elevation gain


W6D7 - 30km long run

My motivation was low today but I went outside and ran! Started with 3km with some elevation gain and ran 1km downhill (which felt like flying!) afterwards. The first 20km felt effortlessly but the last 10km were tough especially because the wind blew against me all the time. But I did it.


The Trek Out

The Berg Lake Trail, Mt. Robson Provincial Park, Canada

After waking up and seeing Emperor Falls, we now had to climb down what we just climbed up…so there was another 10 miles ahead of me. I was sore and tired from the 10 miles the day before but I was higher in spirit because the rain had cleared up and I had made it up the 4 mile 2,000 ft elevation gain hill.

We took our time going back and decided to skip our camping spot that night and get a hotel room to sleep in a bed for the first time in a week and to take some much needed hot showers. At the first rest stop/ campground we came to, we made breakfast and talk with some fellow backpackers on their way out to berg lake. I conversated with an older gentleman and I am bummed I cannot remember his name. He told me about his trek to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal and just how hard it was. I was so excited to hear about his trip because this is something I have always wanted to do. I was in awe, he told me how two people in his group were not conditioned well enough and had to be helicoptered out. He made me excited and made me even dream more of trekking to Everest. In return for our conversation he gave us each a laminated tag with a four leaf clover in it that said “Berg Lake Trail 2016″, a tag that his whole team was carrying, for good luck. A little moments for meeting fascinating people out on the Berg Lake Trail!

On the way out we noticed a marathon was beginning. We had trail runners flying past us head out toward Berg Lake and we were able to cheer them on. What amazed me is that the trail runners that were in first place beat us out of the trail! I was amazed they did what took us two days in about 5 hours. Oh man they looked weathered by the end of the run though. When we got to the car I don’t think my feet have ever been so happy to not carry me and a 20lb backpack anymore.

Although we had a bear container for our food and bear spray (good things to have in this part of the world)…we saw no bears :(……once we drove away, leaving the Berg Lake Trail behind, we immediately stopped for food and had ourselves a victory meal!

© Michelle Gefre | Trail the Sun



11 miles, 5 hours, +1000 feet of elevation gained, 5 miles of knee deep snow, 1 frozen water bottle, and 3 falls later I finished my longest solo hike on Thanksgiving yesterday!

If you told me I would be in Colorado hiking and blazing trails in the snow this time last year I would have probably called you crazy!!! But here I am and I’m so blessed and so in love.


“suffering is humbling. it pays to know how to get your butt kicked.”

7+ miles (though… trail miles and road miles, not at all equivalent lol), 1,100+ feet of elevation gain, and a beautiful group of humans to suffer through it with. similar elevation gain to last week but prior to checking my app i expected it to be less because my body handled it so well. can’t wait to see how much i improve by the time ultra training starts.
i almost didn’t go today. my legs were incredibly sore after this week (they feel okay now? it’s false. i know it, tomorrow will hurt but for now i’m embracing it). and i was unable to sleep most of the night (4 a.m. club whatup). i figured i’d be exhausted and sore and feel BLAH in the morning and i was prepared to allow myself a later run solo if my body needed to rest. but when my alarm went off, i bounced out of bed and the only thing on my mind was “trails trails trails trails trails YES!” i have a feeling i’ll be in bed early tonight though lol. 
the first two miles were straight up, then lots of rolling hills. and SO MUCH MUD. and that kind of clay that when wet, sucks your shoes nearly right off your feet. i stayed right with the leader of the group i went with, and he chatted about the trail system to me the whole way which was awesome.
everything is so wonderfully alive (aside from several trees who sadly did not survive recent storms but made for fun obstacles). i am so wonderfully alive. i am eternally grateful to have discovered this group. i can’t even tell you.

also, edit. one of the guys said to me, “you handle the cold well!” and i died. it’s like 50 degrees, and i was the only one in shorts and a t-shirt. californians ya kill me.

Looking down on Hole in the Wall campground. Hands down the most badass designated campsite in the park. A solid 23 miles of hiking with a pack on and over 3000 feet of elevation gain, its views are earned.

Hiking today on a new trail with awesome views

Pioneertown Mountains Preserve is located north of the Town of Yucca Valley, California, adjacent to Pioneertown, California. (Yep, there is such a place.) The Preserve was devastated by the Sawtooth Complex Fire in 2006, which burned 61,700 acres, including most of the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve. Almost eleven years later, the land is recovering. Baby Joshua trees and Mojave yucca are growing, and most of the traditional desert plants are healthy. However, the locals are confident that the pinyon pines are gone, and the junipers will be struggling to recover, if they do. Part of the recovery of the land and the Preserve was the restoration and rebuilding of the Indian Loop Trail in the Preserve, which was done by Preserve staff and AmeriCorps last summer. I hiked that trail today.

