St. Vrain Mountain AttemptFebruary 25, 2007
Life has been crazy recently with buying a new house, moving, and all kinds of work-related stuff. Chris and Fabio dragged me kicking and screaming away from another day spent organizing the garage and unpacking boxes for a little mellow mountain climbing. We picked St. Vrain Mountain as a relatively modest goal. It's one peak over from the mellow Meadow Mountain, though a little farther and a little taller. Chris's brother Andy joined us to make a foursome. Chris and Andy brought along skis for the trip down while Fabio and I would be the control group on snowshoes.
Despite fair weather forecasts from previous days, we were greated by gusty winds and rapidly deteriorating conditions on the mountain, much like last winter when Amy and I attempted Meadow via the same route. Also, I'm always surprised at how relentless this climb is. We gained 2500' in about three miles before low visibility and strong, blowing snow turned us back at the saddle (11,200'). Chris and Andy bombed down the slopes on their skis and beat us to the car by 40-some minutes. I went from feeling sore and blah to feeling pretty good; shaking off the lethargic domesticity of the landed gentry, I guess. It felt good to get out and battle the elements for a while. Now back to the garage...
Fabio, Chris, and Andy cross the steep avy-prone slopes of the bowl.
I was dying to get up in the mountains, so Amy and I joined Todd and Yasuyo on a moderate winter trek in RMNP. Lake Hiayaha lies at the mouth of Chaos Canyon in the drainage between the popular Glacier Gorge area and Bear/Dream/Emerald Lake area. I've been to both areas quite a lot, but never hiked up and over from either direction to this hard-to-spell lake. The weather forecast for Sunday was marginally better than Saturday, but neither one was good.
The sky was mostly clear when we left Bear Lake at the leisurely hour of 10am, but it quickly clouded up and started to snow as we hiked the well-trodden mile or so up to Dream Lake. From here, we were all in virgin terrain. We turned left and started up a faint trail on the steep ridge south of the lake. New snow failed to completely hide the faint ski tracks, but going was still a bit rough. We emerged onto a steep slope showing signs of a small avalance and detoured up hill into the woods. The snow was balling up in our snowshoes quite a lot and every third step loosed a two pound chunk of compressed snow with an MSR logo stamped on it.
But before long we got to the lake. Chaos Canyon is famous for it's enormous, rough boulders that make travel very difficult, and Lake Hiayaha was ringed with the precursors to the worse stuff higher up. Fortunately, the wind-packed snow provided easy travel over and around the rocks. Todd found a nice little cave in which we paused for lunch, then headed out onto the lake itself to check out the view. The ice had cracked and bent into fantastic shapes. The deep ice was a startling sky-blue color and was shot through with all kinds of strange patterns. I was primarily interested in scouting the "Chaos Couloir", a route on the east face of Hallet Peak high above and the weather was just clear enough to provide decent views through the blowing snow. Despite this, it was fairly warm and we got to spend most of an hour at the lake wandering around and playing.
I hate backtracking and will try very hard to make any hike into a loop if possible. Accordingly, we headed south and east toward what the map called an "unimproved" trail down into Glacier Gorge. No obvious trails were found, but eventually Amy found an orange ribbon and a faint set of boot prints. These lead down steep slopes and became lost in an unfamiliar marsh. I broke a trail heading for the junction of the summer and winter routes in Glacier Gorge and, after a lot of doubt and questions from the rest of the crew, we emerged on the packed trail again. Unimproved indeed! From there, it was a quick hike down the winter cutoff to and up the trail to Bear Lake again. Total of 5-6 miles in a leisurely 4 hours. Great trip despite the weather and it was nice to see a new area of RMNP.
Lake Hiayaha and Chaos Canyon. The SE slope of Hallet Peak is shrouded in blowing snow.
Yas and Todd clowning around on some of the blue ice chunks.
Eric has accepted a job with CASA here in Boulder! As a prelude to all the fun we're going to have this fall, he visited and we got in a couple of small adventures in between the appartment hunting and work stuff. The weather on Sunday wasn't great, but we took a trip up to RMNP and did a casual hike in to Emerald Lake. Various skiers were descending Dragonstail Coulior on Flattop, and we talked to a number of them. The weather deteriorated on the way out to full blizzard, but we had a nice tour anyway.
