Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Post!

Decided that I would start a blog to start sharing some of the wonderful experiences I have with my mountain running (Also apparently it is the cool thing to do if you run in the mountains). I hope to share more about trails I run along with posting some pictures of the trails.

Now first of all, I'm a noob when it comes to running in the mountains. Until last year I had never completed a run more then about 7 miles. I'm currently training for my first marathon (Denver Rock n' Roll) before I throw myself into some of the harder (in my opinion) races that I would one day love to do.

I do most of my training on trails in the Boulder, CO area and sometimes will venture deeper into the mountains, when transportation is available (no car). Anyways, there is a bus from Boulder to Nederland that you can use to get up to the Indian Peaks region, so now I'll give a shot at my trip report...

Devil's Thumb Pass to King's Lake

Edit: Was in Boulder Running Company store this week and learned this loop is actually called the "High Lonesome Loop"

After meeting a guy at a mattress store on Thursday who had completed the Badwater "death march" I would tremendously inspired and decided I needed to go do something fun. I caught the 6:30 bus up to Nederland Highschool and began my run with a stretch of 4 miles of road. On weekends this bit can be avoided by taking the free shuttle from the high school to the Hessie trail head. I had done this loop once before excluding the road so I figured I would add an extra 8 miles to give myself some more challenge. Last time I did this trail, it was the wettest area I have seen in Colorado. This time was no different: dozens of pond sized puddles and stream crossings. On the trail up to Devil's Thumb, its a pretty steady climb, but not too steep or overly technical. I should also mention I'm using pictures from the first time I did this, where nature looked better. Here is a sample from a typical section of trail.

You travel through really nice forests for about 6ish miles before getting to Lake Jasper. Earlier in the summer, when the runoff is higher, this lake is beautiful sight (a little more dry now in August). Here is the lake with plenty of water:

Here is a thirsty lake later in the year:

After Jasper lake, there is about 1 mile or so till you get to Devil's Thumb and see the STEEP climb up to the continental divide. This is where my novice shows; this hill I just cannot run at all! I do my best to power hike it to the top where I give myself a short hike/eat break before I resume running. The running up on the divide, is what I believe every runner dreams about: open meadows with rolling hills, wildflowers, fantastic views and crisp mountain air. It can be a bit hard to find the trail at first, but if you look North-ish, you will see a couple cairns in the distance, run to those and you'll get to the trail.

Eventually you drop back down into the valley by Kings Lake, and its downhill all the way back down to the trail head. I had my GPS run out of batteries about when I got back down to treeline, watch read 13 miles at that point.

Since the shuttle between Nederland High School and the Hessie Trailhead wasn't running on weekdays, I began the 4 miles of road back to the school with dark clouds at my heels. After about a mile or so the rain really picked up along with some lightning. Being on already on mile 21 (which was already my farthest run by 4 miles) I decided to hitchhike my way back to the bus stop. After a few cars, I got one to pull was a Porsche. Some older guys and their dog were coming back from a short day hike. Got to the bus stop 5 minutes after the bus had left, and the next one wasn't leaving for another 2 hours. Oh well, I eventually got myself back to Boulder.

Run totals: 21.3 miles, 5 hours 20 minutes, Average Pace of 15:09, Elevation gain of 3500 feet.

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