Friday, December 25, 2009

My Review of REI Double Shot Waist Pack

Originally submitted at REI

When one shot won't do, this lightweight dual hydration belt is perfect for the trails.

Perfect for 30 min or 3 hours.

By Johnnyx from Scottsdale, AZ on 12/25/2009


4out of 5

Gift: No

Pros: Highly Adjustable, Comfortable, Large Capacity

Best Uses: Running

Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer

What Is Your Gear Style: Minimalist

Whether for a shorter run/hike or a multi-hour outing, it's small and comfortable enough to carry plenty of fluids, your food-bars, etc, and even a camera. Liked it so much I bought a couple as gifts for family - good stuff!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Only days left until Rim to Rim to Rim

Did a double Windgate/Bell Passes outing. 2nd loop was tough with the heat, but managed to complete it in about 4 hours 15 minutes.

Also ran into (or almost into) a rattlesnake, what I think was coral snake, this tarantula, 2 deer, and some spiny horned/back lizard/godzilla looking thing who really didnt care that I was standing about 12 inches from it. Great day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ran up to Sunrise Peak - It's getting HOT!

My goodness... getting up at 6:30 won't cut it any more. It was already about 90 degrees and I hadn't even left the house. Got 10 minutes in and my camelback decides to separate itself from the drinkin' tube. Result: at least half my water ended up on the backs of my legs... Didn't want to go home and start over so just went to the top of Sunrise Peak and back - approx 1 hr 15 minutes... Felt like crap today, but that's part of ~getting~ into shape! Hey, at least the views were great!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Finally Did Windgate Pass & Bell Pass

(pic borrowed from "")
Beautiful AZ morning trail run - cooler temps won't be around more than a few more days so a 2-hour run starting at 6:30 was a treat with my buddy, Kyle. Soon it'll need to be 5:00 a.m. starts so we don't die out there in the heat.

As always, the trails were in excellent shape, even came within inches of stepping on a about a 2-foot long snake (non-rattler type). Great to see so many other runners, bikers, and hikers out there this morning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ran up to the first saddle - October Grand Canyon Run is Creeping Up REALLY Fast

Did a later evening run today - temps are rising and it's only a matter of days before it's 100 degrees plus every day until October! Managed to make up to the first saddle (124th and Via Linda (Cactus) trailhead). Also, that's Camelback Mountain over my right hand - will be running up that a few times for my training too.
<--- "WHY? WHY do I let myself get outa shape!?"

Looking back down the trail. It was tough coming up, but the reward is the downhill all the way home. Nice.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Windgate Pass - Bell Pass Loop

Time to get some trail runs under my belt before embarking on some longer ones in the coming weeks. Funny how longer runs will be measure in "hours" instead of "miles".

Going to try the new trailhead in Scottsdale and run around Windgate and Bell Passes. Steep stuff, but a heck of a workout.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Want to Visit the Grand Canyon But Don't Want to Pay?

National parks to offer free admission on 3 summer weekends

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service is looking to stimulate summer vacations at national parks.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday that entrance fees at 147 national parks and monuments — including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite — will be waived on three weekends this summer. The weekends are June 20-21, July 18-19 and August 15-16.

"During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families," Salazar said at a news conference at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. "I encourage everyone to visit one of our nation's crown jewels this summer and especially to take advantage of the three free-admission weekends."

Most Americans live less than a day's drive from.......

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Grand Opening

How lucky are we to have all these trails either in our backyards or within a very short drive? Yep - very lucky. I've run most of these trails from the 104th/Bell parking area (room for maybe a dozen cars at most.), but this provides ever greater access to the 10's of miles of trails in the area.

I took my 3 year-old to this morning's Grand Opening and despite the HUGE parking lot being full (and having to trek 1/2 mi extra each way (uphill, in the snow! Okay, kidding!) with her on my shoulders), it was a very impressive creation.

With plenty of new maps, a kids scavenger hunt, as well as a bald eagle, hawk, and an owl for upclose viewing, there was lots to check out. (The trails were great too!) Also, two rehabilitated hawks were released just as everyone was allowed to cross the metal walkway for the ceremonial "opening" of the trails.

More info can be found the link above, though a big highlight of the project is how "Green" it is: Stabilized granite instead of typical pavement in parking areas, rainwater harvesting fulfilling all of the site's irrigation needs, photovoltaic cells produce enough renewable energy to power all the site's needs, and water efficient plumbing to save 250,000 gallons of water per year.