On Wednesday, we knocked off work and went up Fandango (5.5) on the First Flatiron. It's a great route, and one I've been up twice before. But this is the first time I'd lead the crux pitch and I found it quite spicy. Eric has only been up one Flatiron before, so it was fun to take him up the biggest one available. Great weather and a really nice time for both of us. We're going to have loads of fun once he moves out here. I've told him he's got six months before we start kicking his butt. ;-)
A nifty Blue Grouse we saw above Nymph Lake in full display mode despite the snow.
Eric on the First Flatiron with his new home town as a backdrop.
Training season is here and mountain running is the name of the game. It's four scant weeks until the Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon. More importantly, the weather is fine and the trails are clear. It's also flirting with 100 degrees down on the Plains, so it's time to get some altitude.
Peter runs the High Lonesome Trail on the Divide.
Back with Peter, we picked our way to the Continental Divide Trail and, feeling a bit winded, ran along at 12,000' for two or three miles. The area was crowded with hikers and other runners, but the weather was looking a bit ominous to the south east. As we dropped down steep switchbacks to Rollins Pass, we heard the first rumbles of thunder. Despite the miles and tired legs, this proved extremely motivating and we set a good pace down past the gorgeous King Lake and down into the trees. The rain and lightning didn't start in earnest until we'd lost probably 1000' from the Divide, but it was still a pretty intense time with lightning crashing on all sides. The trail turned into a river in many places and we were soon comprehensively wet and chilled. Waiting under a series of trees didn't provide much comfort, so we gave up hope of keeping at all dry and pushed out. By the time we got back to the car, we were tired and cold, but glad to be out of the weather.
Amy on the summit of Audubon.
I was feeling pretty spent from yesterday, so was happy to take it at Amy's pace. However, her pace was an impressive stride most of the way. About 2/3rds of the way up, she began to flag and the final few hundred feet of talus were demoralizing and slow. Still, we made it up in 2 hours which predicts a Pikes ascent time of around 6 hours. Not bad! She definitely does better on smoother trail and I suspect she can do Pikes (which is very smooth trail) in a sub-6 hour time if she really works at it.
It was a big and bold weekend of mountain running. The Hessie Loop was very nice, despite the weather, incorporating 20 miles of trail and 3900' of gain all-told. In retrospect, the side trip to Pk 12,660 was not really necessary, but what the heck. The Audubon trip was more modest with only 8 miles, but still a hefty 3000' of gain on some pretty rough trail. Added together, that's a substantial weekend of mountain running.
Eric on the sharp end, pulls through the crux of The Bomb (5.4).
We hiked in to the Wind Tower with the idea of climbing the first pitch of Recon (5.4), first as a mock lead, then as the real deal. I've been up this route twice before and know it pretty well, so I scampered up and set a TR anchor at the ledge, then rapped off cleaning my gear on the way down. Eric tied in to both ropes, racked up, and started the climb. He placed three peices below the roof, but then only managed two placements above that (on the upper 60% of the route). I followed him up and found that his placements were okay, but could all have been a bit deeper. Mostly, Recon just doesn't have a lot of gear on it's upper half and isn't a good first-lead route.
However, The Bomb (5.4) immediately to the north looked interesting as well. We simulrapped down the route to take a look at it. To my eye, it looked slightly harder, but with plenty of gear options. Once at the bottom, Eric decided to forego the mock lead this time and just do it for real. The crux was the first few moves through a small roof and he got a little sketched on the sharp end. But once above the roof he moved smoothly and relatively quickly placing six or seven more peices of gear on the way up. Once at the top, he let out a whoop and belayed me up. I looked at each peice and most were at least okay if not ideal. Some were simply beautiful and there were only two stinkers in the lot.
A first trad lead is a big milestone in the evolution of any climber and I'm very glad I got to be there for Eric's. As he puts it, "Now I can lead you up climbs!" I look forward to it, my friend.
T-minus 7 days until Pikes. I'd hoped to start tapering last weekend, but I couldn't resist one more good mountain run. Tapering is over-rated anyway, right? No one else wanted to play hooky with me, so I ran solo up the wonderful Middle St. Vrain trail from Camp Dick toward Buchanan Pass and Sawtooth Mountain. There was some confusion after four miles when I tried to find the cutoff trail that climbed up toward Red Deer Lake. It exists on the old topos, but not in the new trail system. After 15 minutes of thrashing about, I forded the creek and followed a use trail up to the main trail cutting a couple of miles off my trip.
