Eastern Plains

The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–40, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

 

prevailing winds blew away [dust] in huge clouds that sometimes blackened the sky. These choking billows of dust – named “black blizzards” or “black rollers” – traveled cross country…

 

The drought and erosion of the Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres that centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and touched adjacent sections of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.

 

Set a lotta new running goals in 2016 – first ultra distance, first trail race…and this weekend, my first marathon Double.

Boulder Louisville Westminster Englewood.  Work, homedog drop-off, commuter Park N Ride.  Picked up Dave [a fellow 50 Stater] Friday nite 7pm & highway’d west.  Hour-half to Limon (KS border), 2 hours south to Lamar – a super small town on the Plains (population 7,776), more reminiscent of Kansas than Colorado.

Dust Bowl Series, Lamar COTomorrow’s marathon would be my 2nd Colorado ‘training run’.  [Already selected the Colorado Marathon on May 1st to complete my 50 States Quest.]  January ran Cause & Effect Marathon in Brighton (Achilles Int’l charity race); registered tomorrow’s run as a FREE entry thru Mainly Marathons, part of their 5-day Dust Bowl Series. Well…kinda free. Week later signed up for Sunday’s 26.2 in Clayton, New Mexico.  LOL>

Good training for next month – when I run State 49 Saturday in Illinois, hop on a plane, then finish State 50 the following morning in Fort Collins 🙂

Hoteled 6 hours at the Cow Palace (yep, completely serious) – then landed 10 minutes away in Lamar’s Willow Creek Park.  Bib pick-up & blueberry pancakes.  Game on!

Mainly Marathons trademark – FOOD.  You’ll never go hungry on one of their runs!

Today’s course: 14 laps on urban trail (dirt & gravel…but this ain’t Moab – no mid-race rock climb required 🙂 ).  Have never run so many laps in my life – tough to stay focused repetitive looping.  Today we’d collect rubber bands – 13 bands, then one last loop to the Finish. Simple brilliant idea.  I proudly collectedly 7 on one arm, 6 on the other.

Felt STRONG this cold day, went out fast.  Held third, then slipped to 4th a lap later.  Been running desert 5 weeks straight.  I’m a cold weather runner, today my kinda day.

Temps dropped, wind blew & my pace slowed.  Four laps remaining, tagged a steady runner – Dan from Iowa.  Proudly declared ‘Victory Lap’ as I slipped on band 13, downed a handful of salty chips & hit trail, one last loop.

1.87 miles more.  Mentally STRONG – FINISHED marathon/ultra #58.

2016 Dust Bowl Series Day 4 – Full Marathon – March 26, 2016 – Lamar, CO
KR Haga Louisville CO    05:00:39

Quick shower at the Cow Palace.  SNOW blowing, 2 hour drive ‘cross the Oklahoma Panhandle, diner dinner in New Mexico.

One down, one to go.  first marathon DOUBLE in sight – definitely gonna happen tomorrow!

 

the Dust Bowl, 1930’s America

 

Roggen to Fort Morgan, CR-127 to CR-104, then CR-110 thru Pawnee National Grassland to Pawnee Buttes trailhead.

Any of this sound familiar?  Nope.  Drove to the ends of the earth today — 13 miles south of Nebraska, 16 miles to Wyoming.  Not only my first Colorado ‘Plains’ hike but my first time on a dirt road for 14 solid miles.  Internet research recommended we travel with a full tank of gas – COOOOORRECT!  Only visible signs of life I saw were drill wells & 3 Pronghorn antelope.

My friend Stephen travelled in from New Hampshire for a quick weekend visit – but what to do with only 2 days?  Luckily, John had sent out an email on Tuesday inviting those available to join him & son Nate on a hike to Pawnee Buttes.  PERFECT!

And Ro?  Couldn’t have been happier – off leash & free to explore with Annmarie’s Jack Russell, Karma.

Temps in the 50’s & sunshine – beautiful day hike.  Internet research warned this hike was prone to rattlesnakes & a scorcher in the summer (no trees).  Mighty happy to bang out [this hike] while temps were comfortable & small pockets of snow still show.

Deviated off trail, opting to follow canyon ravines carved around both prominent buttes.  Rock climbing was not an option today – these formations consisted of only sandstone & clay.  Kinda like giant mud patties left baking in the sun for centuries.

Traversing around the opposite end of West Pawnee Butte, caught some amazing views while trekking above the gorge wall.  Posted multiple ‘WOW’ shots — both John & Nate mugged from some sheer crazy drop-offs.

I attempted to scale West Pawnee Butte – made it up maybe 15 feet max.  Had to stay loose & light – and NOT grip too tightly or the clay climbing wall would literally crush in my hands.  Going up, no worries.  However, climbed down blind.  Hard to get a foothold without breaking clay.  Whatta AWESOME life experience!  Check, done 🙂

Drove State Highway 14 to Fort Collins on the return (rural but paved), stopping to eat burgers at Coopersmiths in Old Town before verving off on our respective trips home.  FUN end to a crazy FUN day!

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