Thursday, September 20, 2012

Save The Date

The 2nd Annual HR Pancake Trail 20 Run will be held on Saturday, 11/17.  More details to come, but I'm pleased to announce a few.  The course will be altered a bit from last year.
  • In the tradition of Hardrock, we'll be reversing the direction and running the route clockwise this year.  This means the 1.5 miles of pavement will be over and done with before we're on dirt the rest of the way.
  • You'll get to run on the curviest stretch of trail in Colorado.  36 turns in .35 miles!
  • We'll say hello to the Daniels Park buffalo herd while running the most scenic stretch of dirt road (voted by me) south of Denver.  Possible aid station at Daniels Park.
  • Lastly, you'll get to see the world's largest compass before heading back to chow down on the best pancakes (regular and gluten free) you'll have this year.
This is not a race, but a chance to run while lamenting the end of the 2012 trail running season.  We pretty much run together and meet up several times to re-group.  

If you want to race these trails, c'mon out the weekend before to the Backcountry Half Marathon.  Better yet, c'mon out sooner to the Wildcat Mountain 5/10/20 mile run on Saturday, 10/6.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mt. Antero and more....

We spent Labor Day weekend camping near Buena Vista at the Chalk Lake Campground.  It's a beautiful spot to spend a weekend.  Our first day featured some play time at the lake, scrambling up a slope of boulders, and a hike to Agnes Vaille Falls.

The small, but pristine Chalk Lake.  It is spring fed and loaded with fish.

A challenge was made, and the race was on!

The scramble up the boulders ended up being much steeper than we thought it would be!

Zoe led the charge and I couldn't keep up with her!

The trailhead for Agnes Vaille Falls was right across the street from the campground.  It's only a half mile hike, so you can expect a packed parking lot when you arrive.

Sadly, we learned Agnes Vaille was an avid outdoorswomen who died after falling 100' during a winter ascent of Longs Peak in 1925.  She actually survived the fall, but succumb to hypothermia before she could be rescued!  That was definitely a downer as we started the short hike.  Interestingly, the shelter on Longs just below the Keyhole is also named after Agnes Vaille.

Once again, Zoe was full steam ahead.
On Sunday, I convinced the ladies to spend a morning at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, while I took a jaunt up Mt. Antero.  I didn't get an early start, but was able to shave off 3.5 road miles when Tanya offered to drive me to the 2WD trailhead.  I started at 7:30am and the plan was for me to meet them back at the campsite at 12:30pm.

If you have a good 4X4 vehicle, you can drive 3+ miles up a very rough jeep road and get much closer to treeline.  I wanted to run it and make it about a 18 mile outing (inc. the road back to the campground).

The first hints of fall colors.  Climbing Antero means OHV roads all the way to 13,700'.  It all very runnable.

The last time I hiked Antero, my buddy James & I drove my truck across this creek.  This day I hopped the rocks.

Around 11,000', the Aspens were exploding.

Same trees but a little closer.

I had originally intended to tag Cronin Peak before Antero, but I couldn't find the trail over to the north ridge.

A good look at Antero's summit from above treeline.

Cronin Peak was named for Mary Cronin, who was the first woman to climb all CO 14ers in 1921.

At 13,100', I finally noticed just how spectacular the clouds were this day.

From here you can easily climb the SE ridge of Cronin Peak, but I would have to pass on it as my time was running out.

Now at 13,700', this is the end of the road for the OHV's.

I thought I'd document the time it took me to get this far.  2:01.  I was feeling great and ready to make a strong push to the summit.

After crossing the ridge, I plowed my way up the talus.  It was quite shifty and I couldn't follow any defined trail.

Looking back on the ridge.

Yeah!  Only 17 mins to the summit!
I arrived on the summit at the exact moment another hiker did.  We started chatting and he informed me that I just passed Eric Lee as he descended from the summit on his way to the final two peaks of his attempt of the Nolan's 14.  Awesome!  He did complete the challenge in 57:27.

After introductions, I learned my summit companion was Bob Whitely, 20 time finisher of the Pikes Peak Marathon!  He's a 68 year old hiking and running machine...and a really nice guy.  We spent over thirty minutes on the summit talking and enjoying the views.  He was getting in a last long run in preparation for Imogene this weekend.

The Chalk Cliffs.  I learned they're not actually chalk.

Mts. Tabegauche & Shavano.

View to the west, Baldwin Gulch, Cronin Peak, and the Antero switchbacks.

Mt. Princeton and the Sawatch Range to the north.

Thanks for the summit shot Bob!

Funky cloud over Shavano.
After saying farewell to Bob, I began my descent and didn't stop until I reached the trailhead.  I felt great for the first 3-4 miles, but then my quads reminded me of what I did to them two weeks prior at Leadville, and the rest of the run was a tad uncomfortable.

The jeep roads were unforgiving at times.

But catching this clump of gold again on the return trip reminded me of how lucky I was to be in the high country.
I made it down in 1:30 and started the 3.5 mile road run back to the campground.  I was tired, hot, thirsty, hungry, and all around ready to be done.  Lo and behold, two minutes later Tanya came driving up the road.  I've never been so happy to see my truck!  I hopped in and we were off to lunch and then back to the Hot Springs for the afternoon!

Getting the last bit of life out of my gnawed on Hokas.  963 miles and still going.