From treeline, the trail up to Buchanan Pass was obvious. On the spur of the moment, however, I took a left and thrashed through some willows aimed for the east ridge of Sawtooth. Once I got through the willows (no mean feat!), the ridge turned out to be annoyingly loose talus on the south slopes of a series of gendarmes up to 12,000'. At this point, the ridge became 45 degree loose talus which I climbed directly to the summit arriving 3.5 hours after leaving the car.
Needless to say, I had the summit to myself. It was clear but very windy and I was glad to lounge in the shelter of a rock ring. The hour was still early and I could see a number of tantalizing destinations along the Divide; Algonquin to the south, Pt. 12,394 to the north. But the point of this trip was to be mellow and besides the wind was pretty fierce, so I opted to call it a day after only one summit.
Running the fantastic Middle St. Vrain trail toward Sawtooth Mountain.
Mushroom! Mushroom! There were enormous mushrooms all over the place.
After a quick trip to see the impressive south face of Sawtooth, I ran easy tundra down to the broad Buchanan Pass and picked up the very nice trail that switchbacked down into the basin to the east. Back down in the basin, rather than retracing my steps down the Middle St. Vrain trail (pretty as it was), I headed out toward the Beaver Reservoir. The trail was glorious for a few miles and I was deep in the grips of a runner's high, but then quickly became hot, rocky, and onerous as it joined with a jeep road fraught with many loose rocks and large road-filling puddles. The last couple miles were made more bearable by the iPod and some good inspirational tunage.
Finally, I got to the road and took the half mile connector trail steeply down through lush forest to Camp Dick and the trailhead. Total mileage was 15.2 miles with 3500' of vertical gain. This was only my second solo mountain trip and it was a lot of fun. The uphill was a slog, but I actually ran a good deal of it. The downhill was mostly runable and I ran most of it. Time for Pikes!
With a good set of mountain runs under my belt and one week left to relax before Pikes, we decided to get in some mellow camping and an easy 14er climb. Amy and I took off for the Sawatch range and picked up a campsite along the Clear Creek Road. Chris, Peter, Tressa, Eric, Yasuyo and Todd would join us and we'd all climb up Mt. Huron the next day.
In reality, the campsites along the road were mostly full and we grabbed a nice site that was hard to see from the road. We nailed a sign to a tree by the road and retired to the back of the car to cook while it rained outside. Just as we'd given up hope, the others showed up and we had a nice time watching the campfire and the Perseid meteors under remarkably dark and clear skies.
Amy and Luna prepare lunch at 12,200' on Mt. Huron.
By 11:30 we'd gotten above treeline to the large cirque at 12,200'. Huron was a large talus pile on the right while Brown Mountain was a smaller talus pile on the left. Above all of it was a good set of weather brewing. We decided that here would be a nice spot for lunch and then to turn back. The rain held off until we were almost back to the road and the lightning waited until we were all the way back to the cars.
We didn't summit, but that's okay. The point of the weekend was to relax, not to summit another Sawatch 14er. However, we'll be back at some point when we're feeling more ambitious.
Richard and Nina safely atop Swanson's Arete
After the arduous approach, I lead the first pitch of Rewritten (5.7) and found it a pretty stout lead. Somehow, I wandered all over the face providing fantastic rope drag and putting me on the upper part of the Great Zot (5.8+!). There were some pretty sketchy moves and I am reminded that I haven't done much leading this year. Both of them came up without too much trouble and Richard valiantly managed to chisel out each of my stuck nuts.
From the Red Ledge, we tackled Swanson's Arete (5.5) in two pitches. It was a nice change from the challenging first pitch though there were a few thoughtful and exciting moves. To give them the full experience of real rock, I ran it out about 30' above the crux (also, I couldn't find any good gear). I managed to set a belay on a relatively spatious stance half-way up and brought them up. P2 was the really fun one with some bold moves through a set of dihedrals to a bulgy summit move.
Unsurprisingly, they both did very well on the actual climbing and enjoyed the experience immensely. The exposure, on the other hand, was quite another matter. The middle belay ledge was probably a foot deep by eight wide, but scared the bejezus out of Richard. The rappels, while annoying due to tangled ropes and hot temperatures, went quite well and we were back on the ground by 3 pm.
