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.
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.
I’ve been busy around the house the last couple weeks. Tracy keeps shipping stuff so I’ve had a lot of projects. Last week, I did make it out to Little Browns’ Creek trail and climbed Mt. Antero. I’ve climbed this route several times, but I never turned up the last 1,000ft to the summit. Antero is not a pretty mountain – it’s mainly rock and scree and scared by many 4WD trails.
With the exception of one day last week, the weather was terrible. Storms rolled in every afternoon and caused the dogs to run and hide.
The dogs may be hiding, but I was busy. The picture below shows the amount of boxes I broke down. Lots of Ikea, other furniture, and fixtures. I needed to use my neighbors trash can to get rid of all our trash.
Izzy is a big lover and is always under my feet.
The weather turned nice and we’ve been hiking the river trail. Our house is in the background on the left side of the picture.
On Saturday, I climbed Harvard and then did the traverse across the ridge to Columbia. My watch wasn’t working so I grabbed someone’s else’s GPX file below so I’d have a record of the route. It was a fun hike since the traverse is mainly off road. The only negative on the day was that I came across two young guys from Ft Worth that were way over their head on the ridge. I guided them across, but they were so slow that I was forcing the dogs to cross their legs at home.
Football season started this weekend and I installed a TV on the deck so we could enjoy the nice weather. Izzy enjoys it also.
The Monday Night Football game last night was awful, but the sunset was pretty.
The sunrise this morning was just as beautiful.
*** Update – waling to get ice cream last night – our house is the one in front on the right
Preston got here on Tuesday and CW left on Wednesday. Since Preston is coming from sea level, we’ve been acclimatizing slowly. After dropping CW off, we drove to St. Elmo with the dogs and hiked 1,500 feet up to Popular Gulch.
Preston was beat, but the dogs were on alert for critters.
After the hike, we took the truck on the 4wd road to the Hancock Trailhead to see how back the road was since it’s an aid station on my August race.
On Thursday, we hiked up Avalanche to the Mt Yale saddle. Google did a little magic on the picture below.
Later in the afternoon, we headed downtown to the South Main park for pizza and a game of Frisbee.
Today we are going to climb Midland hill with the dogs.
We hiked the CO trail for a 4 mile out and back. The dogs are critter crazy and Darby was fast enough to grab a Pika. She is blood thirsty and just wants to kill them. She gets obsessed and nothing we do can stop her from going crazy to get them.
We also did a hike up Midland Hill with the dogs.
Most nights we enjoy an outside dinner with drinks. The dogs are usually exhausted.
This little girl was on the side of the road as I was ridding by on my bike. She let me touch her.
On Tuesday, we all went camping in the Winfield area. I had scoped out a spot when I hiked La Plata last week. It required us to drive the truck about a mile and a half up the 4wd road to a meadow with a creek.
The dogs had a blast digging up every possible hole.
The sunset was incredible. It got a little cool during the night but we slept decently until around 2am when a bunch of coyotes started howling. Izzy was growling a bit, but Darby just shook.
We hiked up the Colorado trail to the Mt Huron trailhead.
Once we got to the basin, we decided to let the dogs run. Darby did great, but Izzy can’t handle all the critters and wouldn’t listen. In the picture below, you can see Izzy racing off.
Once back on the leash, Izzy did well.
Once we got to the top, there was a lot of dust. Actions shots below of the dogs licking their noses.
Darby loves the snow – she is like a polar bear and rolls in it.
At the end of the day, we hiked 13 miles and 4,500ft of climb.
Today I attempted the out and back that is on the High Lonesome race I’m doing in August. It starts in the ghost town of St Elmo and follows a trail due North over Laws Pass. The pass is 12.3k feet and separates the drainage’s of Cottonwood and Chalk Creeks
It’s about 4 miles to the top of the pass and about 2,400ft of climb. It’s another 3 miles down the other side descending about 2,100ft. I then turned around and went back.
It took me about 4 hours and 40 minutes round trip. Beautiful day, but tiring.
On Wednesday, I drove back to Winfield and went up the other 4wd road to the trailhead of La Plata. The approach is a short hike that follows Clear Creek through a gorge. It flattens out into a beautiful valley that ends in a box canyon.
The trail climbs the canyon wall to a very long ridge that has many false summits. The ridge slowly climbs over 2,000 ft to the summit of La Plata.
There were so many different type of flowers on the ridge.
La Plata is the 5th highest peak in the continental US at 14,360 ft.
It was another sunny and warm day and the neighbors were out enjoying the weather.
I got a little lost in the marshy area of the trail where you couldn’t tell if it was the trail or a stream.
It was a busy end of the week. I climbed Huron Peak on Saturday – details coming below; but my college adviser (Kathy) and her husband (John) stayed on Sunday and Monday night with us. We had a great time with them and their 3 little dogs. We went to eat, went on hikes, and even did yoga. Once of their dogs is very dexterous and can jump 4 feet in the air.
Also, the dogs both got summer haircuts. Darby is really soft and Izzy looks like Simba from the Lion King.
On Saturday, I drove to Winfield which is an old mining ghost town deep in the mountains. It happens also to be the turn around point for the Leadville 100 race so I’m very familiar with the area. I wanted to climb Huron Peak. The picture below is the mountain which was actually taken on my way to hike La Plata yesterday.
The trail follows a 4wd road for 2.5 miles then turns into a single track that winds up a canyon. The peaks in the background are the “Three Apostles”. Huron is to the left hidden by the ridge I’m circling around.
Once you top the ridge, it’s a large bowl that you slowly climb up. There are well-graded switch-backs climb the ridge. It was a beautiful day and I moved quickly to the summit