Since getting back from Africa, I’ve been hitting the trails pretty hard to get ready for High Lonesome this Friday. I’m feeling very good so I’m hoping to beat my time from last year. My expected splits are below with my times from last year.
I’ve been all over the course to check on the conditions. The snow is melting quickly. On Saturday, I went back with my neighbor’s son in law and we turned right and climbed Mt. Antero. The weather was great and we ran down.
The next day I climbed Law’s pass which is also on the course. There is still a giant cornice but it’s easy to get around.
I also returned to the road by St Elmo to see if the avalanche had been cleared. It had. I continued on to the Colorado Trail and ran the crest to Hancock and then back to St Elmo. The only challenging spot was the last pitch to the old railroad bed. The hill was completely covered with snow, but it was easy enough to kick steps down. It was so large, I doubt it will be gone by race day.
I took a day off and made a huge batch of Campfire Salmon.
Our gardening has turned out well. Everything is in bloom.
On Saturday, my friend CW came to visit and we sipped whiskey on my neighbor, Mark’s porch and watched the sunset.
On Sunday, I ran the Mt Harvard and Mt Columbia loop while CW hiked to Bear Lake. It was much more challenging this time since there were still huge snowfields that I had to go around. The route I took ended up 3 miles longer and 1000ft more elevation than the traditional route. The view from Harvard is the first picture, view of Columbia and the traverse is the second.
It’s been a great couple of weeks. Preston has been here and Tracy visited for a few days. She will be here for almost a month next week while Preston and I are gone to Africa. Preston and I spent last week doing various short hikes around the area. On the Colorado trail we came across this guy which acted like a rattle snake but turned out to be a large Gopher snake.
We also hiked from St Elmo up towards Tin Cup pass. Had heard that an avalanche had taken out the road and yes it had…. Seems like 500 yards of Wildcat ridge came down into the creek and carried 200 ft up the north ridge. There is still ~8′ of snow under the debris and once it melts there will be no way of picking through the mess. We climbed 100 vertical feet up the north ridge to see if we could get around it. With a little work this could be a temporary trail. This road is part of my race at the end of July so I hope it’s cleared by then. If you look closely at some of the pictures below, you can see Preston picking through the debris field.
Last weekend, Preston and I worked on a new trail across the river from the house. There were close to 100 people out and we added almost a mile of single track trail. It was warm both days and we were extremely dirty.
The weather has been beautiful and the snow if finally melting. It has caused the River to rise to twice the volume of last years high level. It’s brought out a lot of kayakers who want to surf the steps in the river.
One Monday, we went out to Avalanche trailhead with the dogs. The snow is melting fast, but we still had to turn back about 2.5 miles in. On Tuesday, we hiked 4.5 miles up Little Brown’s Creek trail. We were able to make it past 11k feet for the first time. It’s a pretty hike and there are seldom any people on it.
Darby and Izzy enjoy all the activity. They are exhausted by the end of the day.
Tomorrow, I have the Leadville Trail Marathon. Because of the snow, the course has been rerouted to lower elevations but the race will still be challenging. I’m hoping for sub 6 hours.
What a crazy week. It all started Saturday with the Collegiate Peaks 50 Trail Run. I’d run most of the course and while it’s not technical, there is a fair bit of climbing and a 12 hour cut-off. The weather was fantastic for the starting 72 runners. I finished the first half in 5:15 which put a lot of pressure on the 2nd half. I fell behind the aid station cut offs mid way through the 2nd loop but after sprinting the last 6 miles, I finished DFL in 24th place, 2 minutes and 32 seconds before cut-off.
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I added some pictures from the race that Tracy had on her phone.
The forecast called for a Winter Storm Warning on Wednesday so I decided to make vegan lasagna. I made far too much so I gave some away and froze the rest.
Our neighbors, who are also from Austin, were in town so Wednesday night we decided to drink whiskey at DeerHammer. The snow started while we were walking there.
This is what it looked like walking home 2 hours later. The snow was really wet and heavy and the forecast called for it to snow all night.
The next morning, it looked like in addition to the snow, high winds had ripped through. The trees were sagging with a lot of broken limbs and some even completely down. There wasn’t any wind, just really wet heavy snow. About 8-10 inches came down on May 9th.
The dogs didn’t know what to think. They seems to love running in the snow.
These trees are the primary shade for the dog park. They were sagging so much under the weight of the snow that I thought they were going to come down completely. Luckily, they didn’t fall over, but the picture below this one shows how many limbs have been snapped.
On Friday the snow finally stopped and Mt. Princeton poked out from behind the clouds.
We’ve gotten into a routine which includes walks to the dog park at first light. The mountains seem to look different every morning.
The afternoons usually include a hike. On this particular day, I tried to see how far I could get up Little Browns Creek trail. I was able to make it to 9850ft before it flattened out and the snow pack set in.
We also climbed Midland Hill several times.
This morning we woke up to a couple inches of snow. It will melt quickly, but it’s a reminder that summer isn’t here yet.
The dogs love it here. They can’t get enough of exploring under every rock.
This was a strange week. I had looked at the weather forecast so I knew to expect some awesome days and then awful days. I spent two days running in the Four Mile area where my upcoming 50 miler takes place. The area is deceivingly tough. While it looks flat, there is nothing flat- the trails roll in and out of small drainage’s which make it really tough. The area has little cover so the wind whips up a lot of dust. I also took the dogs up Midland hill and there was still a lot of snow up on top, but the river was still needed when they got down.
When we got back, the dogs took advantage of the new grass in the courtyard.
The warm weather brought out the ground squirrels so the dogs have been obsessed looking under every rock
And then, the second half of the week came. We walked back from Whiskey Wednesday in the snow.
The poor weather gave me an excuse to cook. I made 6 wraps of campfire salmon and a giant pot of veggie chili. To give a little perspective, I put my large Yeti cup next to the chili pot.
The dinning room chairs also came so I had another project to keep me busy while inside.
Even though I’ve been to yoga everyday this week, being cooped-up was driving me nuts so I went out for a run today. The weather was high 30’s and sunny when I left, but when I got to the top of Midland hill 49 minutes later, a snow storm has set in. It was snowing fairly hard for about an hour and then cleared up so I extended my run north on the Broken Boyfriend Trail. I put my Strava feed for the climb below since this is my benchmark to beat this summer.
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It’s time to head back to BV but Preston and I had a 30k the day before. We both did well. I set a new PR for this race and even though Preston hasn’t run a 30k in 6 years, he came in less than 20 minutes behind me.
The next morning Tracy and I left for BV. Since I’m here the entire summer, every space in the truck was packed but Darby still managed to spread out on her bed for the trip.
We did make it to Deerhammer a couple nights for drinks. It’s the shoulder season in BV so a lot of the restaurants are closed and many locals are out of town.
Over Thanksgiving we bought a pass for Mt Princeton Hot Springs and we finally got a chance to try it out. It’s pretty cool to lay in Chalk Creek and feel hot. It was a great day to be outside.
Afterwards we sat on the deck with a drink. Izzy enjoys watching the people walk in the park.
Tracy left on Friday but I had deliveries of new chairs and a new dishwasher. I managed to get it installed without much difficulty.
On Saturday, the dogs and I drove out to Avalanche Trailhead. The trail lived up to it’s name, as the other side of the canyon had experienced two massive slides. The trees that were plowed from the road are stacked 15′ high on the shoulders. We were able to get to the top of the ridge before the snow got too deep- Darby enjoyed rolling in it. They both had a blast, especially when they found the dead frozen squirrel in the snow.
When we got back, I ripped up one of the flower beds and replaced it with some fake turf for the dogs.