Remember the storm that hit the Bighorn Mountains last Wednesday and
Thursday? I don't think any of the Bighorn race management team is going
to forget about it any time soon!
Rich Garrison sent us the photos which follow, taken during a
work session today to clear the trail in the area of the Footbridge aid
station. We aren't sure how many volunteers were in the group nor how
far they got up the trail, but they definitely "had their work cut out
for them." You'll see what I mean in a minute.
The Footbridge aid station is the one most difficult for crews to
reach during the race. Hundred milers cross a sturdy bridge over the
Little Bighorn River at mile 30 outbound and return over it at 66 miles
on the return to the finish. Runners in the 52-miler go through the aid
station only once, at 18 miles. The 50K and 30K do not pass through
This aid station is particularly important to the 100-milers because
it is the last drop bag location and crewing point before the runners
begin an arduous 18-mile climb to the turnaround at Porcupine Ranger
Station. Most runners pick up their lights and night clothes here
(unless they're very fast and make it to Porcupine before dark).
We were in town the next day (Tuesday) and talked to Michelle Powers
Maneval, Bighorn race director, about the challenges race organizers are
facing this year because of the storm. She said they've found four
bridges between Footbridge and Porcupine that were washed out and have
to be replaced. Fortunately the large bridge for which the Footbridge AS
is named is still standing!
PHOTOS FROM RICH GARRISON
Now for Rich's graphic photos from his trail work Monday.
Wendell Robison is in one picture. We don't know if Karen Powers or
anyone else was in this work party. I do know Karen and Cheryl were also
out on the course somewhere Monday.
That's Wendell Robison, above. See how he tapers
for a 100-miler??
That's a lot of trees to cut from
Anyone got a kayak?
Race directors are unsung heroes in my book, as are
the organizational teams at races as big as the Bighorn Mountain Wild
and Scenic Trail Runs. Without their extraordinary efforts, we wouldn't
be able to enjoy trail runs like this -- and we'd have a lot more
streams to ford and trees to hurdle.
Thanks so much to Michelle, Karen, Cheryl, Rich,
Wendell, and everyone else who works so hard to make this race one of
the best in the world. They have risen to NEW heights this year to
maintain their consistently-high standards. We are
grateful to them for making the course as runnable as possible in a year
when Mother Nature has been playing havoc in the mountains.
Tune in Tuesday for more photos from the Tongue River Canyon Trail. On Wednesday
we plan to go back to Porcupine to see how much of the snow has melted -- and
look for more moose.
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and
© 2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil