Hey guys! So much to tell you! Too much to tell you.
I arrived in Eugene a few days ago and have been on turbo speed ever since. It's been hectic, but really great, actually. In many ways, Eugene could not be more different than I had imagined. Funny story: on the drive down, I kept asking my dad (who got his renewed passport the day before we left so fortunately was able to tag along!), "Does this look like Eugene? How about this? That? Sort of? Getting hotter? Marco?" and whenever he wasn't telling me to shut up, he was saying "No." Apparently nothing we passed looked remotely like Eugene. Finally, while we were driving though what I considered to be the most boring part of the trip, he said, "Now this, this looks like Eugene." Shit.
He was right, in a sense, but from what I can tell Eugene is much more than that (trees on a dry hill). It's a lot like Vermont (where I spent my undergrad years), but not really. It's a lot like Lafayette, California (where my grandparents live), but not really. It's a hard place to pin down. Its beauty doesn't punch you in the gut, but there are still many promising places to explore.
Let me show you some pictures of the drive down to convince you that I'm probably a real person and actually did it. Since 90% of our time was spent driving, I didn't take nearly as many picture as I would have liked, and many were taken through a windshield while moving 65+ miles an hour. None were taken in Alaska because it was gross and ugly the day we left.
If this picture overload bothers you, blame Professor Amy, who claims that people are interested in looking at a blogger's pictures even if that blogger doesn't have time/content to write anything.
I was really into that yellow grass.
This was the only brown bear we saw, but we saw NINE (tiny) black bears within a 20-30 mile stretch on our second day.
Views from the dramatic last miles of the trip, when I first realized that Oregon isn't a rain forest.
Now that we got that over with, let's talk running. Eugene is going to be great for running, especially trail running. Take today, for example.
I tend to feel a bit claustrophobic in places that don't have a high point. I like knowing I can escape to somewhere higher (that sounds religious, but it's not. I literally want to be higher than everything else). It probably doesn't make any sense, but for my sanity I need to be able to climb something, especially when I've got a lot going on.
My dad feels similarly, so before he left we did a quick Google search and stumbled upon Spencer Butte, which I hear is Eugene's Flattop (ie. the most popular hike in the area). The "summit" was only (allegedly) two miles from the trailhead, but we ran out of time before we could make it all the way up. We were pissed that we didn't get a single view, but I promised my dad that I'd head back soon and send him pictures. I did that today.
Behold, my new stomping grounds:
See that? Yellow. Yellow everywhere. Where's the rain forest? Why is it six million degrees here?
The best part about this trail was that it was almost completely runnable, even for someone who's done very little running the past couple of months. There are evidently a lot of different trails that go up the Butte, so I should have a lot of hilly but runnable trail to train on (if I ever sign up for anything, which I totally will).
Excluding the forty-five minutes it took to climb the last rocky bit and get horribly lost down the same rocky bit (the lady I'm living with reminded me that poison oak is a "thing" here and that she stopped climbing Spencer Butte because there's so much of it off-trail. I may have rashes in my future), I covered 4.25 miles, most of it at a jog. Total elevation gain (again, excluding the steepest last quarter-ish mile) was about 1,100 feet. Not bad for two miles.
Even though I miss my mountains, it was kind of cool running through this:
Speaking of mountains, I have to tell you what I did on my last day in Anchorage even though I'm the only one who cares. Last year, I vowed to run up Powerline Pass before my year was done, and I mentioned it more than a few times on the blog. Finally, the week before I left, I was forced to admit that I wasn't going to do it, but then I totally did. Even better, I ran about seven of the twelve miles. I was amazed and overjoyed that Bailey was able to keep up with the faster pace.
[Side note: a few people have asked about Bailey and I realized I never told y'all why she didn't come with me to Eugene. I suppose I abandoned her, but she wasn't actually my dog to take. She belonged to my parents. When I moved home last fall, I lived with them. I exercised her far more than anyone else did and loved her dearly, so they consented to "loan" her to me once I moved out. When I left for Eugene, she just went back to her real home. It's sad for all involved, but for the best. Those assholes keep texting me pictures of her and making me sad.]
Powerline Pass: a perfect way to finish my stint in Anchorage. More importantly, I kept my word!
I could go on and on, but apparently people care about word limits.
- Are you a freak like me and obsessed with high points?
- Road or trail: which do you prefer?