Table Rock Wilderness

This is looking at Table Rock from the Saddle Trail.

I haven’t been able to find time for the North Umpqua run yet so I decided last weekend to head out to the Table Rock Wilderness. TRW is a beautiful little area. It’s basically a couple of mountain ranges, 3, that extend out from Rooster Rock. Part of what makes TRW so incredible is Pechuck Lookout. It’s a STONE lookout tower. It’s first come first serve and no reservations. It’s a little slice of awesome just outside Molalla.

You can see Helens, Rainier, Adams and Hood in this photo.

It’s a pretty quick little run up to Table Rock from the trailhead. Along this trail there’s a little outcropping of rocks that you can climb up. On the far end there’s a geocache in a green munitions box. I left a little note and took inventory.

Once up to Table Rock I sat and rested for a little while. I chatted with some folks for a little a bit while flip flopping in my head if I should run to Rooster Rock. I hadn’t run this section before and I’d heard stories about how steep it was. I asked a guy and gal to pick a number between 1 and 10. If I was within 2 of their number I would run to Rooster. I chose four immediately. They chose four so onto Rooster I went.

This is from the intersection of the Saddle and High Ridge trails. Looking towards Rooster Rock.

The Saddle Trail really was something else. It definitely isn’t a heavily traveled trail. Parts of it were a bit tricky to follow because of recent vegetation growth. I had to stop quite a few times to figure out where the trail went. Parts of the trail also had some water damage but that’s to be expected.

I didn’t stay at Rooster long. There were 3 people and a cute beagle/dachshund mix. The doggo took to me pretty well. We chatted while I drank some water. I was flip flopping in my head if I should head south to Pechuck Lookout. I asked them to pick a number between 1 and 10. If I’m within 2 I’ll goto Pechuck. I chose 5. They chose 7. Onto Pechuck I went.

Pechuck isn’t in the boundary of the wilderness area. This sign designates the boundary.

Pechuck Lookout is really something else. It’s 2 stories. It has shuddered windows. There’s a deck. A beautiful view. A fire pit. An old bed frame outside. There’s even a wonderful spring a bit downhill from it. The tower itself is well provisioned. 4 benches that double as beds. A well stocked first aid kit. A recent cabin log. I couldn’t find the old one which bummed me out because I’d left some funny entries and I’d wanted to see how folks reacted. Oh well.

I had service up there so I rested for a bit and did some Instagramming. I was running somewhat low on water at this point. I still had to run back.

The journey back was mostly uneventful. I set a good pace and went with it. I was completely out of water by Table Rock. I knew there was a bottle of water in the geocache so I had that to look forward to. I was out of water by the time I got back to my truck though.

Overall I really enjoyed this run. Table Rock is always an amazing experience. You don’t find many casual city folks out here so the conversation is always great. I’d highly recommend Table Rock to anyone looking for a great time. I’m excited to go up there in the snow.  

North Umpqua Trail FKT Planning

My next challenge is going to be the 80 mile North Umpqua Trail.

This trail is a bit special to me. I’ve spent a lot of time on this river but only explored about a third of the actual trail. Terrain wise the trail varies a good amount. The eastern end is up in the Cascades and goes into the river valley as you go west. I’m running downhill on purpose to make it a bit easier but also so my ride doesn’t have to drive as far.

I’ve created a caltopo route for this run. I’ve also put the elevation and slope profiles below so everyone can get a better idea of what it’ll be like.

I’ll have drop bags along the course at various trailheads. Inside the drop bags will be things like Squirrel’s Nut Butter, socks, batteries(at the overnight trailheads) and calories.

Nutrition wise I’ll most likely do cliff bars, nuts and seeds, and possibly some hot food for the overnight portion. Lots of salt too.

I’ll keep everyone updated on the progress of this run. As it looks now I might go do a large portion of it tomorrow. My goal is to run all 80 miles in one go unsupported. This would be an FKT I believe. I can’t find any evidence of running the entire trail.

Below are some photos from previous trips down there.

McKenzie River Trail

Image Credit:

So this last weekend my friend and I decided to run the McKenzie River Trail. It’s a 26 mile trail that goes along the McKenzie River. You get to experience a couple lakes, reservoirs, water falls and tons of amazing bridges.

The McKenzie River Trail has been on my bucket list since I started running. My father and grandfather both grew up along this river. They were the original McKenzie River Rescue team.

The day started off pretty well. It was very cold, probably around 29 or 30F. My truck’s mirrors were covered in ice as was my radio antenna.

As you can see above out time was a bit over 5 and a half hours. I’m pretty happy with that. We could both do quite a bit better, I believe, but we were just out there for the miles and experience. The elevation gain is pretty far off I’m sure.

The entire run was pretty much what I expected. I had a little bit of knee pain that persisted for a day but nothing serious. Overall it was a very fun run and I’m excited to check off a couple more trails before winter really gets here.

Hopefully I’ll have a few exciting developments to announce soon. We’ll see!

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