Trip Report: June 8, 2022
Steven Wagoner Unsupported FKT Attempt
Ramona Falls, Oregon
My wife and I first hiked the Ramona Falls trail when my son, Forrest was 3 years old. It was slow going, and he eventually wore out. I had to carry him on my shoulders most of the way back to the car. I don’t even remember if we made it to the water falls. I’ve since hiked the Ramona Falls trail more than a dozen times, but I would never have imagined that 28 years later, that I’d be back to attempt to run the fastest known time at age 63, but here I was.
The Ramona Falls trailhead is only 10 miles from our house, and when I saw that someone had established a fastest know time, I knew I had to give it a go. The tricky part of this hike is always the river crossing over the Sandy River. Since the bridge washed away many years ago, the Forest Service has never attempted to replace it. They use to have a helicopter lift the bridge to high ground in the Fall, and then have it moved back into place in late Spring, but the bridge got washed away one year, and the Forest Service never replaced it. Hikers are now left to try and get across the Sandy River as best they can. Some years there are logs that have washed down the river and hikers can walk or scoot across, but every year is a little different. Some years are easier than other years.
I actually hiked out to the river crossing the day before my fkt attempt, just to make sure that I would be able to get across. The same big log everyone used last year, was still there, but it had shifted a little. It actually looked a little easier than last year, but still most people straddle the log, and scoot across on their butt, including me. It’s very intimidating to try and walk across a smooth round log that is 6 feet above a raging river.
After my usual pre-run stretching, I put on my running vest, started my watch, and began my run. The first mile out to the river crossing is relatively flat and sandy, and easy to run. A short way down the trail is the wilderness boundary, and I dropped my wilderness permit in the box and continued my run. I got to the river and scooted across the big log on my butt.
I kept to the right at the trail junction, now following the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail gets steeper and rockier, but still pretty runnable, with good views of Mt. Hood. I made it to beautiful Ramona Falls, snapped a picture, and continued down the loop trail along Ramona Creek. This section along the creek is really nice, but it’s pretty technical for running, with lots of rocks and roots.
Doing calculations in my head, I knew I would have to finish strong to have a chance at breaking the current fastest known time. When I got to the log crossing, I jumped up on the log, and walked all the way across to save time. The last mile to the trailhead was by far my fastest section, and I let out a holler when I hit the trailhead and stopped my watch. I had beat the fkt time by 2 minutes and 54 seconds. Time to Celebrate!
High Mountain Rambler
Ramona Falls Running Statistics:
Watch: Suunto Ambit 3
Date: Wednesday June 8, 2022
Start Time: 12:30 pm
Distance: 7.29 miles
Total Elapsed Time: 1h 38m 24s
Average mph: 4.5 mph / Max mph: 7.1 mph / Average rpm: 71
Average Pace Per Mile: 13:28 / Max Pace: 8:30 / Fastest Mile: 9:54
Elevation Gain: 1,056’ / Elevation Loss: 1,017’ / Kcal: 766