It was perfect hiking weather, very cool, as we started up the Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mt. at 7:00 a.m. on Sept. 17. Debby, Joel, Mike, Shirley, Mark, Karolyn, Marty, and Wayne stayed at Echo Mt., with Al (who got a late start) joining them on the way down. The rest of us hiked up the Upper Sam Merrill Trail.
It is always exciting to see the Angeles Crest 100 mile runners (they are from all over the United States) coming down the trail each year. This day it was especially so, since after more than 89 miles (they had left Wrightwood at 5:00 a.m. the morning before) a few were almost strolling, and stopped to talk with us. This was Kristina Irwin's 18th 100 mile race, two of which had been back to back!
As we arrived at the Sam Merrill Aid Station, the volunteers offered watermelon to everyone. Marie and Bruce decided to hike down the trail to Idlehour, on to Henninger's and Altadena. Bob and I waited for last runner, while the rest hiked to Inspiration Point for lunch---then down the Castle Canyon Trail.
The last runner had 11 miles to go to Johnson Field, Pasadena, and arrived before the 2:00 p.m. cut off time! He would have been on the trail for about 33 hours.
Later, Bob and I went to Johnson Field and arrived as the top 10 runners were being given the awards. Jorge Pacheco, Los Angeles, won the race in 19 plus hours and was awarded the Bronze Ram. Amazingly, this was his third win. The record, 17:35 hours, is still held by Jim O'Brien. He teaches at Arcadia High School.