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Hilary Lorenz on Mt. Rufus

Hilary Lorenz on Mt. Rufus

Today I put the punctuation mark on my six weeks at Lake St. Clair. I felt disappointed during the week because I told Lisa endlessly about Mt. Rufus and how we had to climb the 5,000 ft. peak together, but every day since she arrived we had cold drenching rain. Then today as I packed and cleaned Lisa set off at 8:30 for Mt. Rufus without me. By 10:00 knowing I had a 14 mile run today, I decided to trim a couple miles off and run the 12 miles up Mt. Rufus, with the 2,624 climb and surprise Lisa. This was to be the trail run of a lifetime. The first three miles were in total mud and 35º F weather. The clouds over Rufus looked threateningly cold and socked in. I ran counter clockwise to her clockwise and after about 1 hour I ran into her. “There was no going up,” she said. The trail was hip deep in snow, the trail markers completely covered and it was an impossible task.

Feeling again disappointed I had a glimmer of hope because I knew the Rangers Trevor and Daniel were on their way to the summit and if they passed the turn off to the summit they could break the trail and mark the route. Lisa and I bid our farewells and I started around the circular trail. Where she left off there were now two sets of footprints in the snow. I could race up to the summit and meet Trevor and Daniel then call it quits and walk my way out. It was hard going, really hard going. The climb was straight up, I was in my running shoes and tights, now about 30º and thigh deep in snow. My feet were soaked, I still had several miles to go before getting out, but then I was above the tree line. The clouds were spectacular, no one had been up there prior to today in many weeks. I followed the footprints and about 1000 meters before the summit I ran into Trevor and Daniel. They thought I was a crazy person, I certainly looked it. They of course were decked out properly, Trevor had his skis, and there I was in my little running tights and shoes. We spoke briefly but because of the now intense cold on the exposed mountain I had to run to the top the best I could over the rocks and snow, hit the summit and pull my rain gear and warm clothes out of the pack and get dressed. I am sure it looked more like a trot, but I used all my will to keep what resembled a run to get to the top. It was exhilarating. I stopped to take a couple photos and my fingers had stopped working. I could not clip my pack off but when I was able to finally do it I got my camera, set the timer and took a photo of me running. I looked down the mountain to Trevor and Daniel and got an excellent photo.

Trevor and Daniel on Mt. Rufus July 2008

Trevor and Daniel on Mt. Rufus July 2008

Once at the summit I packed on all of my clothes, it was 24º and I was wet and cold. I asked to descend with them, basically inviting myself. We had a great time as we stopped to check the snow levels on the way down. We stopped for lunch at what is called the Gingerbread Hut, about 4.5 miles from our finish, the hut has certainly seen it’s better days. It is not part of parks, a hiking club maintained it but the trail we were on is rarely used and the hut is quite old. My lunch consisted of two Clif shot gels and water I got from a mountain stream because I had not planned on being gone so long. Then we traversed across to a ridge, walked through a large open plain, over a field of button grass and into the woods. It took about 1 hour 45 minutes to do the last 4.5 miles. Trevor is a very fast walker and I was almost jogging to keep up because I bounced from one side of the track to the other trying to keep my feet out of the 4”+ stream of water that ran almost our whole way down. It was one of the most beautiful and challenging runs I have done, not cardiovascularly but muscle strength and psychologically because it was tough in the conditions, but I have great photos and it was a great way to end my time here at Lake St. Clair. I had a fantastic time on the mountain and thanks to Trevor and Daniel I was able to run to the summit, what a lucky day. Lisa and I are now off to Hobart.

taken from Mt. Rufus, July 2008

taken from Mt. Rufus, July 2008

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