I ran up Ostrich Peak this morning, for the second time this week. Ostrich is a perfect example of the fantastic trail/mountain running opportunities that Ashland provides. I live literally 1 1/2 blocks from Ashland’s downtown Plaza (yes, Ashland has a plaza; after spending time in the Southwest, I love it when a town has a pedestrian-ish area at its center a la Santa Fe), and the uphill begins less than 100 yards from my front doorstep. After 5 minutes of running, the route takes a right turn onto Strawberry Lane and this is where life gets strenuous. Strawberry climbs at a 20+% grade for a good quarter mile or so, and there’s really not another stretch of truly flat trail until the summit of Ostrich at 4700′, five miles and nearly 3000 vertical feet later.
The run up this morning was classic Ashland. In the pre-dawn darkness, town was enveloped in a cloud of thick fog, but within 300 vertical feet I was out of the fog and the temperature rose significantly, to 50+ degrees F. The route up Ostrich involves Hitt Road (really a single track trail) and then a turn onto the even steeper Mystical Trail. Here’s shot of some typical tread up there (Photo Credit: drjeff).
The top of Ostrich–as with any climb–is the real treat. Now, in the middle of January, there were just a couple small patches of snow, and the view to the east is phenomenal. One can see past Grizzly Peak (6000′, on the other side of Bear Creek) to the stunning conical profile of the snow-covered 9500′ Mt. McLoughlin (it’s much more imposing in real life than it appears in this photo). Additionally, some of the snow-covered pointy Cascades near the Crater Lake area are visible. (Photo Credit: drjeff)
Having a run like this right out my front doorstep (one of many possibilities, but the most imposing peak as seen from Main Street) makes me think of Scott Elliott and his “every day, lots of vertical” approach. I’m not going to be going for 100 summits in 100 days any time soon, but I do plan on getting up there 3-5 days every week.