Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In the Court of The King

Today I almost didn't get a run in. I had got wrapped up at work and was going bag my run and grab a quick outdoor run after work, but the fellow I was working with disappeared on me so I seized the opportunity and headed to lunch. At the gym I did some hurried abdominal work and then hit the treadmill, knowing I only had 30 minutes to run. I got in three runs. The first to warm up at a decent pace, between 6.3 and 7.4 mph. The second run was a combination race walk and run, 5.5 mph to 6.7 mph. The third run was the culmination, a bit of race walk and a steady run with a strong finish. Today it the first time I attempted to see if I could kick on a treadmill. It is not at all the same as on the street, but the last .21 miles of my final run were at a pace of 11 mph. This is the fastest I have attempted to run on a treadmill.

I was satisfied with my workout and showered and headed back to work. The outside temperature had risen and it was a balmy 34 outside, which felt almost tropical after the run I had just had. I got a total distance of 3.29 miles in today, bringing my yearly travel to 72.78 miles, 4892.22 miles from the beaches of Florida.

This brings me just past the headquarters for NOVA Raft Adventures in Chickaloon, AK as well as the Chickaloon Cultural Center and Mercantile (the bar and petrol station) and approaching the Chickaloon River bridge. The Kings Mountain Campground is a few hundred yards from the gas station and is one of the nicest State owned campgrounds, at least it once was. It was closed for several years and sort of let go to seed, but it has been taken over in the past two years and the new caretakers are attempting to bring it back to it's glory years. It is situated along the banks of the Matanuska river in the shadow of the regal and impressive Kings Mountain. The Kings River Campground often gets overlooked as a destination location, but this area is one of the most magnificent areas in all of Alaska and is well worth the stop. You may never want to leave.

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I have never climbed Kings Mountain, but it is on my bucket list and as most things on my bucket list tend to only stay on that list for a short time it may be checked off before I know it. I have hike a few of the trails in the area including the Castle Mountain Trail twice. Castle Mountain is an incredible hiking journey and I will do it again. Near the top of the mountain above the 4000' mark is a picnic table. It is the strangest thing, but twice I have gone with friends up to have lunch at the Castle Table. Both trips where fresh and breath taking. It is a trail that is quite difficult to find and the first portion of it definitely feels like trespassing on the lands of "Deliverance". If I can find the hiking notes I will include the trail in these pages as it is a journey well worth the effort.

NOVA Raft Adventures took several of us on two white water raft adventures last summer and will be taking us on at least one this coming summer. A group of about 20 went for a trip Into The Lion's Head on an adventure around the Lion's Head and down the mighty Matanuska River as well as a smaller group of about 10 took a trip down Six Mile Creek in Hope, AK. Six Mile Creek is the only guided Class V white water in Alaska. Next summer we are going to do it again, this time when the water level is higher in the early spring so we can get the true intensity of the big class water. Both trips are tons of fun and the guide service is top notch.

The Chickaloon Cultural Center is under new management and recently reopened on Halloween 2009 after the old owners retired and closed for the summer. They boast one of the most unique one room motels I have ever seen. The motel is no longer open, but it still sports the sign and got a fresh coat of a paint a few years back. The food in the roadhouse used to be one of the finest on all of the Alcan and was even drive out dinner destination for my wife and I from Anchorage. Under new ownership I hope they can bring back all the greatness that was once the staging area for one of the long gone endurance snow machine races of the Great White North.

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