My first out of state FKT! (Hip, hip, hooray for being fully vaccinated!!!)
Also, possibly my favorite FKT ever. ? Not long enough to bring the kind of highs (or lows) some others have given me (Mohawk/AT loop, for example)... but unbelievably fun!! Maybe I should try my hand at OCR, because I LOVED this!! There is some bouldering, some ropes, some body-prop (thanks, ANW training!) over natural water “obstacles” deep in the canyons. So cool.
Bonnie Lathrop - if you ever get out to Utah, you would rock this!
Let me reiterate what the men who have run this FKT said: visit it before you run it hard. Michael and I jogged/hiked it the day before, slowly, and had a lot of fun. Most of the photos I included were from our visit the day before my FKT, so you can get a better sense of what it was like than my mid-activity photos could provide. Our hike gave me the confidence I needed to trust the ropes and have a better idea of how slippery the sand/rock faces were. I felt a lot more nervous on some of the descents the first time I did it.
I got there early on Saturday morning, and was coming out of Dang canyon just as the first group of people entered it. Saw big groups preparing to start when I drove out, and passed 6 cars in the first bumpy mile of the drive out. So if you do this on a weekend day - go early!!
I prioritized safety over speed, because we were on vacation, I was alone with no reception, and I had the rental car while my husband was sleeping an hour away. Shaving a couple minutes more off my time wasn't worth having an accident. Functionally this meant using my hands when I might be tempted just to run/leap down rock faces, and carrying over a liter of water, a first aid kit, and an in-reach mini in case I had an accident. I would normally not carry anything on such a short route.
The first time we did this, we avoided touching the water that settles in the deepest parts of the canyons by propping ourselves up on both sides of the canyon walls, but I thought I might try just wading through it instead during my FKT attempt in order to save time. That was fine in Ding Canyon... but the water in Dang is DEEP. I waded through the first one but it was up to my waist and stinky, so I scaled my way over the second two. I'd recommend against trying that.
I usually use my Garmin data and just have Strava running on my phone as a backup, but the Strava GPS points did less chaotic bouncing inside the canyon than my Garmin did, so I’m using this one. I looked around a lot on Strava to see if I could find a faster female time, but I couldn't find one. Normally it's easier, but with the GPS tracks bouncing inside the canyons so much it was hard to get accurate results from segments.
This route is a blast and I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Mad props on this effort! Stoked that you loved pushing on this loop!
Thank you for such a thoughtful reiteration of the rehearse first, fast second...it really is more fun that way anyhow (plus you can get those epic photos)