Boulder 3 Peak Run
If you participate in the Colorado Front-Range blog ‘scene’ at all, you’ll know that Green Mountain in Boulder is the altar where some of running’s finest choose to worship. Being old and crotchety, and somewhat anti-trend (ok, some of that is true, but mostly I am just lazy and stick to my own routines), I have never really felt the need to go up there. That all changed when members of the BTR night running crew put out the call for a Supersized Edition Wednesday run. The plan was to hit Green, Bear, and South Boulder Peaks and be out for about 4 hours. I jumped at the chance to get in a final long effort before Bighorn and running at night with a group on new-to-me trails was a most excellent bonus.
The group was meeting at 8pm, but I got there a couple of hours early to take in the scenery, shoot a few pics, and log a few extra miles. Wow, what a treat. I started at Chatauqua and climbed up the Royal Arch trail. Too many people for my taste (how did college kids get so young all of a sudden??), but the area was beautiful.
The recent rainy weather we have been experiencing has really turned everything green. Green Mountain, indeed.
I took my time and enjoyed exploring the area.
Beetle. But not a Bark Beetle, nor a barking beetle.
I don’t look it, but I was impressed with the place.
Count me among the converted.
I managed to cover a little over 7 miles before meeting up with the group. We went up Green Mountain and made it to the top before having to turn our lights on. Man, that thing is steeeep! Awesome view of the city lights far below. Reminded me of the view on approach to DIA coming home from the west coast.
Lights blazing, 8 of us took off on the descent. News flash, it’s steep too! My flashlight would cast a shadow over what looked to be a 10-12 foot cliff in the trail only to illuminate 5-6 tiny steps on the backside at the last moment. Fun!
I really enjoyed the traverse over towards Bear Peak on a very nice trail. Even though it was night time, there was enough ambient light that we could clearly see Bear off in the distance towering over us. Time to get to work.
We grunted up that climb and regrouped at the summit. The air was perfectly still and I was completely comfortable in a sleeveless shirt. Quite a contrast to the gale force winds we’ve had day after day after day. I really enjoyed hanging out up there, cracking up at everyone’s stories and jokes, and just generally soaking in the fact that is was 11pm on a weeknight and I was high above it all.
From there we had a short trip over to South Boulder Peak where we regrouped again and enjoyed the last of the views for the night before descending into Shadow Canyon. I went from being a Boulder peak virgin to tagging the 3 main ones all in one night. Sweet!
From the bottom of Shadow we hooked onto the Mesa Trail for the 6 mile return to Chatauqua. My legs really came to life on this section. I love the more rolling nature of that trail and felt really good running the small climbs and bombing the descents as a few of us cranked it up a notch or two. We were eating well into the next day time-wise by this point due to some extended regrouping waits, but all was good. Tearing down a rocky trail with a couple of other guys by the light of headlamps and flashlights at two in the morning was a rush. Love that kind of running.
I made it back to my car and nearly cried tears of joy when I found a Taco Bell that was still open for business. This cowboy was hungry! Soon I was cruising home with burritos in the belly and finally got to bed at about 3:15 in the morning. Couldn’t have asked for a better night and training run for Bighorn. I finished with 23.3 miles and 7,000′ of climbing. Huge thanks to CG and the gang for letting me tag along. Can’t wait to do it again.