Posted by: Matt | August 7, 2009

Stafford Creek to Navajo Pass #1359

Whoopee! This evening’s run turned out to be a really good one although it was kind of hot when I started out. It was just Pepper and me. Gigi and Tess needed some time off, so I took the wind-up puppy and we tried some place new.

Pepper is asking for your HaT support

Pepper is asking for your HaT support

The Falcon trail guide I was using seems a little off (lists the climb as moderate difficulty). The climb from the trail head was steep enough in places to reduce me to a very labored and slow pace which, if I’m feeling generous, barely qualified as a run. There is lots of horse traffic on this trail so be ready for the fine dirt that comes with it, but otherwise the whole thing is a delight. Especially if you like going up.

Through the trees

Through the trees

We took off like gang busters. Pepper’s wild hair had infected me and with her running on my heals I was driving my legs and lungs as hard as I could. Sweet was pouring from my head as we pushed up switch backs and I used my handkerchief to wipe my face until it was saturated. The really good news is that the trail follows the creek bed fairly closely all the way up the valley. We’d pause, she’d drink I’d wipe off and we’d go again.

The view from the pass

The view from the pass

Near the top of the run there is a really beautiful meadow lined on three sides by dwarfed trees and on the forth side by rocks. There was a backpacker camping near the edge of the trees so I quietly trucked on around the meadow and headed up the rest of the hill. The last couple of hundred feet of climbing is like walking on the moon. There are no plants and the ground seems stark and barren, but is shades of purple and red and was kind of nice to look at even though it was steep to climb.

Matt can be nasty

Matt can be nasty

The trail switches back and forth a couple of times right below the pass which means you can’t see what’s on the other side until you pop up on the narrow bench. Then you have too much to look at. It’s beautiful! I’m definitely going back here sometime soon with the intent of continuing on after the pass.

The way back down

The way back down

The way back down was more or less uneventful. We saw a bear on the other side of the valley at one point, but he and we continued on our way without pausing to great each other. Pepper was super good on tonight’s run and healed the whole way. She did herself some credit this day and was treated accordingly when we got home.

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