Today, I decided to do the Little Browns Creek to the Wagon Loop circuit. I basically climbs from 9k feet to 13k feet and then drops down on the backside of Mt Wilson. It’s about 17 miles in total, but I got a little lost so I was closer to 18. The snow is melting fast on the saddle. A few pictures below.
We just got back from almost 3 weeks abroad. First, we spent 3 days in Amsterdam. We did a lot of time walking around the city. We toured the Van Gogh Museum, took a boat ride through the canals, and the highlight was Preston got to play poker in the casino.
We then flew to Kilimanjaro airport to start our trek in Tanzania. We met half of our group at the airport and drove an hour to the hotel in Moshi.
We spent the following day getting gear ready and then left for the Kilimanjaro National Park the next morning. The picture below is our full group that would do the climb and a map of the route we took (Machame).
The first day we climbed through a rain forest almost 4000 feet over 7 miles to the first camp at Machame Hut.
The 2nd day we climbed 5 miles and 2500 feet to Shira Hut. Most of the climb was a steep rocky trail that put us on a plateau above the clouds. I led a short yoga session to relief the aches in the joints.
The next day, we only had a 3 mile hike but the goal was to get us acclimatized. To do this, we climbed to over 15,000 feet elevation and then dropped back down to 13,500 feet at Barranco Hut. We passed by a stone feature called the Lava Tower. Preston couldn’t resist climbing it. I started up with him only to be caught by a guide that took him all the way up while I rested in the sun on a rock.
When we arrived at Barranco Hut, it was beautiful. We got a quick yoga session in and then Preston and I played frisbee. The next day was a short 3 miles to the Karanga Valley. The trail was rolling with a total climb of 1000 feet and a decent of the same.
Three of us separated from the main group and arrived in the valley in a dense fog. After about 30 minutes of wandering around, we found our camp site. The next morning we had the task of climbing the Barranco Wall. The wall is a rock face that the trail winds up. It’s basically class 3 scrambling for 1000 vertical feet. We needed to climb 2300 feet in total, but the distance was only 3 miles to the next camp at Barufu Hut.
We arrived at high camp, Barufu Hut, after climbing 2300 feet over 3 miles. The camp is on a steep slope so the tents had to be placed right next to each over. The following day we were leaving around 1am to try and reach the crater rim by sunrise.
The climb through the night went well. It wasn’t as cold as I expected and we moved well until about 17000 feet. We started to slow then so I put on my parka since I was cold. We arrived at Stella Point (rim) around 7:30am. Preston did great but he was a little light headed due to the altitude. We took the short walk around the rim to the high point of 19341 feet.
12 years ago I took a rock from the summit and gave it to Preston. His job was to put it back.
Because we slowed down, there were 2 members of our group that left earlier that were already on their way down and absent from this picture.
We hiked down to camp, had lunch, packed up, and hiked a few miles to the last camp. Preston and I played frisbee.
The last view of the mountain. Preston and I separated from the group and shuffled the 8 miles down to the gate. It took us a little over 3 hours to drop 7000 feet.
We tipped the 40+ people that carried our stuff, showed us where to go, and cooked our food. The next day we flew to the Serengeti for a safari.
After landing, we drove around for an hour or so and saw many animals. We then went to a temporary lodge that was comprised of several communal tents and then a tent for each of the guests. While it sounds rustic, every tent had running water, a toilet, and shower. The first night, I woke Preston up around 5am since there was a herd of zebra right outside our tent.
After spending two nights in the tents, we drove to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area which is a large crater that many animals flock to.
We saw an amazing amount of animals and birds. The great thing was one of the people in our group was an amateur photographer and with Preston’s young eyes spotting, we didn’t miss much. I added a gallery of the best animal shots below. The last night was spent in a 5 star resort halfway to the airport. The following day we left around 9pm for our long journey back to the US.
Saturday was the Leadville Marathon. The course normally climbs Mosquito Pass and returns to Leadville but due to the snow, the course was changed. At the start, the weather was awesome but the forecast called for showers in the afternoon – they never came. On the adjusted course, I finished about 30 minutes faster than I expected.
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Afterwards, Preston and I went to Deerhammer and played cards. The dogs assumed their positions.
Today, we walked bridge to bridge with the dogs and Preston practiced his climbing skills.
On Thursday we leave for Amsterdam and then Tanzania.
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.
The week after the snow storm, the sun came out and I spent some time at Mt. Princeton resort. I was only out an hour, but I got so sunburn.
I also used the break in the weather to stain the deck and create a planter around the side of the building. I planted flowers in there today.
The dogs and I tried out the Colorado trail again to see how high we could get before the snow set in. We made it about 300 vertical feet further than last time, but there is still a lot of snow. Darby still can’t resist rolling in the snow.
Very tired dogs after a day on the trail.
Last week we made a trip back to Austin for Preston’s graduation. It was held at the Erwin Center since his graduating class was 625 students. He went to an all night party afterwards and will arrive in BV tomorrow.
I drove back to BV the morning after graduation. The weather has finally turned nice so I set up the deck and made some corn and potato soup.
The dogs and I made our Sunday pilgrimage to Deerhammer. Izzy and Darby assumed their positions after they cleaned the floor of any scraps.
Tracy has taught Darby to eat her evening treat on a towel.
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.
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.
This Monday we are heading back to BV. I plan on being there for the summer, but Tracy will be back and forth. This spring has flown by. I’ve been staying active and ran the Tinjas 50k again. I also have the Tangle 30k Sunday.
I ran down to the park to meet Tracy this weekend. It must be a sign of luck having a Cardinal perch on your car because this little guy didn’t want to leave. He danced around on the top of the roof
Today I power washed the pool filters. The blue is a piece of blue plastic that dissolved in the filter. It was everywhere and stained the pool rocks. It took a couple hours but I transferred it all from the pool to me. Meanwhile, Izzy was a sun dog watching me.
This year, I’m running the High Lonesome 100 again. The race director put together a promo spot based on last year’s race. You can see me a few times at the start line.