Sunset from the trail to South Tiger
The last few weeks here in Seattle have been strange. I am working night shifts at the Hospital, which really throws me out of whack. I am not sure when to sleep, when to run, when to nap , etc. What I have discovered is that if you get tired enough it is pretty easy to fall asleep immediately upon laying down regardless of time.
Well last week a good friend, Krissy Moehl, got back to Seattle after a series of road trips all over the country and she was also experiencing a weird sleep-wake schedule. We had planned on going for a run Thursday evening and at some point during the day Krissy hatched the idea to make it a long run, and a night run. I quickly jumped on the idea since I had been staying up all night the last few nights anyways, it was my day off, and that meant I would be able to stay on the "night work" sleep schedule. We meet a little before 8:00pm shuttled a car to the South Tiger Mountain Trailhead, and just after 8:00 headed out for our roughly 34 mile TSCCT. (Tiger, Squak, Cougar, Coal creek, Traverse).
South Tiger Mountain Trailhead pre-run
We had a great run right from the start, our route went up South Tiger Mountain where we were welcomed to the mountains by lots of Lupine, and the sun's final light of the day. The miles went by quickly and somewhere just before the last climb to the summit of Middle Tiger Mountain we stopped briefly to put on headlamps. Prior we had a discussion about when it was the right time to put on a headlamp, we didn't reach a definite conclusion and we ran until it was too dark to see my own feet. Just after we put headlamps on we startled something big that crashed off into the woods. We stopped to see if we could identify what the something was but it just crashed off into the abyss. We hit the anti-climactic summit of Middle Tiger and took the plunge of a descent back to the fire road that lead us to East Tiger Mountain. As we gained elevation again we ascended into a thick mist that added a surreal ambiance to the run. After hitting the East Tiger Summit we dropped out of the Myst and worked our way over to the West Tiger group.
The ascent up West Tiger 1 led us again into the myst that had thickened quite a bit from half hour previous. It was so thick that we had to pull headlamps off of our heads and carry them to limit the reflection of the light. West Tiger 2 and 1 both came and went quickly after that.
Summit Shot on West Tiger 3.
We made quick work of the descent off West Tiger 3, spent a little time route finding and buzzed into the town of Issaquah. We got some very strange looks when we went into the Shell Station at a little after 1:00 am to refill water, we left the bright city lights behind and made the rolling climbs up to the top of Squak Mountain, and let the legs roll on the descent towards the road crossing to Cougar Mountain. We opted to summit Wilderness Peak to make sure we hit the high points along the entire route and even took a few minutes to leave a note in the summit logbook.
Logging our route in the Wilderness Peak book.
The final leg of our run flew by as we made the descent back to Red Town Trailhead, onto the Coal Creek trail and finally to the car we had left at the YMCA several hours earlier. Quite early in the run Krissy started to pick out the treat that she would want at the end of the run, and at 3:00 am two very hungry runners loaded into the car looking for some yummy food. This actually turned out to be the crux of our trip. The grocery stores and gas stations all closed on the way back to the other car, but we did see a sign for an IHOP, so after picking up the other car we headed back towards food bliss. Well as luck would have it IHOP a restaurant known to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, was closed for cleaning. We took it as an omen and headed our separate directions towards home. In a last ditch effort I stopped at the 7-eleven a few blocks from where I am staying... bought the most delicious Klondike bar ever which was followed by a mouthwatering liter of chocolate milk. Not moments after finishing the treats I laid down and slept until about an hour before my next night shift. What an incredible night shift I had on my day off!