Another great edition of the Ruby Mountain Camp is in the books!
In previous years we've spent more time in Lamoille Canyon - this year we headed into the backcountry for a whole different style of camp. We setup camp about 6 miles in at Farve Lake and we scrambled up peaks and ran long distance on the Ruby Crest Trail.
Day 1 started with a rollerski from the sagebrush ocean surrounding Elko Nv. This workout was pretty tough for pretty much everyone. First off - it was hot. For some it was the first workout they had done in a bit... for others, the challenge of a two hour rollerski plus 8 x 3 minutes of single stick on an uphill grade pushed them to the limits.
Hike the first evening -
There are some good things about smoke in the west. We see it annually. Every evening it plays with the sunset and makes it look like a dream. I saw that on our first hike after dinner when we got to the Rubys. It was my favorite hike because the day was beginning to cool down and when we scrambled to the end, it was calm.
The hike was a classic kind of hike you will see almost everywhere in the West, steep but extremely satisfying. It was the first hint of overhanging peaks that we would see frequently in the next five days and it was gorgeous.
Backpack to our basecamp
The Hike In Once we woke up and ate breakfast we loaded our packs with the food we were going to take with us atop our personal items. We loaded our gear into the trailer and headed for the trail head, once we got to the trail head we sunscreened up filled our bottles of water and off we went. It was a painful 2.5 hours with the majority of it uphill the first lake we came across we took a break, the lake was very clear and was like a Hawaiian blue, we then marched onto liberty pass, we took a break and viewed the valley which we came from and looked over to where we were going to camp. After 5 miles we finally arrived at the location which we would call home for the next couple of days, once we set up camp and ate food we took a nap.
After settling into camp we went a climbed Lake Peak (right above our campsite)
After Day 1’s drive over to the Ruby Mountain Wilderness and the hike in to base camp we took a break to set up camp. Then we decided to go for a hike, because we were too fatigued for intervals, to the top of Lake Peak. The hike started on the Farve Lake trail and quickly turned off to go up. The entire second half of the hike was through a large scree field with rocks of every size. The top of the peak had a geocash and a view of all the lakes around us. Behind us was complete flatland and agriculture, it was quite a sight to see. We then scurried down and Wilson found an unopened can of beer that I don’t know if was dranken or not.
On the third day we ran 7 Miles out and back on the Ruby Crest Trail
Little strip of dirt
As the sun rose over lake peak to greet us, we prepared for the day to come with hearty bowl of oatmeal cooked by none other than Jordi and Wilson themselves. Today we planned to conquer a large section of the Ruby Crest Trail, a wild strip of dirt, shale, and rock that snakes its way through the seemingly endless mountain range. After cleaning our bowls and tidying up the camp, our team began the run. About 30 minutes in, we crossed over the first pass of the day, giving us a clear view of what was to come. Ahead lay peak after peak with picturesque valleys sandwiched in between along with that little strip of dirt winding its way through the terrain. We ran down the other side and began running up the next mountain but were forced to begin walking due to the elevation and grade of the trail. Another 40 minutes got us to the next summit where an even more spectacular view opened up for us and we were able to view miles and miles of the farmland from which the Ruby Mountains rise as well as yet another set of incredible peaks. Our descent led us to a slight downhill where we were able to run much more quickly with hardly any effort. These 15 minutes of silence came to a close when Wilson exclaimed that that was one of the best sections of running he had ever had. Another couple of ridges later we reached the 2 hour mark and decided to eat. After enjoying a few well deserved peanut butter, jelly, and peanut M&M wraps (a new BBNT classic), we took in the view one last time and headed back towards camp on that little strip of dirt. After using up all of our water, we found a spring and spent a little while sitting down while Wilson filtered water. Rested up and ready to continue, we continued our run/hike. After over 4 hours of moving time (most of it running) we got back to camp more than excited for what was about to be one of the best quiet hours in BBNT history.
The morning of the 4th day we ran intervals
Early morning intervals On Thursday of camp we had an early morning interval session where did four six minute intervals up to the top of Liberty peak. We worked hard but still had breath to laugh at the top. We also got to see liberty lake sparkle in the early morning. Was an excellent interval session.
This interval session was awesome... After running the first two on trail, we took a hard left turn toward Liberty Peak. From there on out it was a full on scramble. (I think it was the first time I've been in level 4 while basically crawling!) The team had great energy, and put in an impressive effort after already clocking ~10 hours of training for the week!
