knew of no successful attempts. One effort had been thwarted by a failure to contact crew a little over halfway. So I guess if I finish I get the speed record by default. I arranged for a four day weekend. I packed my supplies in 5 gallon buckets carefully labeled with the name of the road access point. Into the buckets went Gatorade, water, fig newtons, pizza, coke, beer, fruit, candy bars, and some other stuff. I left directly from work and made the six hour drive to a point near the start. Up late the next morning and into town for coffee and a feed and then off to provision the trail. I successfully stash my stuff, catch a ride to the start and bed down for a four am start. 5 am actually sounds more reasonable in the morning. I hide my sleeping bag and set off. I miss the first turnoff and spend an hour running a three mile interpretive trail loop and wondering where the trail is. I vow this will be my only navigational error, it is. Finally back on the trail I settle down to business. I run conservatively and the first day goes by slowly. Beautiful desert scenery, highs in the eighties. At nightfall I've done maybe half the trail. The tough stuff is yet to come. I've identified the crux as a section of 43 miles I will have to do on what I can carry, which I will start around midnight. I hit the bucket right at midnight and seriously consume fuel. I jam a bottle of Gatorade and all the food that will fit into my Camelback and set off up a long hill promising myself I will walk. I do. Sunrise in Fisher Valley is magnificent if cold. A ten minute catnap in the dirt at 5 am staved off the drowsy feeling and I am feeling ready for the second half of the long stretch to the Castle Valley Road stash. It is reassuring to find I can still run the downhills and even some flats at his point and I am optimistic I can pull this off. I make Castle Valley at 1:30 and know I've got it in the bag - a paltry 21 miles remaining. The final descent seems endless but I am elated to have finished. The total time is well below my estimate of 40 hours despite the bonus loop. After an excellent night's sleep I remove my buckets, head home, and make it to my job as a finish carpenter by 7 am the next morning. This was a great outing. The scenery, the nature of the trail, and the solitary nature of the experience created an unforgettable experience. PS: the 3 mile bonus loop rounded the mileage out to 150, making the math a bit easier for calculating average pace. 150 miles has a nice ring to it.