Me in My Teepee

Me in My Teepee at Camp Wolverine

Me in My Teepee at Camp Wolverine. Photo by Kista Cook.

My friend Kista and I went out for a run in Griffith Park. Kista wanted to head up to Amir’s Garden. We took a different route out that put us on singletrack down to Camp Wolverine aka the Griffith Park Boys Camp, closed until summer, a place that neither of us knew anything about.

This is one of the joys of Griffith Park. We’ve each been running it for years, and we still find new trails that take us to new places. At 4,300 acres, Griffith Park is 5 times the size of Central and much more rugged, especially once you get away from the tourist area of Observatory. It’s one of the largest municipal parks in the country, full of hills and even a mountain lion or two.

There’s a teepee at Camp Wolverine, along with a big canoe, and a little totem pole. When I was a little kid I had my own teepee in the backyard of our house in Calgary. It was meant for someone even littler than I was; if I slept in it everything from the waist down was outside. I also had an indian outfit, complete with feather headdress. I was a blue eyed towhead, but my father, from the Dakotas, was dark and had the nickname Injun Joe in the airforce.

Tomorrow, I head to Fort Collins Colorado to run the Quad Rock 50m. This is the second year of the race, which has Nick Clark as a Race Director, and it looks like it could be a fun race and good training for AC100. The elevation profile is the classic shark’s teeth profile that so many of us ultra runners in the West are so fond of. 11,000 feet of elevation gain, at slight altitude (up and down between 5,000 and 7,000 feet). I don’t know how much of it is singletrack and how much is wide trail or fire road, but I suspect it leans to singletrack.

It’s a mini family reunion as well, although I will be the only family member doing any running. Meals might be a challenge. One sister eats only meat and potatoes, the other leans that way but all gluten free, and I don’t really eat much meat at all and primarily live on fruit, vegetables and pasta.

One sister lives in Denver, the other in Nashville. I’m in Los Angeles. Colorado has mountains. Nashville – not so much. Los Angeles: many more than most people realize. The image of LA seems to be surfers, starlets, stucco. What isn’t as well known is that Los Angeles has the greatest change in elevation of any city in the USA, going from sea-level to Denver mile-high. Much of the city is hilly, and we are surrounded by mountains.

The last time I was in the Rockies I was driving from Denver to LA, a stop-over on a trip that started in Austin. We were moving rather suddenly, Atilla the Cat, Greely the three legged dog, my girlfriend Jean, and some random luggage, all crammed into a Karman Ghia. A drunk backed into us at a gas station and then took off. We called the cops, they didn’t show up for at least an hour, and when they did finally show up it was to ask us what we were doing, as the gas station had already closed. Somewhere along the way we ended up with a hole in the fuel line. Air was getting sucked into the fuel line, we couldn’t get the car past second gear, Karman Ghias are air cooled and at that speed in the summer, things weren’t cooling, if we stopped the car wouldn’t start again until it had cooled, usually 8 hours later, and so a drive that should’ve taken 2 easy days took a week.

That was 1985. It will be fun to go back.

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