Tim and I got up to our campsite on the Umpqua well after dark and had just enough energy to pop the top, walk the dogs and climb into bed. We stayed at a new campground and luckily found a site so we could open the slider to face the river.
The Umpqua is truly a special place for us. It was the place Tim proposed, it is the River we have rafted with friends and family, it is the river Tim got hurt and it is the trail that is my favorite. I don’t think I could live here but it is our favorite place to recharge.
We slept well and also wanted to enjoy the morning and not rush so before heading out on the trail, we made coffee and ate our favorite pumpkin cookies with brown sugar frosting from Sweet Life and some homemade granola. The only thing that would have made the morning better was our Ugg Boots. The morning was a little cool and I ended up having breakfast with a blanket wrapped around my feet.
We planned to start at Mott Bridge trailhead and run down the river for at least 5 miles so Tim could get 10 in, and then the plan would be for me to continue on the Calf section with Buddy while Tim made camp by the river at Canton to soak his legs and let Lilly rest. Running on the Umpqua trail is some of the most enjoyable running there is, not because it’s easy, but because of the beauty. It‘s hard not to want to stop and watch the river, or wait for the fly fisherman to make the catch.
Just before the turn around Tim spotted a sign which I had seen many times that said “Homestead” with an up arrow. “Wanna go?” he said. Uphills don’t phase me now especially because the race I’m about to do has 20,000ft of elevation gain/loss, so this being a training run, I said “Sure!” Up we went, and up and up. It was a mile uphill exactly. Sometimes we had breaks with switch-backs, but for the most part it looked like a trail going directly up the hill – pretty intense. When we got to the cabin, we took just enough time to drink copious amounts of water and have some calories before heading down. For both of us, downhill is not our favorite but we decided to take it slow and try our best not to get hurt.
Back on the trail, it was an easy rolling grade, slightly uphill the whole way back to the van. At the Mott Creek trailhead there is a water spigot which makes it an ideal place to fill up for another section. Here, Buddy and I said goodbye to Tim and Lilly and planned to meet in 2 hours which would allow me to easily run another 10 miles. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at my watch correctly and down the trail I noticed I only had 1 hour before we were scheduled to meet. I decided to run as fast and as hard as I could with the goal being to get to the waterfall where he proposed and then head back. I knew if I was a little late he wouldn’t be worried, but an hour late and he’d be running up the trail in search mode. It was a quiet run, Buddy and I saw only 2 hikers in the last 1/8 mile of the trail which surprised me because usually I see a few mountain bikers. We made it to the waterfall and after Buddy had a chance to cool his feet in the water, we turned around.
When we got back to the Mott trailhead, we headed out to the highway to run the road to Canton Creek campground which was the agreed upon meeting place. As I crossed the bridge, I looked over and there was Tim sitting in the creek “icing” his legs. Lilly was close by up to her chest in the cold water. What a great sight. I ended up with only 17 miles for the day, but because of the good effort, I was happy to be back at camp.
I joined Tim in the creek and after my 20 min. icing, changed into some warm dry clothes, drank some beer, ate some chips and promptly fell asleep in the sun. After sweating in tech gear for many hours, there is nothing better than warm cotton clothes!