I want to get this out to everyone officially before it gets too much closer. My wife and I just had our second child a couple days ago so I wasn't sure how getting up on the Rim for a full day was going to play out.
There also is a fire, the General Fire, that has been burning on the course for a couple weeks now and the Fred Haught Trail (also the Arizona Trail along that section) has been off limits during this burn. It is a controlled burn started from lightning but nonetheless still burning and affects several of our usual training loops. It should be opened back up mid-August...hopefully and will not affect the course come race day.
August 9th we'll meet at Washington Park Trailhead, our race headquarters and the location of Aid Station Mile 28, 54, and 87. It's 2 hours from my house on Northern and the 51 in Phoenix or 25 minutes from the Payson McDonald's. You can easily reach Washington Park following the signs for Houston Mesa across from the Home Depot in Payson. There are multiple signs labeling Washington Park along the way. I also have directions on this site. I'd paste them on here but I'm holding a newborn and typing this on my phone while she sleeps. I know, magic.
From Washington Park we will head east on the Highline Trail towards what will be Hell's Gate Aid Station (mile 58) on the way to the 3rd ascent of the Mogollon Rim, the Myrtle Trail. We'll climb up the long, rugged Myrtle Trail to the top of the Mogollon Rim to the Rim Road #300. We'll take a couple easy miles at around 8,000 feet on the road to what is on race day, Buck Springs Aid Station, mile 65 on race day.
Normally on race day you enter the forest on Barbershop Trail and head north on the U-Bar Trail towards Pinchot Cabin. If we did that on August 9th I'm pretty sure you'd have to carry me out so we're going to cut across Barbershop trail all the way to Houston Brothers. You'll thank me for this since while this isn't part of the actual race, it's one of the most awesome trails ever. Seriously, it's pretty awesome. Chest high ferns, huge open green meadows covered with chest high daisies and some really fun ups and downs that under the right amount of caffeinated gels, makes you remember all over again why you love running.
Put simply, it's one of my favorite trails ever.
Once we hit Houston Brothers we'll head up to the end of the Rim where we would hit mile 79 of the race at Houston Brothers AS and the Rim Road. We'll run down (ish) the 4.5 miles along the edge of the Rim all the way back to the Arizona Trail. We'll descend down the 2 mile's to finish back at Washington Park and our cars.
I think it's about 24-26 miles total. Or maybe it's 28...I've never really paid much attention to the actual miles. What's an extra mile or two? :)
It's an 7 hour group run, faster runners can get back much sooner once we hit Houston Brothers and it's a couple easy turns back to the cars. All paces are welcome as long as you are aware of the terrain and level of difficulty this course maintains throughout each mile. This has about 5k in climbing total for the entire route. Maybe 6k, who knows? :)
I can help drive up a few runners from Phoenix if anyone wants to meet at the Wendy's parking lot on Shea just before the 87 at 4:30am.
We'll start out at 6:30am from Washington Park Trailhead. Expect to be back to your car around 1:30-2:30pm. Please make sure to bring sufficient water for the full distance, there will not be any locations to refill water except streams. You're welcome to pull from those at your own risk.
August is full on monsoon season as many of the locals are well aware of. But if you haven't been up on the Rim in August before it's a near guarantee that at 2pm we'll start getting massive thunderheads and sudden major lightening storms. Multiple times I've been overheating one minute and then huddled under a bush, several inches of water rushing down the trail and doing everything I can to get my body temperature back up. Bring a rain jacket. Just in case. It's only 8,000 feet up but the Mogollon Rim creates its own weather and the area gets pummelled with hail with little to no notice. Better be prepared.
Shoot me an email or FB message if you think you're going to attend so I know who is coming and how much water and post run snacks to bring for when we finish.
Hope to see you up there!