Friday, September 6, 2013

Bear Canyon Loop (The 2nd Time Around)

Last Saturday, Kathryn invited me to run the BCL trail with her. This is one of my favorite trails in Tucson. I'm not sure why exactly, but it's a great loop.
I remember every mile of it: 5 miles is right above 7 Falls; 7 miles is above Thimble Peak and the worst hills have past, 8 miles starts the fastest downhill I have ever run; 13 miles is near the end of the trail before the road and 17 miles is the end!
I guess knowing each milestone along the trail helps to make the miles fly by. And every time I run it, I remember more. 
We started at 5:30am in the SCVC parking lot. The high was going to be in the 90's so we wanted to start out early. It would take us about 4 hours to finish and that would put us ending at around 9:30am.
  We took the trail towards 7 Falls and would come back down the main road.

5:30am - Running down the road to
7 Falls.

Kathryn, almost to the trail head.
On the 7 Falls trail, about to cross a
water crossing. So beautiful!
  The trail was so beautiful at this time in the morning. I need to get out here more often at 5:30am!

We continued down the 7 Falls trail. I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with Kathryn (running with other people stresses me out; I never know if I am slowing them down or not! Does anyone else ever get that feeling?). But then we reached the first switchbacks heading up the trail. I didn't see her again after that. She was so fast! I admit, I was taking my time and taking pictures along the way. Also, my weakness is running uphill so I need to work on that. ;)

A view of Tucson from back in the canyon. 

The canyon walls. So beautiful with the rising sun!
Looking back on the switchbacks. 

Running above 7 Falls. 
As the trail curves around, just above 7 Falls, there is a whole new canyon. I love running deeper and deeper into this canyon. You feel so alone! I usually never see hikers out this far.

The switchbacks from another view. 

Before running around the bend,
I came across this downed saguaro! Poor thing. 

A cute, little waterfall. Next time, I'd like to jump in that water!
It was hot and humid on this run! 
At the top of the trail, the highest point on the BCL,
I found someone's water stash.
You can see Thimble Peak in the background. 

The area above Sabino Canyon. So beautiful! 
 I didn't get to take any photos on the way down ( I was running too fast!). The downhill, just after this point, is such a relief after climbing for so long! When I reached the road, I jumped in the stream at every. single. crossing (it's about 5-7 water crossings). I swear, people thought I was crazy!

Definitely one of my favorite runs! I ended up finishing in exactly 4 hours. Just like the last time I ran it. I can't wait to get a PR on this trail. I am making some plans to include Sabino Canyon in some more of my training runs. I need to work on hills. :)

This run gave me some fantastic looking toenails (2 black toenails) so that tells me that I may need some bigger shoes (maybe a half size larger). I will share those photos with you later. ;)

This weekend, I am running Mt. Wrightson. It's supposed to rain and get pretty cold so I'm looking forward to an exciting run! 

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