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About the Blog: This blog serves as a repository of the author’s explorations to rugged and wild places, most often in the High Sierra, the Santa Lucia Mountains of Big Sur, and the Trinity Alps. The blog has evolved such that most posts are now functionally like a route guide focusing on useful information that is relevant and useful for future adventurers, including lots of photography of the scenery and a route description.
About the Author: Leor Pantilat has a passion for adventure running, mountain running, mountain climbing and trail running. For Leor, it’s all about exploring nature’s beauty and accessing remote and rugged spots. He has been an ambassador of La Sportiva for nearly a decade and couldn’t be happier with the amazing footwear and apparel that has enabled his adventures. Leor has also been an ambassador for Ultimate Direction for the past five years and their awesome hydration packs and systems keep him hydrated and moving. Almost as much as the adventures themselves, Leor enjoys capturing the scenery and sharing upon his return. He is also a huge weather geek and spends hours tracking current and future weather conditions.
Growing up Washington State, Leor’s father introduced him to the outdoors and adventure at a very young age starting with hikes in the Cascades and skiing at the local ski resorts before he reached 5 years old. These explorations evolved into backpacking and mountaineering trips as he grew older. At the same time Leor participated in running for much of his life, beginning in Junior High and including NCAA Division I cross country and track and field in undergrad. In college Leor discovered his passion when he combined his love of wild mountainous places with running resulting in adventure running. Leor graduated from Stanford Law School with a JD in 2008 and undergraduate school from Rice University in Houston, TX in 2005.
Homepage featured image: Snow Cone – a rare heavy snow on Cone Peak looking down Devils Canyon to the Pacific Ocean; January 2017
Vintage La Sportiva ad below:
My Runner’s High, by Leor Pantilat
The technical definition of a “runner’s high” or the “endorphin rush” is the release of endorphins and other chemicals brought on by pain, exertion, danger, or other forms of stress. In most runners it occurs after strenuous exercise at an intense threshold for a prolonged period and usually entails varying degrees of pain and suffering to get there. When running on a track or on the roads the rush usually boils down to a physically induced high, often entailing competition with yourself or others. It’s a great feeling I have experienced many times, but for me the greatest high I can get – the most fulfilling high – is the feeling I get running trails and mountains.
My high is more than just crossing a threshold of physical exertion or beating a time; it’s a connection with my surroundings and neither pain nor physical stress is necessary. It’s a high that comes not from the act of running alone, but from running in inspiring places. It’s about experiencing the flow and rhythm of nature – the single track winding through the forest; the sweeping views after cresting a ridge; the clear, fresh air on my face; and the solitude and peacefulness of wilderness. It’s about the lush redwood forest, the towering peaks, the immense glaciers, the reflecting lakes, and the picturesque waterfalls. The result is a more personal, powerful, and meaningful experience. The high opens up a door to my heart that releases a flood of emotions – memories, dreams, and love for the people and events in my life. It allows me to take an introspective look at what I’ve become, who I am, and where I’m headed; a reflection of things I’ve done right and things I wish did differently, but overall a feeling of satisfaction and happiness.
I am incredibly fortunate to be able to visit these sanctuaries of natural beauty on a regular basis. They provide the only source of motivation I need and explain how running is not just something that I do but a part of who I am. It’s an addictive feeling that doesn’t lessen or grow old with time or repeat experience. Instead, the passion grows with every high, fueling my desire to explore and dream of adventures to come. Feel the flow!