06 November 2012

A Run with a View

Several months of running injuries, traveling, moving, and general disruption has left me a little out of sorts. The immediate tasks at hand--winterizing a new/old home, the transition to two new spaces (Boise, Carey), helping with cattle--have pretty much exhausted all waking hours and daylight. It is with great comfort and pleasure, then, to find myself settling into a new routine and a new routine means the ability to carve enough time in the day for a run.

For me, running, especially if it involves hills, views, and dirt roads or trails, provides the same kind of mind-cleaning, heart-jumping, muscle-shocking experience that ski-touring offers, only without the time commitment or avalanche gear. So I've found my new routine and it's a good one: a circuit of ten kilometers in total starting at an elevation of 4,797 feet, maxing at 5,449 feet, and with a total gain of 1,014 feet. Respectable and only a six-minute drive from the house. Or, in other words, in conjunction with coffee it's the best way to start a day and an assurance of a sound night's sleep.

Topographically, the run begins on the backside of what is known as the Queen's Crown, a tapered band of cliffs that defines the pass on Highway 20 between Carey and Picabo. The road climbs through public access State land to a ridge line that drops back down to Highway 20 with an optional steep-ass pitch straight to the top of the Queen's Crown. It's a hump of earth situated between the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains and the extinct lava flows of the Snake River Plain. The road is rough, it's rocky, it's completely deserted, and it makes me happy.

The starting line and optional steep-ass pitch to the Queen's Crown backside:

On top of the Queen's Crown facing east toward Carey; the Craters of the Moon National Monument is off to the south; Blizzard Mountain is the high peak:

Looking west off the Queen's Crown with the Queen's Crown Ranch in the foreground; the Hidden Crown Ranch above; the Susie Q Ranch tucked into the right side of the bend in the highway; Picabo up the highway; and on toward the sprawling kingdom of Bud Purdy:

A mellow mini-mix for dusty sagebrush runs: