We are excited to announce we have added another trip to the 2018 summer line-up! Join Alpine Running Guides for a trail run along the Continental Divide in central Montana August 25th, 2018. This is a spectacular run along the backbone of the continent. To find more information and to register for this guided trail run, click here.
Join Alpine Running Guides on July 22nd for 16 miles along the Reservation Divide Trail. We will be trail running point-to-point from Siegal Pass to McCormick Peak in Western Montana, which means it’s net downhill!
The Reservation Divide Trail runs along the top and southern sides of its namesake. Throughout the route we will have incredible views of the Ninemile Valley as well as peeks down onto the Clark Fork and across the Mission Valley to the incredible Mission Mountains. For the peak-bagger in you, our route includes options to summit four different peaks and pinnacles.
For how close it is to Missoula, the Ninemile Valley is little explored, yet is home to an incredible trail system. The last few years I have enjoyed being able to buzz up the road for a great trail run on paths that I have all to myself. Plus, in late July we will be in prime huckleberry picking locations!
For all the stats on the run and to sign up visit the Reservation Divide Trip page. But hurry! There are only six spots remaining!
This weekend marked Alpine Running Guides first official trail running trip! We began our journey on the Dry Creek Divide, went up and over Torino Peak, and then joined in with the Stateline Trail on the Idaho/Montana border. From there we turned east and covered an incredible section of trail with views down into Cliff Lake, Frog Lake, Bonanza Lakes, and hundreds of peaks, knobs, ridges, and mountains in Idaho and Montana. We will be returning to the Stateline Trail on September 22nd where we will be trading the green of spring for the orange of autumn. More info on that trip here.
Did you know that our Stateline Trail trips all run through a massive burn area from over 100 years ago that influenced our thinking in forest management? Did you know that the Vigilante Trail is named for the Montana Vigilantes, a group that fought supposedly corrupt law officers in the late 1800’s? Did you know that our Stark Mountain and Reservation Divide trips are in one of the areas that wolves first came back in Montana?
Montana is a big state with an incredible amount of natural, cultural, and biological history and diversity. One of the goals of our trips is to share as many stories of the areas in which we run as possible. You may hear about the geological history one minute, and the story behind that fire lookout the next. Gotta run to find out!
In addition to the food, running, and massage that you’ll find on Alpine Running Guides trail running tours, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn some of the more interesting anecdotes of the area. We hope this will engender a deeper connection with the land, and give you something to think about as you run through it.
If you have a story from an area where our trips occur, or just have an interesting story, please share it with us!
Despite the name, the Alpine Running Guides Up Up Ridge trail running tour is one of our more mellow trips. There just happens to be a peak called Up Up Mountain at the head of the ridge!
One my favorite things about this area is exploring the Eagle-Ward Roadless Area. While still not a federally designated Wilderness, Roadless Areas still offer protection from continuing road building and logging operations for “inventoried roadless areas within the National Forest System in the context of multiple-use management.” What that means for us is that we will be running through prime elk and other wildlife habitat.
We will cover 8.8 miles over the course of this run and will summit three separate peaks that the trail runs right over. From Ward Peak, the high point of the day, we will have unobstructed views into mountainous Idaho (we’ll be on the border between Idaho and Montana), as well as North into the Couer d’Alene Mountains and distance Cabinets. If it’s a clear day we may even catch sight of the Missions in the distance.
At the base of Ward Mountain lay Mary, Hub, and Hazel Lakes, and these mark our exit. We will descend past these gorgeous alpine lakes, through an old-growth cedar forest, and arrive at the trailhead in early afternoon for a scrumptious lunch and post-run massage before heading back to Missoula.
Despite covering three peaks during this 8.8 mile trail running tour, the elevation gain is a relatively low 2,000′. Like all of our running adventures, you run your pace. We stop for pictures, we can hike on steep sections, and we stop just to look around at the gorgeous Northern Bitterroot Mountains!
Alpine Running Guides
All photos courtesy of Jesse and Kailee Carnes (@jessecarnes and @kailee.carnes)
Running is supposed to be simple. Basically you need shoes and some non-chafe clothes. So why should you pay for someone to show you where to run? Here’s a few reasons why a guided trail run from Alpine Running Guides can improve your running experience…
1. It’s easy. As simple as we want running to be there is so much more to it than shoes and shorts. You need your watch, socks, sunscreen, hat, maps, food, water, and on-and-on. On top of that, you have to decide where to go and how to get there. A guided trip takes the decision making and transportation issues out of the picture. Once you get in the van you can turn off your brain and simply enjoy.
2. You can run outside your comfort zone. Most runners run the same routes repeatedly. Occasionally we will get crazy and run our loop backwards. But mostly, we are creatures of habit. A guided trip gives you an opportunity to explore a new trail with very little risk. Because we have done the leg work, you know there is actually a trail (you’d be surprised how many “map trails” are not actually “on the ground trails”), you know it’s navigable, and you know there are roads to get you there. You may never run that trail again, or you may have discovered a new favorite long run.
3. Food! If you have ever driven to a trailhead to do a run, then you know that the drive back can be miserable. Our pre-run selves rarely pack enough food for our post-run hunger demons. Alpine Running Guides will not let the post-run hangries get you! Lunch is included with all Alpine Running Guides tours, and don’t think that this is just a standard PB&J. We know that a good meal after the run is important not only for proper recovery, but also for emotional well being. So we take our time with lunch and offer quality meals to keep your engine burning clean. We also found that this cuts down on whining from the backseat on the drive back to town!
4. Navigation. Say you’ve broken the mold and have made it out to a new trail. You’ve studied the map, but the trail forks, and then forks again, and the again. There’s always a nagging doubt in the back of your head that you took a wrong turn. Are you on the trail or a well-used deer path? Alpine Running Guides takes the guesswork out of navigating so you can focus on what’s important. Enjoying the running experience.
5. Post Run Massage! There’s nothing worse than finishing a run then sitting a car for an hour. You may be fit enough to run at least 10 miles, but by the time you get home you need help getting from your car to the couch. That’s not a good feeling. That’s why Alpine Running Guides offers short post-run massages on most of our trips. A few minutes with our licensed therapist can leave you feeling fresh enough to run again, well at least fresh enough to leap from the car without help!
By this point you’ve run your favorite long run so many times you can recognize when the neighborhood squirrel has moved a stick. You know the smells. You know the rocks. It’s your loop.
But now you’re signed up for an Alpine Running Guides trail run in Montana and are venturing into new terrain. It’s unfamiliar. It’s foreign. It’s okay! That’s where it gets fun.
We try to be as open as possible with what you can expect on an Alpine Running Guides trail run. There are always discrepancies between GPS devices, but we try to be close to what you’ll find on the ground. We try to be accurate with our elevation profiles and trail descriptions so you know what to expect. But we do encourage you to give us a call if you ever have questions on trail conditions.
Most of our runs will cover 10-20 miles. At a group pace this will take some time. We recommended being able to run at least 3 miles farther than your tour distance, just so you’re used to the time on your feet.
Because we try to put the ‘Alpine’ in Alpine Running Guides, there is a significant amount of elevation gain in most of our trips. That’s okay! Climbing gets you to the fun places. Find your nearest hill and get to love those hill repeats. You’ll be fine! There is no rule saying you have to hammer every climb on one of our trips, in fact we recommend taking your time.
All Alpine Running Guides trips are built to allow ample opportunity for breaks. We enjoy spending time outside and don’t want to simply run through nature. We want you to be able to enjoy your journey. We will give you a chance to take pictures, catch your breath, and smell that flower. There’s no rushing adventure!
If you ever have questions on how to train for one of our trips, or any other event, give me a call. I’m happy to help with some tips, pointers, or a full coaching plan.