A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn Color Run

I ran a 1/2 marathon a couple of weekends back. It was the Autumn Color Run in Buena Vista. The run was great, but was secondary to spending a weekend kicking about mountain towns with friends. Matt flew in from Virginia and managed to win his age group in the 10K. Alan, true to form this entire summer, was in attendance, and threw down a 1:42. I followed with a 1:45, by far my fastest run to date. Aleka came in at 2:00, crushing her expectation for her first half-marathon.

Post-run recovery included a stint in hot springs, a no-holds-barred game of Scrabble, whose competition outstripped anything seen on the race course, dinner overlooking the Arkansas River and a few games of pool.

Cheap beer will never top a list of ideal post-run activities, but I will trade the laughter of friends, old and new, over electrolyte drinks any day. With that said, I was more sore than I have been in years. In fact, the only comparable experience I could conjure was an off-the-couch of two 14ers in 2000.



Ominous skies above the southern Sawatch Range the night before the race


This rainbow greeted us upon arrival in Salida

The race team post-hot springs, little did we know that we would be limping for days


I am glad to count both of these guys as friends


Harking back to high school, Matt and I shot some pool. We are still mediocre, but now of age to buy beer and overlook this fact

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Labor Day Weekend (in pictures)

Alan and I headed to the southwestern corner of Colorado to climb some 14ers in the San Juans over the long weekend.

Day 1: Wilson Peak

We had hoped to climb Wilson Peak, El Diente and Mt Wilson Peak in a single day.  We were on the trail before 4 AM and lost by 5 AM. The solid trail simply petered out amidst an intersection of historic mining roads, rock piles and a snowfield. In what amounted to a coin toss we elected to skirt up the snowfield, thinking the trail lay beneath it, and ended up thrashing about for well over an hour. It is frustrating to see where you should be, but not know how to get there. Upon finding our way the decision was made to only summit Wilson Peak and enjoy the afternoon in Telluride.



Alan leaving the saddle and heading up the ridge


Dramatic change in rock color, it looked like mulch from a distance

Just below the summit

Hack sack on the summit

This flag is from Park Burger, we earned free burgers for this picture


Post-hike hacky sack and log juggling, it ended with Alan kicking a log

Day 2: Mt Sneffels and Handies Peak

We hit up some hot springs in Ouray, grabbed dinner at the Ouray Brewery and went to bed with a 4 AM wake up call. The first peak of the day was Sneffels, which ascended the southwest ridge and was soaked in a stunning sunrise.

From here we made some poor route choices on a 4-WD drive road and ended up at “the Wall”, one of the more challenging 4-WD features on the Alpine Loop. After watching a 4-Runner repeatedly beat and bash it way to the top we opted to backtrack. We got to Handies at nearly 4 PM and after hours in the truck took our frustrations out on the trail. We climbed ~2,400 vertical feet in 1:15 hours and had the summit to ourselves given the late hour.


Alan in alpenglow on Sneffles



The “Kissing Camels” rock formation


Cruising the southwest ridge

Sneffels_Pan copy

Panorama from summit of Mt Sneffels

Alpine Gorilla

Panorama from Yankee Boy Basin


The Toyota commercial picture


Chilly atop Handies Peak


Trying to look casual on Sneffels’ southwest ridge


This sunrise was the best I have seen all year

More burgers!


My hat and sunglasses are at my feet. I had taken them out of my pack when gearing up at the saddle. I wear sunglasses in all conditions so the thought I would not find them left me mortified.

Wandering along the tundra

Post-hike sideshow once again featuring juggling and hacky sack.


More burgers

In my haste to leave the trailhead I forgot gloves. A hat on one hand and a bandana on the other, it was mostly comfortable.


Basin and lake coming off Handies

Day 4: Uncompahgre Peak

I had climbed this one before, and after three peaks and two days of being up before sunrise, I sat this one out. Alan headed out shortly after 5 AM and I buried myself in my sleeping bag for a few more hours of sleep.

Alan looking as though he has been fired across the summit of Uncompahgre from a cannon.


Me, finally waking up, about 30 minutes after Alan had hit the summit. I felt lazy, but the hot cup of coffee I was drinking 10 minutes later soothed any misgivings I may have had for forgoing a summit.