Monday, December 12, 2011

Rapid River Intervals: "Jim Jones Koolaid"

koolaid (as defined by
Cyanide laced drink used by cult leader Jim Jones in the 1978 mass suicide of 1913 people in French Guyana.  The term "drink the koolaid" is commonly used to infer acceptance or belief in things that are ridiculous.  

J. Jones RIP
Each winter when the McCall trails are buried, I make several trips north 40+ miles to Rapid River near Riggins, ID.  Here, at lower altitudes (TH at 2200') the trails are runnable for several miles all winter long.  The trail begins in a near desert state climbing through gorgeous limestone bands and following sometimes luscious river bottom terrain.  Nearly four miles into the run, the Rapid River splits giving access to 2 high quality trails travelling high into the alpine wilderness.  The East Fork travels south 15 miles towards its headwaters on Pollack Mountain (8048') near New Meadows.  The West Fork travels north about 12 miles and climbing past 8000' terminating in the Seven Devils Mountains above Hell's Canyon.  

For a December run, I have been lucky to get up there twice in the past three days to 4000' on the West Fork at the McRea Cabin.  This tough run nets only 1800' of vertical from the trailhead, but the constant rolling action of the trail grosses nearly twice that amount.  

As a bonus, I like to do intervals from the first bridge to the top of that steep rise to the grave marker of J. Jones.  Three to five of these things at good effort will buckle the knees.  Each one is .73 miles long and gains 700'.  I generally average 7:45 on the up and jog down at 6:30.

I call this brutal workout "Jim Jones Koolaid" for 3 reasons:  1. The grave seen above is the finish line.  2.  It feels like you are dying if you do these things hard enough.  3.  I have belief that this ridiculous activity is a good and fun thing to do and will benefit me.  Hence, I am "drinking the koolaid."

This is the interval hill on the way down.

Same as above.  Striking topography in this drainage.  Tons of limestone caves need to be bolted and climbed.

Still descending.  This is a great downhill to work on turnover leg speed.


  1. That is a very cool looking place. I like the koolaid tie-in. Those repeats sound 'killer'!

  2. Hey Chris,
    Glad to see someone is reading this drivel. Idaho really is special. Lot's of mountains, canyons and wildlife with not many Idahoans.

    You doing some 100's this year? I'm thinking of Cascade Crest and possibly an earlier season 100. You should come up and win my 100 in October.