Jared and I have been swapping climbing tales for years now but have never yet gotten out. Now that running season is "over", it seemed like a good idea to get in one more hard mountain before the snow starts to fly. He got turned around on the North Buttress of Pagoda a few weeks ago and wanted to try again. It's a 6-8 pitch alpine route with the hardest pitches in the 5.6 to 5.7 range, pretty comfortable for each of us, but it's always nice to swing leads with someone.
Things were looking good at 5am when we stopped at Black Lake for a rest and snack. Chilly and a little windy, but otherwise okay. Lots of stars out and the only two groups we'd seen were both headed for the Spearhead. Unfortunately, after that, I started feeling a bit crappy. AMS? Gas? I don't know, but I was lagging far behind Jared and feeling incredibly lethargic. I was well-rested and had had almost 4 hours of sleep (more than usual for a super-alpine start). We got to the upper part of Glacier Gorge at first light and I still wasn't feeling right; not so terrible that the decision was obvious, but definitely not normal. We persevered as far as Green Lake at the base of the route before I decided that, if I wasn't feeling at least 75% okay, it wasn't a good idea to commit to 1500' of technical and semi-technical alpine climbing with a long and tedious descent. It was probably the right decision, but I spent a while feeling bad about it.
|Jared on the approach in upper Glacier Gorge. Pagoda is the peak in the center and the North Buttress goes right up the middle.||Incredible beams from the Keyboard of the Winds|
After a nice hour spent lounging by the lake watching sunrise light up the peaks, we turned around and marched out in a leisurely fashion taking lots of rest stops and looking for mushrooms along the way. I felt better the lower we got suggesting it was a mild case of AMS. Normally I'm fine at altitude, but there have been a few cases like this.
In any case, Pagoda's North Buttress is an incredible-looking line and I look forward to tackling it next year. It was great to get up into Glacier Gorge in the summer (turns out the summer trail is completely different than the "standard" winter route). As they say, a bad day in the mountains is better than a good day at work.
It's three years since Amy and I got hitched. Each year we try to do something new for our anniversary. The traditional gift for your third anniversary is leather and we couldn't come up with anything appropriate to give each other (no suggestions, please), so we combined the doing something new and the gift giving by going horseback riding for the day. The usual horse gear features plenty of leather.
After a leisurely morning and a nice brunch, we headed up to Allenspark Livery for our scheduled half-day ride. I've ridden before--heck, my family used to even own a horse--but I never rode much and it's been a very long time. Our wrangler Todd brought out the horses for us and Kent and Daphne, another couple freshly arrived from the Midwest. All were sturdy gelding quarterhorses. I was mounted on Boone, a 30-year-old pinto who often serves as a pack horse and is thus especially burly. Amy mounted the beautiful Casper, a smaller, snow-white gelding who is popular in weddings. Daphne and Kent rode the brown Timber and blue-gray Rocky, respectively. Todd swung astride Tacoma, a young (4 years old) gelding and lead the procession.
The difference between opperating a car and riding a horse is that, while both are large, powerful creatures, the horse is not under your direct control. You can ask it to do something, but it will make up it's own mind about the subject. You also need to develop a personal relationship with the animal. Boone was no dummy and immediately began testing my limits. "Will he let me eat grass along the way?" No. "Can I turn around and nip him?" Yes, but only once.
Amy/Casper and myself/Boone with Mt. Meeker behind
Todd and Tacoma pointing out the impressively rugged Rock Creek Canyon.
While Boone and I got to know each other better, we swung into line behind Amy/Casper and Todd/Tacoma. The day was beautiful and we were headed out into the Roosevelt National Forest east of the Peak to Peak Highway. After an hour of wandering on trails, we began to feel more comfortable and even tried trotting a bit (painful and a bit scary). Todd lead us on increasingly rough and wild trails with alternate steep climbs and precipitous, rough descents. After two hours, we were all quite saddle sore, but the scenery and weather were still perfect. Todd told tales of the cowboy life and the way it's changed in modern times. He's a real jack of all trades being skilled in basic veterinary medicine, horse shoeing, and many other skills.
After four hours, I felt much more comfortable on Boone and had figured out some skills, like how to make him stop, go, avoid branches (mostly) and even back up. But the saddle hadn't become any more comfortable nor had Boone grown any thinner. We wandered back on familiar trails and eventually crossed the road back to the stable. Walking like cowboys (a phrase I now appreciate a lot better), we thanked Todd and our trusty mounts and headed home. I can't imagine taking up horseback riding as a major hobby, but it was definitely a new and properly Western thing to try for our Anniversary.
