What an exciting day on Badger Mountain! Kudos to Brandon Lott and Scott Conrad from the Runner’s Soul for organizing such a great event to not only support the Friends of Badger Mountain but to encourage people to get outside and be more active (see the Mission of hiketricities.com on the front page). I caught up with Brandon and Scott right after the race, the video below tells of their thoughts.
The weather couldn’t have been better. Sunshine with temps reaching near 70 degrees. There was a light wind on Badger Mountain cooling us off a little. Especially enjoyable was the opportunity to see good friends who were of the same thought for an enjoyable Saturday morning.
We started at the bottom of the paved road that goes up to Trailhead Park. Around 550 people registered for the 15k race. This was a very well organized event, complete with timing chips and the opportunity to qualify for bigger races. The route continued up the paved road where we hit the dirt at the lower parking lot for Trailhead Park.
The route then went up the trail on the steep switchbacks that I call the “Stairs”. This was a bottleneck as it was heavy traffic, single file with careful footing required.
I wanted to create a video narration of my time on the course. You can watch the video below. One mistake I made was I kept referring to the first part of the trail as the “Sagebrush Trail“, when it is actually the Canyon Trail, sorry!The course then went up the Canyon Trail. The traffic was still pretty thick and several people passed me as I was hiking and many others were trail running. I did well on the uphills as I passed several people who were breathing hard but most of them passed me on the flats or downhill.
It was so exciting to see the motivation these runners and hikers have. Bravo to all who participated today as it is a testament to your dedication to better health!
As we got to the top of the of Badger Mountain, we turned left and headed down the access road. It was quite dusty with powder dirt as this is not part of the normal Badger Mountain Trail system.
Aside from seeing all the people getting out on the trail. Another highlight for me was seeing the spring flowers starting to bloom on Badger Mountain. I saw Carey’s Balsamroot (above), Rosy Balsamroot, Purse’s Milk Vetch, and Phlox galore with many shades (see those below).
As we got down the access road, we took a surprise turn to the right. We headed to the base of Badger Mountain on the south side bordering an orchard (see tracing from my GPS below). When I did the BMC 2 years ago, we traveled through a neighborhood on the north side.
The farm road bordering the orchard took us all the way to Dallas Road to the Skyline trailhead. There were nice nourishment stations at several locations along the hike. The route of the Skyline trail zig-zagged through the sagebrush then crested the ridge with an expansive view of the Tri-Cities. The traffic had pretty much spread out and was fairly thin. We followed the Skyline Trail all the way to the turnoff to the top where we kept going straight to head for the finish line on the Sagebrush Trail. By this time, my knees were getting a little sore. I jogged a bit on the home stretch. I must admit, I haven’t been hiking for awhile as my exercise has been mainly on my road bicycle and I know I’ll feel it for a few days.
I gave it one last push and jogged (or more like trotted)
across the finish line where my wonderful wife and co-racer son Justin were waiting for me.
What a great course for today’s Badger Mountain Challenge! The only trail we didn’t get on was the new Badger Mountain Flats trail.
A beautiful day on Badger Mountain, I know I’ll be back on that trail very soon as the colors will be exploding over the next few months!