Ellensburg to SLC

Ellensburg to SLC

I drove south into Yakima Canyon. I stopped at Umtanum and ran up towards the Skyline trail. I met a couple of hikers about a mile in. It was cloudy and in the upper 40s. I ran to the base of the big climb before becoming overwhelmed with anxiety. I was cold. Nobody was around. Nobody knew where I was. Few, if any people would even come out here. I turned tail at the cloud line and ran back. Turns out that was a great idea, since I desperately needed to hit the toilet.

I stopped again at Red’s to get a coffee and clean up - they hard running water. Off again, past Yakima and the rain started.

I had driven this path in October, but it was at night and I remember very little of it. Apparently I had managed to make it all the way to Nampa, ID that night. At this moment, I was struggling before getting into Oregon.

The Blue Mountains were intense, and I struggled to keep Gershwin’s RPMs below 4k. 

I stopped for coffee in what I think was La Grande.

I tried to get dinner at a brew pub in Boise. All the brew pubs were packed. The wait would be more than half an hour. I wasn’t happy. I got back in the car and headed south towards Salt Lake City.

Starting at around 9:30pm, everybody started contacting me. Texts. Calls. Alerts. The works. I was in some sort of angry zone. I couldn’t stop listening to the same album as I ticked the miles to exist 315 of I-15.

I finally got to SLC and checked into my hotel just as the nearby restaurant closed. I started returning calls. I hadn’t even mentioned to the office yet that I was leaving.

Frank, as it turns out, had become violently ill — more ill than he would let on, as it turned out — and would not be coming to run the Canyon with me.

The anxiety from the run, the driving, the pressures on me both personal and professional had crescendoed. I lay in the bed — instead of the campground near the lake I had been vaguely envisioning — and stared at the ceiling. 

Why had I not just stopped at a rest area like a respectable, responsible HotElement owner? It would take quite a while before I could answer that.

At least I didn’t have to drive to Flagstaff in one go the next day. I could take my time and explore SLC properly.