“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter”. — Izaak Walton
A dream born a couple years ago is finally coming to fruition!
Along with my neighbors and fellow volunteers in our small community, we live in, play in, and love the mountains. But with that comes responsibility, as well as risk. We take care of one another, as well as visitors, and we try to be good stewards of these woods, valleys and mountains. Many volunteer as trained first responders and often work side by side with our county, state and federal law enforcement and fire fighters; w work together, laugh together and have even cried together… and in doing so, have become extended family. Too many times our community has been threatened and by wildfire, and yes, we suffer the loss of homes or property. And, sometimes we lose a member of our extended family tragically. Within the past five years, as a volunteer fire fighter and chaplain, I have experienced that pain; tried to somehow come alongside the families and the fire families after such a loss. It is no easy thing, especially when one has worked with the deceased.
Beauty does come from ashes however, and organizations like the Wildland Fire Fighter Foundation, The Eric Marsh Foundation and the Wildland Firefighter Guardian Institute are the result of those losses.
September 29, 2018 we hosted the first annual Wildland 52k Ultramarathon in Jemez Springs, NM. to raise funds for the WFF and WFGI; in 2019, we will be raising funds for the EMF and WFGI.
The course will run from the village of Jemez Springs, through the Jemez Monument* and ascend steeply out of the canyon* and then follow the rim. We will run through creeks and by waterfalls, and summit two of the higher Jemez mountains which make up the old “high-line route” that Fire Lookouts and Patrol Rangers used to watch for signs of wildfire, beginning in the early 1900’s. You will flirt with the edges of new burn scars along a high mountain ridge, run through old burn scars to witness the rebirth of a forest, follow the steps of wildland crews, climb an old dozer line up steep slopes now covered in wild flowers and behold the spectacular views from the fire tower. If we’re lucky, the aspens will be changing into gold and elk will be bugling!
*We have been granted use of state and private property for this race, on the race day specifically and have been requested to inform participants that access to the park is by “fee only” outside of race day. Please be advised there is NO ACCESS to the private property surrounding the monument and to the canyon rim, other than registered runners on race day or designated/authorized crews conducting trail maintenance. Please respect these requests so that we may continue this event as planned this year and hopefully in future years to come.