Olympia doesn’t have a great reputation around the state. From Spokane to Bellingham, and Vancouver to Ocean Shores, the capitol of Washington State is known mostly for politics and a somewhat drab, occasionally unsettling downtown scene. Outsiders might quickly stop by on trips to more exotic locations, but for most, Olympia is skipped over. Even some locals avoid downtown Olympia, but those who decide to pass over this small town at the southern end of the Puget Sound are missing a spectacular annual event. At the end of August and first few weeks of September, the waters around Olympia become full of salmon, migrating home to spawn and die. While this event happens in most cities around the state, Olympia is one of the few that offers a stunning viewing area where you can watch salmon, seals and the tides, all from an overlook above the water.
Happy 105th Birthday, National Park Service. I am so happy for you.
Those words seem weak, lacking my true feelings in a commonly stated platitude. Sure, I could add an exclamation point, but even that comes up short. “Thank you” means nothing, compared to what you have done for me. You have changed my life; you redirected a lost soul with your majestic beauty and endless adventures. You let a dreamer have a place to dream and gave a kid who felt more at home walking alone in the woods a place to rekindle a relationship with his soul. You have taken away stresses and pain and replaced them with tear-jerking panoramas more stunning than any picture can capture. You saved me from a life of regret and pain and mistakes of my 20’s; you let me blaze a new trail for my life, passing through the purest wilderness in existence. You are my soul mate and it might be fucking cheesy to say it, but I don’t care. I owe you my life, National Park Service, and nothing I can do or say will ever repay you for what you mean to me.
In this brief summer intermission show Mathias shares his travel stress and gear choices for his upcoming trip to the Alps and his 100K race at Ultra Tour Monte Rosa around the mountains of Grächen, Switzerland. Hello Alps, baby!
Friend of the show Tabatha Collins is back and she brought her trail running partner and fellow mountain slayer Mary Flinders with her. They were the first folks who attempted my epic Cushman Six route in the Staircase region of Olympic National Forest/Park.
And yes, I said attempted. When Tabatha contacted me a few days prior I felt comfortable sending them out into these mountains. These ladies are strong, experienced and know what they were doing. But these mountains aren’t easy, and there’s a lot of backcountry off trail travel.
Fresh off his 5th Hardrock100 finish Mike Ehredt is back on the show to share his latest adventures in the San Juans. The veteran Hardrocker reflects on this beautiful route and what it takes to successfully complete this extreme race as a back of the pack runner. We dive into what makes this community special and what the future holds for him in Silverton. Mike’s also a race director, and so of course we talk about the challenges and joys of organizing a trail race.
Mountain goat Steph Decker joins the show to talk about the latest adventure project she’s been working on. Inspired by ultra uber runner Christof Teuscher she’s working on a variation of his “Olympic Loops” in Olympic National Park. The project is a beast and while rendering somewhat speechless is inspiring me hugely to dream of new adventures. And of course, no conversation about massive adventures would be complete without a good conversation around shoes and gear.
Alex Bond returns to the show to share his experience with orienteering races, how it helps him on big mountain adventures and why he won’t run the Barkley Marathons. We talk about the romance and despair of circumnavigating volcanoes in the Cascades and what’s on the adventure docket for the remainder of the summer before the smoke rolls in, or are we already too late for that?
Lots is going on this week: An update on our hosting server changes, summer break announcements and talks about challenges in gateway communities. Orientation runs for LBA are happening and mountains are climbed. We’re continuing our training for summer races and UTMR announces a big change to the route which will have a bigger effect on Mathias’ summer plans. But, we’re excited. Let’s get after it.
This week’s episode takes us from the inevitable weather talk to the impact heat waves have on our training plans. There are lots of thoughts on Western States, especially in comparison to UTMB, because of course. We’re NOT talking about the abysmal performance by the German National Soccer team but wonder what our favorite race distances are and for what race we’d be willing to travel for? Like for LBA, come travel to Olympia and race with us!