To celebrate the last days of summer, Amy and I put together a mellow climb of South Arapaho Peak, one of my favorite summits and one I've climbed twice before. We were joined by Eric B., Kevin, Yasuyo and Todd. Eric L. made the drive down from Ft. Collins with Stephanie as well. We got a windy, chilly start from the Fourth of July TH at around 8:30 and made good time up to the mine. Weather was perfect, though a bit breezy, and the scenery was spectacular as always. Eric B. and Kevin had just arrived a few weeks earlier, and were working into altitude. They'd climbed Twin Sisters the week before, but this would be their highest climb by almost 2000'.
At the Mine, we turned right and continued up the steep slope across the tundra to the saddle. The Arapaho Glacier is looking pretty sad these days and much smaller than it appears on the topo quads. Amy dropped out here citing fatigue and the other seven of us proceeded up the steep summit cone. Todd and Kevin dropped before reaching the summit, so it was only five of us to the top. The weather was still good, so Eric L. and Stephanie decided to scamper across the traverse and back to North Arapaho while the rest of us lounged about and started down.
Back at the saddle, Kevin, Yas, Todd and I hiked up the adjacent rounded summit of tundra known unofficially as Old Baldy. The hike was easy, but the views of the Arapaho Glacier were amazing! Definitely worth the hike. We had a leisurely hike out and arrived back at the cars around 3.
Ever since I met Andy two years ago, we've been talking about climbing at the Monastery. Finally, in honor of his 30th birthday, we assembled a large crew and headed up there for a day of bolt-clipping, pebble-pinching fun. None of us had been there before, but it wasn't hard to find. The 1.5 mile hike in was deceptively hard with lots of elevation gain and loss, downed trees, rough trail, and no clear idea where we were going.
Fabio and I on No Mystery Here (5.7). Photo by Eric Lee
I took over lead duties and, thanks to my longer reach, managed to get there without much trouble. Past the first crux, the going was pretty easy and the bolts frequent enough to be a pretty casual lead. Mostly it was a matter of pinching tiny crystals and standing on nubbins. After a hundred feet of this, I was getting tired and losing feeling in my fingers. It was quite cold but fortunately the crystals were sharp and forgiving. At the 10th bolt, things got interesting as the angle increased dramatically. I pulled through, clipped the final few bolts and arrived at the anchor. the west, I could see weather moving in and it looked like this might be the only climb of the day. Even Fabio's 70 meter rope wasn't long enough to top rope this route, so I endured a semi-hanging belay from the bolts while I brought Fabio (and a second rope) up. Fabio finally arived and we quickly sorted out the mess of anchor slings, tied the ropes together, and rapped out, much to the relief of my aching calves.
Amy took a turn on the route making short work of it. Eric came by and tried it as well. The weather was still holding off. Still, no one else wanted to try the route, so we drew straws and I lost. With thunder rumbling in the distance, I scampered up the route again, cleaned the anchor, and rapped off.
Having come all this way, we figured we should check out the rest of the area. We scrambled through the narrow slot between two of the towers and arrived in the Vestibule. The rock over here was dramtically different from the Outer Gates: smooth and overhanging, shot with cracks and seams. Dan, Caty, and Anders were working on the various hard-person routes over there (all of them at least double digits). We wandered up hill and spent a while taking pictures of the dramatic area. The thunder frequency was increasing, so we started the retreat. Fog blew in and it started to rain. Fortunately, the major rain held off until we reached the cars.
Anders bludgeons one of the hard routes on the other side of the Magical Mystery Tower. Photo by Eric Lee
Dan works on Tabular Rasa (5.11) while the weather continues to deteriorate. Photo by Fabio.
It was still a bit earlier than we'd hoped, but we decided to adjourn to Casa Leach for the promissed birthday celebrations, new baby viewing, and general carousal. On the drive down, we saw a spectacular rainbow before arriving in Ft. Collins hungry and tired despite the low milage of the day. The ensuing few hours of party definitely rounded out the day nicely.
It always takes one ill-prepared trip in early winter to kick-start me into winter mode. Fortunately, I know this now and can plan something fairly mellow to get into the spirit of things. Eric, Mike, Ben, Amanda, and I headed up to Golden Gate Canyon SP early on Sunday morning to try our luck on Mt. Thorodin. Thorodin and it's sister Starr Peak occupy the middle ground between the friendly Boulder foothills and the familiar big peaks along the Divide. There are no trails and I have little experience in the area. Still, how hard could it be?