On the afternoon of the 4th day we had an optional hike/ run
After a difficult interval session in the morning, it makes sense that many would skip the afternoon workout. Those that didn’t included Wilson, Jordi, Abram, Jackson, and I (Elise). We took off headed down Kleppner Canyon hoping to make it over a ridge and in to the next canyon over (Furlong Canyon). What we did instead was; lose the unmaintained trail, pick a line up the nearest mountain, and go on an adventure. We scrambled up a dry creek bed reaching a false ridge line. A mountain goat walked up the mountain a couple hundred feet away, not experiencing the fatigue that we had felt. A water and food break gave us the idea to shoot for the summit looming above. We continued our ascent, watching all of the wildlife move around us and following the mountain goat. Ants below our feet and Himalayan Snow Cocks gliding above our heads. As we climbed a final stretch of scree and rock watching the large birds nearby doing the same. Another break was taken at the summit, which we had arrived at in two hours and six minutes, barely over the initial plan for a two hour workout. We hiked back on the other side of the mountain range through large meadows and skree fields all the way back to the Ruby Crest Trail. We ran down the trail, as the sun lowered in the sky, all the way back to base camp. We had worried the group slightly by taking four hours to return instead of the promised two. But I was really glad just to experience the Ruby Mountains through a week of adventures like this one, even if they left me exhausted.
On Day 5 we climbed Mt. Fitzgerald
This hike was possibly the best experience that I have ever had hiking. Not only did we cap the top of the 2nd highest peak in the ruby mountains, but we did it all off trail (which is ok to do). We started off with a yummy bowl of plain oatmeal in the morning, packed our bags, and left camp at around 7:30 - 8:00 am. With our stomachs full of carbs and slightly sore muscles, we left on our trek. We took our first break on top of a crest overlooking two valleys. The view from this point was amazing. Normally one valley is beautiful, but this gave us two times that. We descended into the valley closest to Fitzgerald. Hiking down this hill seemed very hard due to the fact that the ground was loose and the plants were barbed. By the bottom, all of us were thirsty and out of water, so we stopped at a stream to fill up. After our quick break, we officially started up the mountain. Even though it was the beginning of our hike, we were a little tired from the last days. Kade Aldrich was there to keep us entertained, though. He made us all sit down to take a break from laughing at high evolution. After our laughing break, we hiked all the way to the top of Fitzgerald and the view was amazing! You could basically see everything that the rubies had to offer! We ate lunch and started the journey back to base camp. On the way down, we came across an underground spring stream that most of us took a sip from. After hiking through the brush at the bottom of the valley we came from, we climbed up to a crest that overlooked Lake Lamoille (one of the lakes we passed on the hike in) and took in that view. It was the closest to the team van that we had been in days. We followed that crest up back to Liberty Peak and headed down to the Ruby Crest Trail. From there, we went to Liberty Lake to swim/wash off. Some of the boys, Wilson, and I stayed back a little longer so that we could skip rocks for a long while. We got bored after we couldn’t beat Wilson’s score of high 20’s, so we started walking back to base camp. 20 minutes later, we arrive at home sweet home at 4:30 and definitely took a good break before dinner
On Day 6 we hiked out. With 7 lbs of cheese, 10+ lbs of salami, ~30 lbs of gummies/ trailmix/ oatmeal/ peanut butter/ tortillas/ etc in our bellies... well mostly in the woods... the hike out was much easier than the hike in.
After getting back to the van we took a healthy break and then set out for one final rollerski up Lamoille Canyon.
At any training camp the last workout is always going to be a beast, but a rollerski after fairly continuous hiking for a couple days is another beast entirely. Just putting on our skis caused us to break a sweat. During this workout we were tasked with doing double pole efforts periodically throughout the ski, but as we began to trundle up the road I had to put my effort towards preventing periodic stops. Less than 30 minutes into the struggle up the road Wilson dumps part of a jug of water onto all over me. The jolt of water definitely zapped me full of energy and, instead of doing periodic double poles, I just decided to double pole the rest of the ski. Unfortunately the water also had an adverse effect, it filled up all the padding in my helmet with water. This meant that any sweat would just drip directly into my eyes and mouth instead of getting stuck with my helmet. But as I rolled into the parking lot at the top the fact that all I had drank in the past 20 minutes was sweat made being done so much sweeter. Or maybe just saltier.