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Monday, June 19, 2017

Bird Camp Idaho

Partial group shot from our first trail run
Welcome to another Weekly Review post with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin! I took off a few days from training then went to Birdcamp, so I thought I'd revisit what we did last week.

June 12–June 18
Total Run: 24 miles / 4,377 ft
Total Hike: 3.6 miles / 850 ft

What is Bird Camp? 
First things first, Bird Camp is a women-only running camp through Oiselle. Only current Volée members have access to Bird Camp. There are several across the United States with accommodations for 20 to 150 women. I went to Bird Camp Michigan last year where the focus was sand dunes and wine tours. It was beautiful and my Volée membership finally made sense. (In real life meetings are where it's at.) 

In our Bird Camp shirts
I figured I'd go to Michigan again, but when we decided to move to Bozeman I signed up for Idaho Bird Camp, which is unofficially known as the trail running camp. The run/hikes were steep and in high altitude, but I can confidently say that all levels are welcome. There was a race option as well. The River of No Return Endurance Run had a 25k, 50k, and 108k option. I chose to run the 25k and didn't know what to expect. 

Living Waters Ranch

When and Where
Idaho Bird Camp took place Wednesday, June 14 thru Sunday, June 18 at Living Waters Ranch in Challis, Idaho. Challis is pretty remote, so many folks flew into Salt Lake, Boise, or Sun Valley. From Bozeman it's about a 5.5 hour drive, but I ended up going to Missoula (3 hours away) to meet up with other Montana ladies to ride the rest of the way with them. It was really nice to have 3 friends right off the bat! 

Daily Activities
Check in, a light dinner, introductions, and a tour of the campgroups. Our camp swag bag included a high quality Oiselle backpack/tote, Lux layer Bird Camp shirt, Stance socks, Nuun, a trucker hat, Hank Orange headband, Blue Rub anti chafe stick, Picky Bars, and some things I'm probably forgetting. It was a great spread.    

Water crossing #1 on the Juliette Creek Trail
Breakfast was at 7, then most of us suited up for a trail run at Juliette Creek. (Four of the more advanced ladies went to mark and scout a snowy section of trail along the River of No Return 108k course.) The Juliette Creek trail was also part of the 108k course and included 4 or 5 river crossings over high water with a strong current. There were ropes to help us cross and the water was freeeeeezing. After 4.7 miles we went up and down 1,257 feet. 

Bayhorse Lake

Afterwards, we drove up to Bayhorse Lake for a photo stop. Last year, the lake wasn't snowy so they were able to run around and even jump in the water. Way too cold for that! My group took the downtime between the lake and lunch to stock up on groceries. 

Goldbug infinity pool
After lunch, we took a long ride out to Goldbug Hot Springs in Elk Bend. It was about 35 miles from Challis, but soooo worth the drive and steep-steep-steep hike. I don't think we were mentally prepared for a hot hike, but the view from the hot spring pool was amazing. The water felt fantastic and it was a great break before the hike down. 

Part of the pizza party

The night ended with dinner at a pizza place in Challis. I was beat by bedtime! 

Up the camp road

Another 7am breakfast and folks divided into groups for the morning's activities. I went on a shakeout run with about 8 or so others. We ran up the road closest to camp and it was deceptive. It looked flat, but it turned out to be a slight incline. We walked a bit and socialized in the middle, but it was a great workout and I began to appreciate my Bozeman training. I think it would have been very difficult to run this route with Ohio lungs. 

I watched as they did the work.
Before lunch, one of the Idaho Volée leaders led an hour-long yoga class. I considered joining, but decided to lay in the room and relax instead. The yoga class was fantastic and the music was amazing. (I would take her class in a heartbeat if I lived in Idaho.) Post yoga lunch was nice, then a nutritionist came to give a talk. She had us go around and introduce ourselves and ask one nutrition question, then she touched on the answers throughout her talk. It all came in handy during the race the next day. At 6pm we went to the race briefing and packet pickup. I was really starting to get nervous about the 25k, but at least our course was easier than the 108k. No snow or water crossings for us! 

Birdstike film: watch the trailer
After the race meeting (or was it before?) we got to watch the short film from Oiselle and Polartec called Birdstrike. I highly recommend it. It was great to get a bit of inside info from one of the crew members (and all-around awesome woman). I only wish the film was longer! Post-movie we were able to touch and try on some clothes and gear from Oiselle's latest line. I wish we could see fall and spring previews, but I'll take what I can get. ;) 

Almost all of the racers

I didn't get great sleep on Friday night, so waking up for the race on Saturday was a bit of a challenge. I was still very nervous, but at least my race morning went smoothly. I'll do a longer recap once race photos are up, but here's a spoiler: it was really hard from mile 4-7, but then I felt fantastic. I was afraid of not being able to handle it or taking too long, but now that I look back I wish I would have run faster. Ha! Isn't that always the case?
I think this was before... when I was still nervous. ;)

Post-race we hung around for the taco bar, beer, and age group awards then went back to camp for showers and lunch. Most of us went to the local brewery for a little while, then killed more time at camp before dinner. Around 10 or 11pm we went to the last aid station on the 108k course (right outside of our camp) to wait for one of our members to finish her race. It was really great to be there to cheer for her and a few other runners who came through. That aid station was 5 miles from the end, so anyone coming through knew they were going to finish. Very exciting! 

The Montana Volée memers
One last breakfast and then we said our goodbyes. I rode with the other Montana ladies until Missoula, then rocked out to loud music on my way back to Bozeman. Until next year!

I'd go back to Idaho in a heartbeat. I loved Michigan Bird Camp (and would also go there again), but I'm not sure if it was the slightly smaller group, the extra half day, or the West Coast personalities (ha!), but I felt like I made more lasting connections with the ladies in Idaho. (Don't worry: I made a few magical friendships in Michigan!) In the end, the scenery was fantastic, the runs were confidence builders, and, ultimately, the company made Idaho Bird Camp amazing. 

Have you gone to camp as an adult?
Have you been to Idaho or run a race with crazy elevation?


  1. Hi! I add no clue I followed your blog when we were at camp together!This popped up on my feed today. Great recap!Fun times! Not recovered or unpacked yet.

    1. Haha that's really funny because I just looked at my feed and see you!! Small world. So glad we met in real life. :)

  2. I haven't gone to camp as an adult...but I keep seeing all these running/outdoor/yoga retreats and thinking I should really try one sometime.

    The most elevation I've done in races was Jim Bridger and Crosscut last year, but I'm not sure those even count as crazy elevation around here!

    1. I think it counts!! Maybe after I've been here a year I'll think differently. There are still spots open for Jim Bridger this weekend and I'm considering it, but maybe I'll take it easy for a bit.

    2. The middle 3 miles are super steep uphill - nearly everyone was hiking it - but the rest of the race is fun!

  3. Wow! That camp sounds like so much fun! It looks like it was full of fun activities and meeting all of those people in real life would be awesome! Have a great week!

    1. I never would have thought I'd go to a social camp a few years ago, but I think I've become more outgoing thanks to running. It was a blast!

  4. This camp sounds like so much fun! I haven't been to camp since I was a kid but reading your post makes me want to go as an adult :) Running, enjoying the outdoors and great fellowship - can't beat that!

    1. Camp was pretty cool! I know some pros host camps, but they are super expensive. Maybe you get a ton of swag?

  5. Such an awesome place for camping! I would love to go there one day, Elizabeth!


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