Western States Trekker – Day 1 – Squaw Valley to Duncan Canyon

Three #WesternStatesTrekker team members left Squaw at 8 AM in a sea of runners competing in the Broken Arrow Skyrace. Richard Bolt, Ross McMahan and Steve Tjiang hiked uphill while Ted McCarthy ran backwards on the course from Duncan Canyon to meet the team and JP Donovan drove the support vehicle.


About 2 miles in the hike Steve was having trouble keeping pace with Ross and Richard and graciously bowed out of the project after having carried the trekker the first mile up the hill. Steve’s day became an enjoyable hike around Squaw while Richard and Ross powered up the hill with the 50 pound Google Trekker backpack and supplies.


Ross and Richard hit the monument in 90 minutes, traded the trekker carrying duties and headed out of the ski resort and were soon in the Granite Chief Wilderness. The snow was pretty sparse but there were many water crossings, mud and water flowing down the trail. Shortly before exiting Granite Chief Richard passed the trekker to Ross who carried the trekker to the Lyon Ridge aid station (mile 10.5).


About 12 miles into the trek Richard & Ross met up with Ted McCarthy who ran from Duncan Canyon. We planned to resupply at mile 16 – Red Star Ridge – with JP Donovan who was driving the support vehicle. Unfortunately, JP had trouble finding Red Star so Richard, Ross and Ted had to push on to Duncan Canyon while conserving their remaining water supplies – about 1.5 water bladders of fluid.


Fortunately, JP made it to Duncan Canyon and hit the trail with water and food and ran East to meet the team. JP connected with the trio at mile 20 where his extra water was much appreciated. With water taken care of the team also had to deal with dwindling battery power for the Google Maps trekker. JP ran back to Duncan Canyon to get a fresh battery and met up with the team again at mile 22.5. After a quick battery swap the full team of four drove on, collecting panoramic images to their planned finish point of Duncan Canyon.


The final numbers for the day – 23.8 miles of the Western States trail accomplished in 8:37:25 with the 50 pound trekker backpack.

For more information about the #WesternStatesTrekker project from the American Trail Running Association visit our trekker page.  See more photos from the trail in this Google Photos album.


Special thanks to our trekker project supporters: Salomon Running, Trail Run Project, VFuel, Picky Bar, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, iRunFar, The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, Visit Placer, Auburn Endurance Capital of the World, Foresthill Miner’s Camp and Myke Hermsmeyer Photography.

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