It was a perfectly gorgeous and cool morning to set out for a 24 ish mile section of The Bear 100 course, aside from this darn lingering cold. Rob and I met at a little after 6:00 AM at First Dam to drive up to the Beaver Mountain Ski Resort to drop off my rig at our ending point. We spotted a cow and young moose as we departed the Ski Resort parking area. We then headed back down canyon and up to Tony Grove to get started on our adventure. After a quick pre-adventure photo opportunity, we started on trail by 7:30 AM. This would be our only familiar stretch of trail until we reached the trail junction where you can go left to White Pine Lake or go right and follow White Pine Creek to the east through the valley floor. This, in my opinion, was the most gorgeous part of this leg of the course.
Photo cred to Rob for the two above
The photos above are looking toward White Pine Lake from the trail junction and sign.
Running along the valley surrounding White Pine Creek was amazing. The trail was mostly mellow single track, and generally downhill with a few rocky sections. There were a few bike tracks from some recent mountain bikers along the path.
This trail split (pictured above) is roughly 3 miles from the last trail junction, back near White Pine Lake. The trail along this section had a fair amount of loose cobble as well as vegetative cover. We tried to envision how tough this would be after almost 60 miles of running and took a mental note of it (for future pacing duty).
The photo above is one of the fields of Mules Ear (noted in the step-wise course directions) just before reaching the Beaver Pond and plank bridge shown below.
We continued up the two track, as opposed to running to the actual location of the Franklin Basin aid station, as well as said hello to a number of campers set up along the road. We reached a dead end (circle) and picked up the most obvious path through the conifers. There are a number of paths (cattle) in this area so we just continued on what seemed like the correct bearing. We climbed the Steam Mill trail to eventually reach the next Creek Crossing (pictured below).
The step-wise instructions advised that we would cross to the north of the somewhat shortly before our next trail junction AND that if you cross back over the stream from right to left and see an old rusty steam mill boiler, you have gone to far. We luckily, didn't make that mistake however in hindsight, I kind of would have liked to have seen it. Ah well, perhaps on my next casual stroll up there.
We were keeping an eye on the 3.6 mile mark from the last aid station, as this is where an unmarked trail would be. Luckily, for us the Shorty's Cut Off trail had a nice sign. We continued on to Shorty's toward the Logan River/Steep Hollow Aid station.
The views along Shorty's did not disappoint. We did, however, miss a turn or took a wrong turn before reaching Steep Hollow Road. We knew were were off track, but felt confident enough that we'd hit Franklin Basin road soon enough that we didn't turn around and back track. We did, eventually, reach Franklin Basin Road. Luckily, from the actual aid station, you have to run down Franklin Basin Road about 0.6 mi to get to the Logan River Crossing and access the Peterson Hollow trail. As a result, we weren't too terribly far from our next destination.
Photo cred to Rob for the photo above.
After a little bit of back tracking up Franklin Basin Road, we reached the two track that led down to Logan River where we would cross to access Peterson Hollow. This was a welcome break as the day was heating up and we were happy to restock on ice cold mountain water as well as soak our hot and dirty feet. I'd say this time of year, you are pretty much guaranteed to get your feet wet at this crossing.
After our river recharge, we power hiked up Peterson Hollow. The trees tightened around us providing a somewhat eerie effect. Signs of cattle were evident the entire way up, but we didn't see them until we reached the turn off for Long Hollow. There was a cairn as well as flagging at the turn off, however, we had also seen flagging down Hell's Kitchen Canyon, so I might have been skeptical.
After a bit of running, we seemed to be 100 percent on track as we followed along the North side of Long Hollow. We could finally see a few of the Beaver Mountain runs in the distance and felt our adventure coming to an end (as well as Bear Lake raspberry shakes on our horizon). We descended down a rocky path, as the direction specified, but definitely missed the cutoff trail and ended up out on Beaver Creek Road. We cut back through the woods to get on the main paved road to Beaver Mountain and looped back around the the car. What a day! Thanks to Rob, for the company and tolerating my hacking the entire way. Stupid cold.
Unfortunately, we failed to capture an after picture. I will tell you, I had a delicious raspberry shake, coke, and the most amazing corn dog ever. Rob settled with a raspberry shake and Mountain Dew. (To clarify, I actually ate the "extra shake" provided in a small cup and took the larger shake home to the littles. Everyone was happy. Winning.)
Click here for course directions
Here are the course maps for this section of the Bear:
Shoes: Hoka One One Challenger ATR
Pack: Nathan Vapor Shape
Sustenance: Tailwind (started the run with 300 calories worth in my handheld, 1 Kind Bar, Hammer Gel in a soft "GU Brand" reusable bottle, 3 electrolyte capsules. I also started with 2L of water in my pack and refilled my handheld water bottle at our Logan River crossing.
Water filtration: Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System