About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed one 100 miler and numerous other ultramarathon trail races and marathons. I ran a 5K once.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Flora in my Desert

Spring is a great time to hit the trail in the desert. All winter long I brave cold and darkness to keep my running routine going. Everything looks brown and dead in the mountains of the Desert Southwest and our only respite is the occasional dusting of snow which brightens up the landscape. When winter finally breaks, strong winds and dust storms plague us, but at least the temperatures rise and wildflowers and cacti start to show their stuff.

I’ve had some great training runs in our Franklin Mountains here in El Paso, TX in the last several weeks. To get ready for the Jemez Mountain 50 Miler I’ve been training on North Franklin Peak (7192’). Several friends joined me on an epic trip up to the summit and then all the way around the mountains for a total of 32 miles. 

The remoteness of the route requires us to stash water beforehand so I went out with my dogs to drop some on the North end of the state park. I actually enter from New Mexico and run a three mile trail into Texas. Surprisingly when I arrived at my usual cache location, I found a cooler half buried in the ground, marked with an orange pennant and full of bottled water. The park rangers recently started to stock it for mountain bikers, hikers or any other lost souls who may stumble upon it. Nevertheless, I added some of my water and a few gatorades to their supply and also hide some in my secret spot. 

The trip around the mountain range was brutal with several long steep climbs, jagged rocks everywhere and loose gravel that made the footing slippery at times. The sun and temperature got the best of us as the day wore on and we were definitely ready for the gatorades when we arrived at mile 22. After rehydrating we made a climb back over the mountains and descended the other side. Usually we run into a little yard gnome on the way down, but I didn’t see him anywhere and fear that he was swept into Hitt Canyon during heavy monsoon rains last summer. Very sad indeed. 

Indian Paintbrush

The best part of a heavy monsoon season though, is the color it brings in the spring when wildflowers flourish. The drab lifeless desert transforms into something that could rival your local botanical garden. You just may have to look a little harder and get down on your hands and knees from time to time, but the reward is well worth the effort. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. 

See you on the trail.

Hedgehog Cactus

Texas Rainbow Cactus

Shaggy stenandrium

Prickly pear cactus new growth
Desert phlox

Monday, March 31, 2014

Bataan Memorial Death March 2014

I’m shivering uncontrollably with thousands of others as we wait for the opening ceremony of the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range, NM. I mistakenly relied on the weather report this morning figuring I’d be warm enough. Usually I pack a few extra layers in my bag, but thought heat would be more of an issue today. I wander around the soccer field and stumble upon a few of my fellow Team Red, White and Blue members and some Run El Paso Club friends. We huddle together and share the misery while waiting for the race to start.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sierra Vista Trail 50K

The sun is just barely up when I arrive at the base of the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces, NM to run the Sierra Vista Trail 50K. After I pick up my bib number I sit in my warm car and read the morning paper. Shouldn’t I be stretching, warming up or otherwise preparing to run to the next town and back? Nah, I’ll warm up in the first 5 miles.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Lumix Long Zoom Camera

With Spring finally in the air, I’ve been out on the trail testing out my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS25 point and shoot camera. I chose this make and model because it has a powerful optical zoom (20X) for a point and shoot, yet is small enough for me to take on my running adventures. Some day I’d like to get a professional camera with plenty of fancy lenses, but that would require ample time to learn how to use it not to mention plenty of money. Therefore I’ll put that hobby off until I’m too feeble to run.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sugarloaves’ Ultra Vista Trail 60K

If you had told me that I could attempt a 60K trail race last week I would have thought you were nuts. I guess I’m the one who’s insane because, despite having run the Bandera 50K a few weeks ago, I started the Sugarloaves’ Ultra Vista trail run in Vado, NM this past weekend.

Bishop Cap

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bandera 50K Race Report

As my cell phone sits in a puddle of water on the floor of my dew soaked tent I dread the task of going through my pre-race ritual. It’s dark and cold outside and the last thing I want to do right now is emerge from my toasty cocoon. 

I need to get going soon though. Last night at packet pickup I observed 10 porta-potties and in one hour we will have 1000 runners here all wanting to lighten their loads before they hit the trail. Do the math in your head and you will quickly realize that you don’t want to be at the back of that line.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fillmore Canyon

They say this canyon is haunted. Not far from here are the ruins of Boyd Tuberculosis Sanatorium where many sick patients spent their last days in the 20th century. Spirits of the dead are said to still lurk here in the Dripping Springs Natural Area in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, NM. (Read my earlier post Dripping Springs.) Another mystery unfolded in this area in the late 1800s when a religious hermit and miracle healer took up residence in a cave nearby despite warnings from locals. Unfortunately they found him near his abode clutching his crucifix with a knife in his back.