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Hells Canyon Adventure Run 2014

Posted Mar 26 2014 12:42pm
Hells Canyon and the Snake River

The Hells Canyon Adventure Run is not a race. It's an annual for-fun run that's been put on by Alan Douglas for many years. There's a 30-mile stretch of trail between the Pittsburg Landing campground and the Hells Canyon Dam. I've been down to this trail a few times before, but this was my first time coming down for this organized run.

The run has three options:
  1. Long Version - Take the jet boat from the campground as far as it can go upriver and then run back to the campground. The distance seems to vary each year depending on how far upriver the boat can get due to the rapids. This year we were dropped off just shy of 25 miles from the campground. I've been told other years the boat has been able to get much closer to the dam to make for a near 30-mile run.
  2. Short Version - Take the jet boat upriver for 15 miles and then run back to the campground.
  3. Out and Back - Skip the jet boat (and save $65) and just run an out-n-back from the campground. 
We were told there were no 'drop bags' allowed on the jet boat, so the dilemma for all the long version folks was how much to wear on the hour-long jet boat ride starting at 6:15 am when temperatures were below 30 degrees Fahrenheit but would be up around 50 degrees by the end of the run. I dressed for the run (shorts) so I didn't have to carry all those extra clothes when I was on the trail and then spent every second of that very long boat ride regretting my decision not to wear full winter gear. 

Sadie wasn't too thrilled with her first jet boat ride either. She was as nervous as I was cold, and I spent the entire ride trying to calm her down and keep her from freaking out. But it was all worth it when we hit the trail.

With Sadie happy to be on solid ground and me excited to get moving, a group of four of us started down the trail. After five miles or so, our group was down to three: me, Dan H., and Riley.

We spent a good majority of our run in the morning shadow of the west-facing canyon walls. The Snake River was rarely out of our site as the trail weaved in and out of smooth, grassy meadows and then up and down rocky cliffs that boasted wobbly-leg inducing drop-offs up to four hundred feet high.

This is one of the trails worth bragging about. This is one of those trails worthy of a road trip. I tell trail runners new to Pullman that they must run in the Wallowas , and they must run this section of the Snake River.

I took a bunch of gopro video on the run. A lot of it didn't turn out so great because of the poor lighting from running in the shadow most of the day. But I put a few of the clips together in this short video.

And enjoy some photos.

Freezing with Sadie on the jet boat.
But enjoy the views and herds of elk.
(photo by Dan Hollingshead)

Early in the morning.

Dan H during the first couple miles of the day.

When the sun was out, the views were spectacular.
Riley and Dan enjoying trail.

View from Suicide Point.



Dan and Riley as we leave Kirkwood Ranch.

Campsite trailhead, and the end of our day.

Boston is less than a month away, and I'm excited. But I can't help being even more excited to see winter melting away from my favorite mountain trails. I think this is going to be a great year for trail running.

Keep running!


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