I plan on taking advantage of using our new Gateway - it's very cool in my opinion. :-)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Preserve's Gateway is ready to show off its Scottsdale style

MORE trails! Woohooo!!! (Bell and Thompson Peak in Scottsdale - just NE of 101)

From the AZ Republic:
The Gateway to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is more than just a typical trailhead.

Sure, it has bathrooms, parking spaces and some trail maps.

But in true Scottsdale style, the Gateway has been designed as a destination: It offers breathtaking vistas of pristine desert, viewsheds of every peak in the McDowell Mountains and an outdoor amphitheater for educational events.

After almost a year of construction and at a cost of $95 million, the Gateway is ready for the public....more -->

Sunday, April 26, 2009

128th & Via Linda climb to Sunrise Peak (1st Peak)

Managed to get my butt out for a good climb this morning. Not a long one, but a good one. Climb is nearly 1,000 feet over just 2.4 miles. I'll be tired tonight.:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Some Cool "Grafitti" - Steve Prefontaine

As a former Univ of Oregon Duck, I came across this "grafitti" sketch on Facebook of the legendary Steve Prefontaine (drawn by Jordan Jeffords). Cool, huh?:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

So, if I blog about trail running, I gotta actually run, right?

Easter Sunday, it's on, rain or shine (& yes, it's raining as I type!).

Starting at the 128th St & Cactus Trailhead (Ringtail is the official name, & Lost Dog Wash is at 124th), just a "quick" run up to Sunrise Peak and back. ~6.0 miles total from my house (5.6 from the trailhead) and ~1,300' of climbing. At the top you can see Camelback Mountain, Four Peaks, Fountain Hills (see pic), and Southeast about as far as the eye can see.

From the trailhead on 128th go toward the mtns for about 1/2 mi - at the 1st junction it's clear which way you go- UP, and to the right. At the first saddle it levels off briefly, then winds up & around the top of the canyon (above the Scottsdale Mountain Subdivision - that highest home you see in the canyon sold last year for $4.0 million! No, I was not the listing agent on that one...).

The trail then leads you to a higher ridge and flattens a bit until the final 1/4 mile powerhike to the very top. Enjoy the views, take in some fluids, and head back the way you came. (You can also go DOWN the other side and it takes you to the Sunrise Peak Trailhead at 145th Way (Via Linda turns in to 145th just as you reach the parking area on the left).

Not a horrendous run by any means, but definitely want to pace yourself on the trip up. (I've done this one about 25-30 times so I know what to expect even when I go harder on the way up). The downhill is really fun to run - just make sure you watch your footing or you could end up on your face. I have friends you can ask about that. Doh!

Thursday, April 9, 2009 - One of my favorite Rim to Rim to Rim Write-ups:

"Also commonly know to as the R2R2R. This run is not frequently done, but usually you can find a few people attempting it any April or October weekend. You can go earlier in the year (than April), but you may have problems with limited daylight hours and possible snow on the North Rim. Go much later in the year and you may have to deal with extreme temps in the canyon......." Enjoy:
Just a hint of what faces you before you even cover one step of the 48 miles in the Grand Canyon. Not that bad, eh?

Why Trail Running?

So, along with the ~40 gazillion other people on the planet who blog, I figured what the heck, I'll join in.

What better subject for me to yap about than a new(er) passion of mine (over the past 4 or 5 years) than the good ol trail running scene. I'm not as fast as I used to be, so I decided to try trail running after a few buddies told me about a trip they did - running across the Grand Canyon and back. You don't have to have cheetah speed, just some good endurance and a sincere passion for a little pain and suffering (in a good way).

Since then I've "run" three 48-milers across the Grand Canyon and back - "Rim to Rim to Rim" or "R3", and did a 1-way, 24-miler from the South Rim to the North in the middle of Summer (don't do it mid-day - too hot!).

A little about me: I grew up in Oregon, ran track and cross-country for the University of Oregon Ducks. I was considered a "scrub" (before the show "Scrubs") - good enough to make the team, though not good enough to make the news - but I was totally stoked to be a part of a legendary running school and attempt to follow in a few famous footsteps. After college ran a few marathons - only one went well: a 2:49 in Japan (even after cramping slowed me the last 10k...). Since then I've attempted to get and stay in some sort of running shape - sometimes successful, sometimes not. Right now? It's time to get back in decent shape again!

More to come....