“A Solid 37” – Graves Creek to Anderson Pass Olympic National Park

montrail runner sean meissner and i started our drive south from seattle monday morning around 5:45am for the olympic national park. along the way i lost exactly one muffler and we picked up exactly one patagonia runner.. jamie gifford. jamie is a former cascade crest 100 course record holder, and is “15 for 16” at 100 mile ultramarathons – amazing. what was originally a six person crew for this adventure run had somehow dwindled down to us three.

i am infatuated with the olympic national park (my goal is to run every inch of trail in the park). it’s so close and so amazing i had scoured the map for a long loop to put together and run. last year krissy moehl and i ran a 74 mile loop that i planned. it was an amazing run and i have been eager to back out to play in the park. so i created a 65 mile loop that we ended up collectively deciding needed to be pared down to say 30-40 miles for our purposes.

the plan was to start at graves creek campground and head north east on the quinault river trail to run the enchanged valley hike. we would then continue up to anderson pass (4,464ft) to make sure we got our requisite climbing in.

map of both routes
the entire olympic national park map

a drizzle on the drive to graves creek campground turned into beautiful sun as we started to run. we chatted about all things ultra as we slowly gained 2,000ft in the first 13 miles to the truly enchanted valley (sometimes referred to as the valley of 1,000 waterfalls). we were quite literally stopped in our tracks by the waterfalls on the burke range and the glaciers above.

then the fun began when we fast hiked in the sun to anderson pass. there we had some lunch, which included my very first baby ruth! so good (thanks sean). we then started our run back on the fun technical trail. it was a great mix actually, with sections of rocks/roots, buttery smooth/soft sections interspersed with river crossings. along the way meissner bonked, took a spill and spilled his lunch (out of his mouth)! i’m not sure if that made any sense.. meissner threw up like 3 times! after sean’s first bonk where i said to him “you haven’t been eating 3 gels an hour like i have”.. i got hit with my own bonk. should have kept my mouth shut. i simply got into a zone and forgot to eat. however after 450 quick calories i was back in a few minutes and never really slowed down, just wasn’t talking much. jamie must have thought “these montrail guys are total rookies!”. also jamie put me on to nuun being a great nutralizer for iodine – a fantastic idea that i’ve passed on to the nuun high ups. since the run was just over 8 hours we had to treat our drinking water after we ran out of our initial pack and bottles full.

awesome day out, perfect weather, great company… and we ran “a solid 37” miles in about 8:13 (time is start to finish including breaks/lunch/treating water, etc) w/5,965 feet of gain, and i got some cool video and pictures – enjoy!




my gear:
shoes: montrail continental divides
socks: teko ecopoly
packs/bottles: nathan hpl #020 and one nathan quickdraw plus
fuel: clif shots (2-3 per hour) and a baby ruth
electrolytes: nuun