FKT: Zan Zirbel - Three Fingered Jack Loop (OR) - 2020-08-12

Route variation
Loop Around
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 58m 47s
GPS track(s)

I hadn't planned to set a new FKT when I set out this morning but I knew the time and around mile 15 I knew I had a shot and figured I'd go for it!

I set out at first light, roughly 6:10am from the Santiam Pass Trailhead and ran clockwise starting on the PCT and ending on the Old Summit Trail #4014. This was my first time at Three Fingered Jack and the sandy trail was a surprising change from the surfaces I normally run on. I made the Climb to TFJ Relatively quickly then decended to the Minto Pass Trail, which connects to the Old Summit Trail #4014, with relative easy. The cooler weather and cloud cover were a definite advantage since the majority of the route is very exposed. After making my way to the east side of TFJ via the Old Summit Trail #4014 it was a quick decent to the Jackie Lake Trailhead Parking lot where the trail begins to climb again. Then I hit the endless rolling hills, climbing and decending at a good pace through the old burned forest in the Jefferson Wilderness - there were some very dangerous snags that I saw as I ran, luckily there wasn't much wind. Reaching Square Lake at about the 18 miles my legs and lungs burned but I knew I was about 2 miles from the trailhead - which also meant more water, a seat, and food - so I pushed on, keeping an eye on my watch. I hit the PCT relatively quickly and was somewhat surprised. Once on the PCT I gave one last push, putting as much speed behind each stride as I could. 

And then, It was over and I had set this new FKT. So I took a selfie with my watch then lumbered to my car for some water and a much needed rest.

I carried water, a filter, and a few snacks. Ended up not eating any of the snacks and didn't have to filter water either. If you plan to run this there aren't many water sources past the halfway point so either bring all the water you need or make sure to stop at the first creek crossing at about mile 11-12.

The Jefferson Wilderness is gorgeous and this loop did not disappoint. It is worth the run, hike, or backpack.