XTERRA Smokechaser, on September 9th in Priest Lake, Idaho, will open the 2017-2018 XTERRA Trail Run Season.
Named for the brave protectors of the forest, who trekked into the wilderness to put out forest fires, XTERRA Smokechaser will follow the trails used by the original "smokechasers." Before roads, helicopters, and smoke jumpers were used for firefighting, the smokechasers were taken by boat to a drop-off point or trail head below the smoke. They then hiked to the fire, carrying a heavy fire pack which contained a Pulaski, shovel, water and two to three days of rations. This was all wrapped in a canvas tarp, which also served as a bedroll for the cold nights.
The race will start on the shore of Priest Lake and will run through sections of lush forest and high, alpine terrain to the historic lookout tower at 7200 feet up in the mountains.
"This trail will get you to the best scenic vista in the Selkirk Mountains and it is more than worth the work to get there," said race director, Ken Eldore.
The 5-mile course will start on the beach of Priest Lake. You will run on well-maintained single track as well as hiking trails and a logging road with a great view of Priest Lake toward the top. The course has elevation gain of 500 feet.
The 30k course will begin and end on four miles of very runnable dirt forest road. Miles four through six and miles 14-16 are runnable but rocky and steeper. Some of the trails are technical and rugged on the way up to the tower. If you are new to technical trail running, plan to hike some of these upper sections as it is challenging technical running. There are a number of sections of rocky and gravel mix and several water crossings, including a very cool waterfall.
The tower access trail used to supply the lookout tower crews when it was staffed during fire season. It is only accessible by foot or ATV so we can not get drop bags to the turn around. There will be water, sport drink, and snack food at the three mile mark. The turn around point at the lookout tower around mile nine will have water and gel and full aid at the 16-mile mark.
You will need to have a Camelback or water bottles and your own nutrition between aid stations. Plan to carry a minimum of 32 ounces. The 30k course gain will gain 4800 feet in elevation.
For more information and to register, visit www.priestlakerace.com.