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.


  1. WOW! 963 miles on a pair of shoes?? That's crazy! :)

    I've been reading your blog for a while and would eventually like to explore all the awesome long trail runs you've done. But one step at a time, I guess.. I"ll get there.

    Your pictures are always amazing... what camera do you use? I can never get pictures that are as good!

    1. Haha! Yeah, but when you spend a ton a $$ on a single pair - you got to run'em into the ground! I've found that the when you get that many miles on them...they get REALLY comfortable. The most I've ever gotten was just over 1300 miles. I became attached and didn't want to stop, but the shoes completely broke down.

      I just got a new camera in June. It's a Canon Powershot Elph 300 HS (what a mouthful!). I like that it's small, but takes decent shots. It's already all scratched up from numerous drops, but it still works and I guess that means I'm using it how I intended to and that's all that matters.

      Thanks for following me along. I wish I could post about more fun trail runs, but life (and winter) tend to get in the way of me going on more fun trail runs! It's all good though. I'm very thankful for an awesome summer.

    2. Ahh.. you have more trail runs than I do. Yep, life gets in the way, but I still consider myself a lucky girl. :)

      Will keep that camera in mind for when mine breaks. I drop it, break it, or something at least once a year!! I've been unlucky enough to either crack the lens when I break it or drop it in water... ugh. This one has lasted just over a year. So i'm guessing something will happen soon!!

      You will probably find my own runs of your runs posted on my blog soon!! Hopefully I'll do a couple before the snow comes!

  2. Great blog Gaby! Looks like you've had a lot of fun this summer too! Good luck at the Bear Chase on Sunday! I'll be there as my wife is running the half marathon. Let me know what your number is so I can be on the lookout and cheer you along.