Jul 27, 2011

Photos: Wakely Dam Ultra 2011

The Wakely Dam Ultra is held on an uninterrupted 32.6 mile section of the Northville-Placid trail through the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area from Piseco to Wakely Dam. There are no cross roads. There is no aid. Even the finish line, a 17 mile drive from the nearest town on a mostly-dirt road, is pretty remote by New York standards. Runners provide for all their needs. This usually means carrying your food with you and taking / treating water from streams.

Following are photos I shot with my camera. I didn't take too many, so I included a bunch taken by my buddy RJ, who I think really did a good job capturing what the trail was really like. They're in no particular order.

I'll post a regular paragraph-form report sometime in the next week.

My photos:

Mile 10, the first time I stopped for water
Beaver dam holding back the lake in the previous photo, below which the cascade I took water from.
Runners milling around the starting line.
Cedar River dam at mile 23. Built in 1903 by a logging company, it has been abandoned and looks  to my untrained eyes ready to fail.
The dam is for 31 miles the only man-made thing we see that isn't a hikers bridge, lean-to, outhouse or trail marker.
The bridge over the dam looked just a little unsafe. (Not part of the course.)
Another runner saw me taking pictures of this spot and offered to shoot one with me in it. The next three pictures were taken from this same location.
So due to the incredible rain we had in march, a bridge that was here was washed away. These ropes replaced them. Reports from as late as May indicate that this crossing was impassable. But as you can see, the water level declined significantly.
Typical Lean-to from the course. A ranger was hanging out here and some runners were talking to him.
16.2 miles to the finish!
The trail marker we followed
Here's the warning that the bridge is out.
The starting line is at the end of the road.
RJs Photos. Curious about what the course looks like? Here's the answer:

As you look at these photos, keep in mind that they do a good job representing the majority of the 32.6 mile run. If you're expecting mostly smooth soft California singletrack with a few rocky sections, you'd be mistaken.

Lots of fallen trees.
When the bridge is out, we cross the beaver dam instead! Seriously.
When I saw this bridge was out, I just plowed through the creek. Didn't see the replacement bridge 100ft to my right.
The replacement bridge.
Stay on the right side of this bridge..
The gate at 50K. Still about 2K to go.
Because of construction, we couldn't do the glorious dam crossing at the finish. This is what we did instead.