Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mount Constitution and Mountain Lake Hike on Orcas Island

Panorama from Mount Constitution

I just couldn’t resist when I heard some friends were signed up for this ultra-trail race extravagant hike on Orcas Island for this past weekend, which consisted of morning breakfast, a few food stations, post event beer and pizza, despite a miserable 50K and 8000ft in elevation gain along the way (wait, pretend you didn't just read the latter part of this sentence). 

It turned out to be a great roadtrip and a brilliant escape from the concrete jungle to steer my training temporary off-roads. In other words – I SURVIVED!!

We headed down the border and took the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island. I was astonished to learn a little geography lesson that we were so close to home and within 10K from another island I’ve been on – Saturna Island which is on the Canadian side of the border.

Some highlights from the trail.

Powerline Trail

For three very long kilometres, we had to journey up the West Boundary Trail, better known as the steep powerline stretch. It felt like Garmin wasn't ticking. My approach was just one step in front of the other until the top, which pretty much single-handily destroyed my running legs. Truth be told, the Ironman run should be a cake-walk in comparison. 

Powerline Trail is on the left

 A look down (left), and a look up.

Cascade Falls

An engineering marvel exists at the eastern tip of Mountain Lake and basically in the middle of nowhere. How on earth did all this concrete get there? Runners do enjoy the best "dam" trail running experience here for a good reason and will be hard-pressed to find something similar.

Panorama from Cascade Falls

Cascade Lake

The trail around the lake is much flatter and well maintained. It was a welcomed break for my legs. There was not a single bug in sight!

More engineering marvels at hand.

Mount Constitution

The most rewarding part of the trails on the island is the view up from Mount Constitution. This might be more obvious with the pictures that are about to follow:
Me at Mount Constitution

If time wasn't a limiting factor, I would have definitely checked out the stone observation tower.

We did lucked out with this crisp clear weather. 

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