FKT: Paul Pomeroy - Kokopelli Trail (CO, UT) - 2002-04-14

Route variation
one way
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
1d 13h 33m 0s
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

            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.