Winter never really got here this year. The warm, dry weather has left lots of high elevation bare, so Luke, Ben, and I headed out towards the Mt St Helens blast zone last weekend to run among the broken trees and exposed, dusty trails. It was my first time so close to the old volcano – and it was a sight, for sure!
The Route – Boundary Trail #1
We started at the Hummocks trailhead just down the road from the Johnstone Ridge Observatory (the road up to the observatory is closed for the season). We spent a lot of time on Boundary Trail #1, running headfirst into the ripping winds as we headed towards Coldwater Peak. The plan was to head into the Mt Margaret Backcountry and loop around back to Coldwater Lake. The conditions ended up a little more snowy than expected. Combined with the steepness of some of the trails, we decided to double-back after about 14 miles and take a different route to the lake. We ended up running about 25 miles with 6000 feet of gain on our abbreviated course. Still a tough day, even if a little shorter than planned!
The views were stunning. The small snowfields also allowed for some fun glissades! There were some tough climbs, although I think the toughest were going to be back in the section we skipped. We’ll have to get back here in the summer once the (admittedly limited) snow is gone.
(Thanks Luke for some of these shots)