It was cold and windy at 9300' when we left the car. We donned snowshoes and tromped along the Raccoon Trail for a quarter mile before starting the bushwhacking. Thorodin is known for three huge buttresses on it's west side, but the south ridge looked like a direct route to the summit. At the point where the trail made a sharp left, we continued straight and headed up a steep hill, picking our way between logs and boulders to attain the ridge. Once on the ridge, things became a little easier and the views opened up. We scrambled up slabs and over huge rocks past the first buttress, then encountered easier terrain through the saddle past the second buttress. Ben lead the way for much of this and set a nice trail up the steep summit cone to the rounded, tree-covered summit itself. It wasn't immediately obvious which was the highest point, but a large pile of rocks looked like a good spot. We scrambled up to the top, managed to squeeze all of us onto it at the same point, admired the spectacular views, then retreated down out of the wind for a nice lunch.
Mt. Thorodin from near Panorama Point
Amanda, Mike and I on the south ridge of Mt. Thorodin
Eric lead the way down following our trail until the saddle, then striking off to the left to take advantage of better snow cover and less rocks. We arrived back at the car at around 2. Thorodin was a very nice hike and served as a good winter warm-up for everyone.
Being the incurable numbers geek that I am, I've been tracking my running mileage since the beginning. My 2007 goal was to run twice the distance I did in 2006 (746.6 miles). As of the beginning of December, I was only shy by about 50 miles. That's a stretch for me in a season of cold and dark, but it seemed doable after this remarkable season. As of December 20th, I had around ten miles to go. One more big run would do it!
I knew it would be an epic when my options were a trail run or ice climbing and I choose the running! Chris G., Chris F., Kari, Steph, Kurt, and I boarded the Nederland bus and headed west early in the morning. The bus was full of sleepy snowboarders headed for Eldora. It was clearly going to be cold, and the wind was clearly howling up in the mountains. When we got off at the Nederland High School, it was cold and windy, but not as bad as I'd feared. Then the bus pulled away and I realized that we had been in the lee of the bus. Yow! This was much worse than I'd feared with temps in the single digits or below and high, snow-laden winds. This wouldn't be that big a deal with proper mountaineering clothing, but we were all in running tights, thin hats, and light windbreakers.
As the warm bus drove away, we gave up on plans to run trails down to Nederland. Instead, we hustled down the road to seek shelter and some place warm to think. A mile and a half of running brought us to town and the wonderful warmth of the train-car cafe in the center of town. After an hour of waiting, the sun came up and things warmed a bit. It was still cold out, but we weren't in life-threatening conditions any more.
We ran Big Spring Road through town and took a half mile trail shortcut up to Magnolia Road. The snow on the trail was a foot deep in places and only Kurt had snowshoes. It was slow and sloppy going, so we opted for running the roads most of the rest of the way. Magnolia Road was windy, but sunny and down-hill and we made great time on the packed snow. Eventually, we turned onto CR68 and headed for Twin Sisters Road where Steph's inlaws have a cabin and were waiting for us. This proved a bit harder to find than it might have, but, after a mile or so of postholing through a gorgeous field, we arrived at the warm and hospitable aid station.
Running along CR68.
Running toward the aid station with Twin Sisters Peak in the background.
Fred and Becky greated us with a roaring fire, hot tea, and all sorts of wonderful refreshments. We'd run eleven miles so far and my goal of 750 miles was met. But we were only half-way done, so we donned wet shoes again, and trudged back out to the unplowed CR68 and postholed for another couple miles.
Eventually, we got out to plowed road again and ran as far as Walker Ranch. Here, Chris G., Kari, Steph and Kurt took off for an additional 15 miles. Chris F. and I had less to prove, so we hiked/ran the road up and over Green Mountain's West Ridge down to the trailhead at Flagstaff Mountain for a total of 18.8 miles.
It was a long and epic run. Once the sun came out, it wasn't as bad as those first moments off the bus. The "aid station" was wonderful and the scenery gorgeous. It has been a long year with lots of running. I met my goal of 750 miles (by a good margin) and am now happy to hang up my shoes for a week or two and enjoy the holidays. Will this trend continue in 2008? I'll certainly run, but I'm not going to try to double this year's mileage next year! I've got a couple races in the works and I intend to train up for that, but not otherwise go overboard.
The Wilderness Journal