Start/finish is at far right. The trail went sort of counter-clockwise from there. Except when it didn't.
First aid station, 5.3 miles, underexposed. Johnny is white dot at upper right.
First aid station. Still too early for pictures.
Climbing out of sediment-choked Rendija Canyon. This was the beginning of the first climb, at about Mile 6. This shot looks back down into the canyon; sharp eyes can detect a couple of runners still in the creek.
Several dots ahead of me on first climb. Area is slowly recovering from the 2000 Cerro Grande fire which reached the edges of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Halfway up the first climb to Guaje Ridge. Several dot people switchbacking up the ridge ahead of me.
Climbing further up Guaje Ridge, Mile 7. This is also Mile 43 later on.
After the aid on Guaje Ridge is a bomber descent into cool Guaje Canyon. At Mile 9 or so a metal ladder is used to get over an old dam.
From Mile 11 to 13 the trail gains 1800' of elevation to the summit of Caballo Mountain. Here at Mile 12 or so, two runners return from the summit as I continue ascending.
Caballo Summit Aid Station, 10,400', Mile 13. Guaje Ridge and Los Alamos in background. Now I get to turn around and drop 1800'.
Mario or Luigi? Mile 13 at Caballo Summit. Pajarito Ski Slopes (Miles 32-36) in left background. Low clouds in Valles Caldera (Miles 20-25) just to right of my head.
Busy Caballo Base aid station, Miles 11 & 15, manned by the LA High School X-Country squad. The 50K runners started an hour later than us, and lots of them are just beginning their climb up Caballo as I return.
Saari Thondop on the hard climb from Caballos Base to Pipeline, Mile 16. Thondop is Tibetan but was born in India and moved to the U.S. at age 17. He is a preventive firefighter. Obviously I ran with him a while.
Pipeline Aid Station (and drop bag point) at the eastern rim of the Valles Caldera, Miles 17 and 39. This is where I drank my first Boost and felt sick for the next two miles.
Looking west into the caldera from Pipeline Aid. Trail continues straight ahead and off the rim of the caldera.
The steep drop from Pipeline into the caldera. The sign refers to Nate McDowell, who designed and marked the course and finished in 2nd place.
Halfway down the drop into the Caldera, looking back up towards Pipeline. This is every bit as steep and loose as it appears.
At the bottom of the steepest section of the drop into the Valles Caldera. There were a couple of people descending at upper left when I took the picture, but they seem to have disappeared.
Mile 20, inside the Valles Caldera. The caldera is a 15-mile diameter circular depression formed by post-eruption collapse of the top half of the volcano into its depleted magma chamber. Eruption/collapse was about 1 million years ago and blanketed the area with 100's of feet of ash.
Unidentified runner, possibly Leah Fine, who finished way ahead of me. Mile 21 in the caldera. The mountains on the horizon form the southeast rim of the caldera. We are on a long downhill to the treeless patch at the base of those mts.
From the Valle Grande Aid Station, Mile 22. Run course continues down to pond, across the dam and then right to left across the field towards the saddle (look for a dot runner or two). All of this section is cross-country (no trail).
Thondop and a couple more people ahead of me heading toward the pass which is the Caldera's exit. A tougher climb than it looks.
Looking southwest across the caldera, about 15 miles across.
Mile 23, looking back at Valle Grande Aid Station (base of dark finger of trees at right). Robert King of Houston ascending behind me. Soon he would be ahead of me after I took a spill on the ensuing descent.
Mile 29. After a long, clumsy descent of Cañon de Valle, we hit Aid #8 and then turned back west up Pajarito Canyon. This is the beginning of a long climb up to the ski area base. I'm not happy at this point to be ascending into dark clouds/thunder.
Looking west into the Valles Caldera from the top of Pajarito Ski Area. Mile 34. Fortunately, the thunder activity has settled down a bit at this point.
Preparing to descend the ski hill, Mile 34 or so. Caballo Peak is in background, just right of the lift tower. The clearing near Caballo's summit is where the Caballo Aid Station was, way back at Mile 13.
Last exposure on the camera, Mile 38. Robert King and Saari Thondop ascending Canada Bonita Meadow towards the second trip into Pipeline Aid Station (Aid #11, drop bags, chocolate Boost). From Pipeline it was a long trip down Guaje Ridge, with aid at 43 and 48, back to the finish in Los Alamos.
Finisher's award didn't survive the drive home.
It appears to have been some sort of...pottery urchin?