thursday evening j., p., and i flew up to anchorage to run a race called 'crow pass crossing'. it's a point-to-point, unsupported trail race that includes one river crossing and covers about 24 miles from girdwood to eagle river. p.'s sister c. and her husband live in anchorage, and they'd offered to let us stay at there place while were were up there.
the plan was to get there thursday night; bum around anchorage on friday, go to the mandatory pre-race meeting friday night, race saturday, and then j. and i were going to catch the red-eye back to san francsico at 1:00 a.m. sunday.
p.'s brother a., who lives in the phillipines, had also flown in for the race, and p., c., and a.'s mom and her partner had flown in from austin as well, so it was a big family thing, and there was going to be a big bbq blow-out after the race.
we got into anchorage at about 10:30 p.m., and after some minor hassles with the car-rental folks were driving through the late-evening sunlight to c. and p.'s house, where we crashed almost immediately after introductions were made.
friday we had breakfast, then took off to run a bunch of errands and buy food for dinner. we'd been able to catch a glimpse of denali (about 120 miles away) the previous evening, but on friday the visibility was minimal and there was a strong smell of smoke. we learned that there was a fire across cook inlet, and the smoke was sitting in the valley with no wind to clear it out.
after the errands we went back to the house, did some prep for dinner, and drove to the u. of a. campus for the pre-race meeting.
the race was postponed for one week due to air-quality and visibility issues.
two hours after the meeting the smoke cleared out completely, and didn't put in appearance for the rest of our visit.
let me retiterate: argh.
the silver lining was that we got to go see c. sing that evening; she's a classically trained singer who's recently started singing jazz standards, and not even the crappy sound system or the mediocre band could hide the fact that she's a talented singer with a truly lovely voice.
we decided to go for a nice long run on saturday as a consolation prize, and after much consultation and poring over maps and phone calls we had a route. we set off saturday morning around 8:00 in perfect running weather; cloudy and cool with a bit of a breeze.
every thing was great until we got to the top of williwaw pass, where it got seriously cold and windy. since, like idiots, we hadn't bothered bringing layers or windreakers or anything sensible like that, things got pretty uncomfortable. add in a sky that looked like it was going to start dumping rain any second and you had a group of unhappy runners.
thngs got better as soon as we reached the valley floor though, and from there on the rest of the run was wonderful. j. headed back to the car after about 3 hours, and p. and i went on to climb the misleadingly-named 'near point' mountain before returning to to car.
we were out for around 4.5 hours, climbed 5000' and covered about 22 miles (my best guess for the distance based on time).
the bbq was wonderful; tons of food, interesting people, kids running around all over the place, tons of food, home-brewed beer, tons of food... you get the idea.
the flight back was a slog, as red-eyes are, and i was happy to get home, but i'm going back to anchorage next year for the race, check back then for an update.
on the climb up willwaw pass
looking back from the pass
looking towards the head of the valley
the route down the back side
one of the williwaw lakes
looking back up the valley with wolverine peak in the background.