Monthly Archives: August 2011
Tuesday morning we got up before dawn with a long day ahead. The tents were fairly wet from the rain overnight, so we ate a quick breakfast and would save breaking camp for our return. The first part of the day would be spent climbing to the summit of Mount Harvard.
We left plenty early to take advantage of the mild morning weather. The route to the top wasn’t too complicated. Just go up!
We crossed a few snowfields and went around another. The climbing was very steep up to the ridge line. I got there first and spotted several mountain goats close by. They looked calm for the moment, but I knew they would be easily spooked so I turned back to the group below and made the shhh motion with my forefinger to my lips. The boys, with ipods cranked, said ‘WHAAAT?’ in response very loudly. I turned back to the goats as they were starting to stir and get restless. I hissed back, “beeee quiet”. Still with the tunes rocking, and completely oblivious to what I was trying to tell them, the response came back, “WHY!?!?!”. At this point the goats were all up and making their way off the ridge. I yelled back, “Shut your hole!” but it was too late. The goats were gone. Oh, well. At least I got one pic.
From that point the route climbed steeply through broken rock. The views off to the west were incredible, it was such a fine morning to be in the mountains.
Then we arrived at the final pitch. A little bit of scrambling was needed to climb up to the summit. It was a great way to finish off the ascent.
We enjoyed our time on the summit together and took in the amazing views. A great moment was had when one of the boys was able to call home and report on his successful climb. It was super cool because he had come up short on an attempt last year so it was especially sweet this time around.
All too soon it was time to head down and get on with the rest of our day. We made quick work of the descent.
Once we made it back to camp, it was time to pack up our gear and head out to our next destination. Kroenke lake.
We retraced our steps from the previous afternoon for a couple of miles, until we made it back to the main canyon.
Then we headed upstream on a good trail for a few miles to the lake.
We found a great campsite and were all able to get a little down time during a light afternoon rain shower.
The one downside of this trip was that everywhere we traveled was under fire restrictions. This meant we couldn’t spend the evenings hanging out by a fire telling jokes and the usual stories. The boys played some card games, but everyone was tired enough from the hiking that we all went to bed fairly early.
Go time. Seems like I have been treading water for a while and now it is time to get through Leadville and move on. I had a difficult race there last year, and this time around I want to at least make it through without falling apart. One part of me sees that I am ahead (+200) on YTD miles vs. the year I ran well in 2009. So that gives me some hope. When I take a macro view, though – reality starts to set in. I trained hard in the summer of 2009 and put in 11 runs over 20 miles (including a few over 30) in the last 8 weeks before the race. This year that tally stands at 3. One of those being a race, and the other two barely breaking the 20 mile mark. That’s not so good, for a faster race anyway.
All I can do now is show up and do the best I can with what I’ve got.
Run – 7 miles
Nice steady run. Felt like I spent half of it doubled over laughing as we joked about various topics. Especially the ‘motivational’ self-talk we employ during runs and races when things aren’t going well. Not fit to print.
Run – 8 miles
Got in a nice run while waiting for the kids to finish XC practice. Stepped on a nasty rock 90 seconds into the run. That hurt.
Run – 7 miles
Easy day. Felt terrible for the first 6 miles, then decent on the last uphill mile. Better late than never…
Run – 8.7 miles
Felt like pushing a bit today. Hilly route. First half was a smooth cruise, then fought the fade over the second half. Much harder effort to sustain the same pace.
Saw a girl get creamed by a car at an intersection while waiting to cross. She was riding a bike with her ipod on (attached to the handlebar) and rolled out into traffic when she didn’t have the right of way. Completely her fault – which she recognized. Banged up, but thankfully not too bad. Saw it all, held up traffic as I ran across the intersection to help get her bike untangled and out of the road.
Run – 5.5 miles
Easy run that actually felt easy for a change. Nice. Foot very sore from stepping on a stone Tuesday, but everything else is starting to feel pretty good.
Run – 14 miles
Encouraging. I last ran this tough route a month ago and was 30 sec/mile faster today at a much lower effort. My calves were better today than they’ve been for a while, and I enjoyed having a decent run. Probably the best I’ve had since the backpacking trip.
Sunday – Off
Total – 50.2 miles / 7:31
Pic of the week:
Day one started out with a 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead. We got on the road at 06:00 with a long trip ahead of us.
The plan was to drive two vehicles to the North Cottonwood Trailhead west of Buena Vista. Then while the boys waited, we would shuttle another car over to the Denny Creek Trailhead where we would be coming out on Thursday afternoon. It was only an 18 mile trip to arrange the shuttle, but it took a full hour because of the road conditions. Needless to say, everyone was anxious to get on the trail by the time we made it back.
Our hike would be somewhere between 5 and 6 miles, with some good climbing in the second half. We wanted to get as high as we could without going too far beyond treeline because of the threat of storms. Our original plan was to camp at Bear Lake, but it was very exposed so we opted to stay just a bit lower. This high camp would set us up nicely for the hike to the summit of Mt. Harvard the next morning.
We shouldered the packs, which is always a wake-up call at the start of a trip, and headed down the trail. It was easy going for the first mile and a half which made for a nice warmup.
After that we crossed a river and got started on the climb. Which is always another slap in the face on day one. Oooof. My legs were very tired, but I was happy they didn’t feel sore at all after running a 50 mile race two days prior.
After that, it was grind, rest, repeat. Eventually we made it to treeline and decided to stop there due to the variable skies.
We made it to our campsite a little earlier than planned because we stopped short, but this gave us plenty of time to hang out and explore the area.
We had a clear view of the morning’s objective behind our camp. It looked close, but the summit was still 2.5 miles and 2,300 vertical feet away.
The clouds began to rapidly roll in later in the day and thunder rumbled up and down the canyons. The next shot is one of my favorite ones of the whole trip. It’s not that remarkable at first glance, until you see what the clouds are doing. A huge wall of dark clouds was headed right for us, but Mt. Yale (another 14er across from us) saved the day. Acting every bit of the upturned wedge that it is, the peak split the clouds in two as they rapidly moved our direction. Keeping us in the tranquil wake for quite a while. It was awesome!
Things shifted after some time and we eventually did get a little rain. Nothing very bad, though. The worst of it missed us and dumped 3 inches on Breckenridge later that night.