ROGUEXPERTS: Michael's Top Picks

Name: Michael L., Austin, Texas
Trips completed: Run Tahoe, Run Alpe-Adria, Run Morocco: Mountains & Coast, Run Bend, Endurance Adventure Ireland, Endurance Adventure Morocco
Upcoming trips: Run Patagonia, Run Kenya, Run BC

1. Describe your most memorable day

This would be Endurance Adventure Ireland Day 3, when we ran along the Cliffs of Moher in the morning and had a scavenger hunt on the Island of Inisheer in the afternoon. The morning run is just like your normal run, except that it's the most scenic run ever, with the trail zig-zagging along the cliffs' edge. When we were done, we showered and had lunch, and then took a boat ride to Inisheer - one of the Aran Islands. When the boat docked, it felt like we traveled about a 100 years back in time. The island is a sea of green, criss-crossed with stone hedges, with a ruined castle on a hill, a real shipwreck, and other landmarks that don't feel like they belong in this day and age. We were split in teams of two, given a map, and sent off to find the verses of the traditional Gaelic song that were hidden in various places on the island. As the sun was setting, we gathered all together in the outdoor veranda outside of our place for the night, had a few beers, and tried to sing that song. The Gaelic pronunciation was challenging, but suddenly, we were rescued by a local gentleman coming out of the bar inside and taking up the signing in a beautiful voice. It was a day to remember!

2. What has been your favorite run?

The Day 4 run of the Endurance Adventure Morocco trip - to the gite! The scenery of this run is just gorgeous. We ran through the valley surrounded by mountains, and it felt like we were on a different planet. It was so picturesque, and yet you are getting an impression that no human foot have ever stepped there before. I felt like I was part of an Enterprise crew on an away mission. Yes, I did check to make sure I am not wearing a red shirt.

3. And your favorite meal?

While all the trips had excellent food, the meals at Alpe-Adria were out of this world! The one that takes the tiramisu cake started around 3 o'clock in the afternoon and ended sometime after midnight. Please excuse my hazy memory, because every one of the 10+ courses came with its own special wine. One of the courses was a cow tongue with several garnishes and three different horseradish sauces. This is the trip where I gained about 5 pounds over the course of the week-long trip, despite running 65 miles on it.

4. Describe your most challenging moment or day

It occurred during the final run (not counting the Mt. Toubkal add-on) of the Endurance Adventure Morocco trip. On the last stretch of that run, the trail along the side of the mountain was sketchy and somewhat exposed. One could enjoy the view of a quaint village about 6000 feet below. Not me though, because I am afraid of heights, so I spent a good portion of this stretch crab-crawling on my butt and with my heart in my mouth. Local goats were jumping around me and having quite a laugh at my expense.

5. Has there been a particular place or experience that exceeded your expectations (or just surprised you)?

This would be the whole experience of my very first Rogue Expeditions trip - Run Tahoe. I started this trip apprehensive about vacationing with strangers and *gasp* running every day for 5 days and ended with new horizons opened up for me. It's like I was living in a bubble before this trip. Every day was a unique adventure, which I got to share with the most diverse group of people (including an investment banker, a medical doctor, and a roller derby star) that bonded over it. I felt like I was a character in a suspense novel, not knowing what kind if wow moments the next day will bring. This trip not only made a habitual Rogue Expedition-er out of me, but also made me a day-to-day runner.

6. What’s the most important item that you pack (aside from the obvious stuff)

The electrical plug converter that fits the local outlets.

7. What’s your favorite trip photo?

My favorite photo (below) has my favorite people in it. Sarah, Troy, Aleksandra, and Deidre - I am so glad I got to enjoy the Morocco Mountains and Coast trip with you in March 2017. We kept in touch and wanted to see each other again, so some of us met in Toronto in October 2018 for a reunion of sorts. Besides spending some quality time with each other, we also ran a marathon there.