Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Adventures, Part 1

In my last post, I mentioned that I was back on the training wagon... it sorta didn't last too long. Well, that is not true, I have been running, biking and swimming up a storm, but I have not been on any prescribed training program. I am okay with that, but my race results are sure to show the effects. I have spent most of June and July exploring mountains at a slower pace and really developing a love affair with Colorado. The next few posts will contain the highlights and get us caught up.

June Hiking -
Gotta learn my peaks, but I think this is Long's

Looking down at Estes Park from Estes Cone

I took a few trips with a new friend who showed me parts of Colorado he loved. We did a lot of hiking and camping. I felt like I was back to my roots. We visited Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked Lumpy Ridge and Estes Cone. We bumped around the bottom of some of the 14ers around Buena Vista and camped high above Salida on BLM land far away from everyone and everything.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

The biggest adventure was a hike down the Tomichi Route into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Now it is called a route because you actually "hike" down a rock slide and there is no trail. When we stopped at the visitor center to get the required permit, the rangers all gathered around with raised eyebrows when my companion indicated that he had taken the route before. Apparently, once is enough for most folks.

Sliding down the Tomichi Route
Sunset over the Canyon
Although the hike was only 1 mile each way, the loose, talus-strewn route  with an elevation change of 1930 feet made this route pretty challenging. We had to go one at a time to avoid killing each other with rocks kicked loose. We rested at the bottom along the swollen Gunnison River, devouring several bagels each and falling asleep in the cool shade at the bottom of the canyon. We crested the rim of the canyon again 6 hours later. Yes, it took us 6 hours to "hike" 2 miles. But, the park suggests that descent along that route take 1.5 hours and ascent take 4.5 hours (which they handily point out is 3 times the descent time)... so given our extended pit stop, we made pretty good time.

Wildflowers in CB

We wrapped up the trip camping in the same spot as I had on my very first trip to Colorado 15 years ago. It was just outside Crested Butte, so before heading back to reality, we tempted ourselves with a quick peek at the trails leading out of CB... a future trip will be needed!

Next up... Big Horn Trail Races

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