If you don’t do the spur to ascend Chapparosa Peak, the trail is 7.5 miles, with a 1,000 feet elevation gain, but with an aggregate elevation gain (adding the ascends) of about 2,500 feet. Right now, I’m feeling everyone of those 2,500 feet!

I’m going to post some of the landscape views that I photographed from the various high points. Over the next few days, I’ll post other photos of the land.

All photos by rjzimmerman February 11, 2017.

Flat Top Butte on the left, Black Mesa on the right. A few weeks ago, I posted photos from my climbing with a group to the top of Flat Top and of just of a few of the estimated 2,000 petroglyphs at the top. The local Native Americans consider the Flat Top Butte as sacred. Both the Flat Top Butte and Black Mesa were included in the Sand to Snow National Monument that was created by President Obama a year ago this week.

Rugged landscape. The mountains in the front are the Sawtooth Mountains. In the distance, beyond the valley, is a range of mountains that marks the northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.

This landscape is reminiscent of Joshua Tree National Park, which is located not far (maybe 10 miles) to the south of where this boulder complex is situated. The boulders are monzogranite, as are many in Joshua Tree National Park.

A lava flow on the peak of a rise along the trail, with the Sawtooth Mountains in the near foreground and Joshua Tree National Park in the far foreground. This area is seismically active and is the location of several volcanic eruptions that happened long ago. I believe we traversed four lava flow fields before we rain across this pile.

Another view of the Sawtooth Mountains and the monzogranite formations.

Another view of the Flat Top Butte (on the left) and the Black Mesa (on the right), as the trail approached them.

While ascending Indian Canyon, the view backwards shows a huge wash. Off in the distance, shrouded by clouds, is Mt. San Gorgonio and Big Bear. But before you get there, and if you’re a hard hiker, you can visit an old onyx mine on the left of the mountain on the far gap. The onyx on the walls of Los Angeles Union Station was from this mine.

Once we arrived at the top of the canyon walls, this view greeted us. In the distance are the San Jacinto Mountains, which is part of the western boundary of Coachella Valley.

The sun was dancing out of the dark storm clouds today. Not much rain, just a drizzle, but the mountains behind us received quite a bit of rain last night. All good news for the desert and the California drought.

Finally, this is Roamer, formerly a rescue pup now the companion of one of my hiking friends. He hiked the entire distance, loving every minute. The purple blotch on his tongue is because Roamer is part Alaskan Malamute.


Our first stop in Alaska was McCarthy. We drove in too late in the day to explore much so we hit the local Pizza Bus and chatted with some locals about the area. We ended up meeting one of the rafting guides (Ben) who offered to hike with us the following day. We took the shuttle into McCarthy and then a little farther into Kennecott where the old mines are. Kennecott is an old copper mining town, they mined some of the richest copper ore ever found. We hiked up to the old Bonanza mining site, a grueling 9 mile 3,800ft elevation gain leg burner. Shawn did great and the view was totally worth it. We found our way inside and sifted though some incredible history. People built this huge site on top of a mountain 100 years ago, through the winters they continued to mine in freezing temperatures. Its crazy to imagine while standing up there what life must have been like back then.  

After Lake Stuart, we trek another 2 miles (1 mile on a boot path riddled with blowdowns; another grueling mile of 1,200 feet elevation gain) to reach our home at Horseshoe Lake. Paradise!

photo: shon’t.savage

Rising nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley and 8,800 feet above sea level, Half Dome is a Yosemite National Park icon and a great challenge to many hikers. At least a 14-mile round trip through wilderness with an elevation gain of over 4,800 feet, this hike is not for the unprepared. Permits are required to reduce crowding – protect natural and cultural resources, and improve safety. But for those who make to the top, the view is indescribable. Photo by National Park Service.


Capt. Jack Aubrey: Right lads, now, I know there’s not a faint heart among you, and I know you’re as anxious as I am to get into close action. But we must bring them right up beside us before we spring this trap. That will test our nerve, and discipline will count just as much as courage. The Acheron is a tough nut to crack… more than twice our guns, more than twice our numbers, and they will sell their lives dearly. Topmen, your handling of the sheets to be lubberly and un-navy like. Until the signal calls, you’re to spill the wind from our sails, this will bring us almost to a complete stop. Gun crews, you must run out and tie down in double quick time. With the rear wheels removed, you’ve gained elevation. and without recoil, there’ll be no chance for re-load, so gun captains, that gives you one shot from the lardboard battery… one shot only. You’ll fire for her mainmast. Much will depend on your accuracy… however… even crippled, she will still be dangerous, like a wounded beast. Captain Howard and the marines will sweep their weather deck with swivel gun and musket fire from the tops. They’ll try and even the odds for us before we board. They mean to take us as a prize.