Sean Blanton

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What you Run From?

By Sean “Run Bum” Blanton

Towards the end of my recent trip to the Everest region of Nepal, I really discovered what trail running means to me. I was running along one of the many unmarked trails leading away from the Everest base camp. I was flying downhill through a small village at around 14,000 feet, and I passed some of the local Nepali's who were herding their Yaks. As I kept running, I could tell by the ghastly look on their faces that they were somewhat frightened by me. One man even dropped what he was carrying and said to me in broken English, “What you run from?” It occurred to me that they didn’t understand why I was running. Most people here (and many places I run) don't find pleasure in running. They only run for two reasons: When they are being chased or when they are chasing something. These Nepali’s were just hoping that I was not being chased (and that they should be running to).

“Namaste! I am running for fun,” I replied with a goofy smile on my face that only a mother could love. Puzzled, the man looked at me funny and bid me, “Namaste.” Namaste is a way to say hello and goodbye. Loosely means, "The spirit in me respects the spirit in you."

I reflected on this later that day. Was I chasing something? And then, it hit me. I run for adventure, simply for the thrill. When I get out there and run in remote areas, I am seeing the world by power of your own two feet, and smiling more in a day than most will in a lifetime.

Not everyone finds adventure through running. But I do. For me, finding a fun trail and running it in my own way is an adventure in itself. Whether it is in the Himalayas or amidst the Alps or just on the streets of Atlanta, regardless of where I am or what I am running, I always make it as fun as possible. “When you run for fun you always win”

As someone who travels, or rather runs, around the world to find far off adventures, I can honestly say that adventure starts where you want it too. You just have to seek it out.

My 5 favorite places to trail run in the world and why:

5.  Na Pali Coast Trail. Kauai, Hawaii.

The island of Kauai is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It is a south pacific island that some how floated north of the equator. It's rugged and wild. The Na Pali Coast trail know as Kalalau Trail, is an 11 mile (each way) trail along the north shore of Kauai. It hugs the breathtakingly  famous Na Pali Coast cliffs. Up and down in and out it takes you on this roller coaster of a trail. A points you are mere inches from a 700 foot cliff drop.  There is one way in and one way out. Single track.

4.  Santa Monica Mountains, North of Los Angeles, California

Driving north from Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast Highway, there is one of the most epically beautiful trails I have ever run on. Stop at Point Mugu State Park. Follow the trail up either side of the canyon for un paralleled views. From sean level the trail climbs a good 2,000+ on either side. You are surrounded by cacti, small shrubbery and desert looking fauna along this single track heaven. This trail really embodies to me what California is and what it was some 100 years ago. Simply a must do!

3.  Devil's Back Bone. Gallatin range outside Bozeman, Montana

Starting at around 7,200 ft you quickly climb up Hyalite Peak to 10,300 ft. You then hold between 9,000 and 10,000 feet along a winding ridge. It is about 25 miles one way from the Palace Butte Campground to Windy pass forest service station. The views are insane! Out of breath you try to keep focused but there is just to much beauty. You can see Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort and various other ranges from the ridge. Elk,  Bears and mountain lions are all known to inhabit the area. Bring bear spray and never run/hike alone.

2.  Canadian Rockies. Alberta, Canada.

There are so many trails here I can not begin to try and describe them. Fly into Calgary and then head north towards Banff. Canmore, located in a small valley in between the mountains is one of the first towns you will hit. Its one of my favorite places in the world.  Both sides of the highway offer multiple trails to the top of peaks. Also check out the trails around Lake Morraine and Lake Louise. And for the even more adventurous check out some of the remote trails in Jasper National Park. All of this is bear territory so act accordingly. There is a trail for every runnable day of the summer here!

1.  Trail Du Mont Blanc. Chamonix, France.

The Trail du Mont Blanc, or TMB as locals call it, is a circumnavigation of Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Europe. One of THE MOST CHALLENGING trails in the world. Enough up and down to last 3 lifetimes. It's rocky as heck and the weather is known to change in the blink of an eye. On the trail you are gifted with spectacular views of the Mont Blant Massif. Glaciers, snow covered peaks that disappear in to the clouds, and towering views of the valleys belowe you are what you can expect from this trail. You'll pass through 18th century looking towns in three different countries, France, Italy and Switzerland.

Ok I'll be honest. Half of the reason I love this trail is because of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. It is a series of races held on the trail. So I am a partial favorite to it. Race or not it is a must. 

Post Your Comments

 ← refresh image