Today was the Pie-n-Beer day marathon. It's an unofficial race put on by some local ultrarunners. It's more like a group fun run, but where some folks are trying to be first to the finish. Lindsay invited me to come along with her for our own unofficial Pie-n-Beer day adventure. If you don't live in Utah you have probably never heard of Pie-n-Beer day. It's actually really called Pioneer Day (a Mormon holiday celebrating the arrival of Mormon pioneers in Utah), which I still forget about despite having lived in Utah for nearly fourteen years.
I drove up Parley's Canyon to Jeremy Ranch and met Lindsay before sunrise. We headed out alone ahead of the actual racers, cutting about three miles out of the run by parking much closer to the Mormon Pioneer trailhead. It was very chilly, in fact I had to borrow a jacket from Lindsay because it was so cold. It was a pleasant surprise after the staggering heat of my Sunday run. The trail started as winding single track with lots of rocks and roots. It was an absolutely beautiful climb to the top of Big Mountain.
We saw a deer right away and two porcupines. Then we saw it. What exactly it was, we weren't sure. But we both saw it up above us on the hill at the same time. It was very big and very scary. As I spotted it Lindsay grabbed my arm and whispered "Run!" (of course we were already running, but I think this was just instinct) Then she said she thought perhaps she was imagining things, but I told her I saw it too. So we ran like two women in stilettos in a B movie murder scene. As I looked back over my shoulder I fell into a hole and screamed, which then set Lindsay to screaming. Of course it didn't follow us and we determined it must have been a moose. I thought it was a bear and she thought it was a horse (or a ghost) and some other runners said they had seen a moose, so we agreed on moose.
Now that our hearts were really pumping we kept up the pace for a bit. We ran into the first aide station and chatted with some of the folks there and took a few pictures. We also ran into some other runners and Lindsay's husband, Ryan, who joined us for the rest of our run to the top of Big Mountain. I was really just floored by the beauty at the summit. We were at nearly 8,300' and could see all the mountain ranges around us. Stunning beauty that cannot truly be captured on camera. I really would love to do this run again soon!
On the way back, Ryan hung back and waited for another friend while Lindsay and I headed on back to the finish area. We decided to see if our moose friend was still hanging around. When we got to the same spot there she was! We were scared again, for a moment. It dawned on both of us pretty quickly that it would be odd for the same animal to stay in the exact same spot for all that time, especially after so many runners had passed by. Well, as it turned out, it was a tree. Yes, a tree. We screamed and ran (horrible idea by the way. I don't recommend running from bears, or moose for that matter) from a tree.
Moving on... The run was fantastic. The weather was perfect. The scenery was magnificent. The company was outstanding. We sat at the finish, which was fully stocked with pie and beer, and cheered on the first finishers for a bit before I headed back home. It was a wonderful day in the mountains! And like I said, I must get back there again soon!
Full moon at the start
Somewhere in this photo is a deer. I swear.
View from the aide station.
Now that is a giant wish!
Lindsay is like a sun goddess, with the sun on her shoulders!
Lindsay and Ryan
The summit of Big Mountain. I can't even describe how breath taking this is in real life. Amazing.
So, right after we found out that it was a tree, we saw this. Coincidence? Yes, let's get serious. Creepy? Absolutely!
The finish area.
I love Lindsay. Rainbow unicorn running socks. Need I say more?
A beautiful 2,268' climb to start the day.
17:36 average pace