Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Week in Review (June 23 - June 29)

Tuesday (29,162 steps) - Work in the office, with a walk downtown during lunch.
After work I drove to Lair o' the Bear to meet up with Maureen and a few friends for Maureen's birthday! It was much cooler in the hills, and it was pleasant on our way up. Lisa was running 10 miles, and Sheila, Alison and Maureen wanted to run 6. I told them to turn around at 3 and that I would catch up because I decided I would do 7. Right after I turned around, the thunder really started. And it got louder. And then there was lightning. And when I was about 2.5 miles from the parking lot, it started to POUR. I ran down pretty quickly, and wasn't cold from the rain, but I sure was wet.










We still sat around in the parking lot to have a beer. I had to use the heat and seat warmers on the way home. Another hot shower before I could eat dinner. The cupcakes I had picked up for Maureen's birthday were a delicious treat!

Wednesday (56,132 steps) - Work from home. Normal walks during the day. Now that cross country practice has started for Ariel, she doesn't want to do the evening trail runs. The only person I could convince to join was Tyler's roommate, Mike. We met in Boulder and did our normal route.


Thankfully, he was tired from his weekend of hiking and was fine with walking most of the hills. After a pretty big week of lots of climbing, I was also tired. It started to get crazy windy and rainy on my way home, glad I didn't get rained on again. Porch beer and then some quick packing for our weekend.
Thursday (19,920 steps) - Work in the office. Walk around downtown during lunch.
We had plans to head to Buena Vista & Crested Butte as soon as I got home from work. Not a surprise when that didn't happen. Ben was picking up the camper from Kristin, and he ran into all sorts of issues. While he was figuring all that stuff out, I took Pika for a quick walk. By the time we loaded everything up and got on the road we were more than an hour later than we planned. We hit rain, that required us to stop and move a bunch of our stuff from the truck to the camper, then there was an accident, THEN there was construction. By the time we got to Silverthorne it was already time for a late dinner. We got Chipotle to go and headed into Leadville. We ate our food in the parking lot of the Safeway where we got last minute supplies like water (and beer) and decided to adjust our plans for the remainder of the evening. Since it was already nearly 10, we decided to scrap driving to Buena Vista, and lucked out when we found a place to disperse camp along Halfmoon Road.
We were pretty tired and went to bed shortly after parking. It was pretty cold overnight, mid 30's! Quite the change from down in Denver.
Friday (22,531 steps) - We woke up around 6:30. I was surprised my internal alarm (and sunlight) didn't wake us up earlier. We enjoyed our cup of coffee and reorganized everything before heading out for the drive to Crested Butte.

We didn't have any luck reserving camping before we left, so the plan was to get into the area as quickly as possible and hope we would be able to find something. The drive was super pretty, and we stopped at the top of Cottonwood Pass to stretch our legs and take some pictures.

The signs warning of cattle on the road did not lie! We saw probably 100 cows just meandering on the road. Pretty silly.
Ben had found a campground in Cement Creek that he hoped would have availability. We arrived to find that the last spot had literally just been snagged a few minutes earlier. As Ariel and I walked around to make sure there weren't people leaving that day that just hadn't gotten out yet, Ben had a quick conversation with a guy that said they were leaving earlier than they planned and if we wanted to wait an hour the spot was ours. Ben offered to hang out near the spot while Ariel and I took Pika out for an adventure. There was a small trail head right by the campground, and it was REALLY pretty. Probably not the smartest idea to be wearing flip flops, but...



We got back to the campground just in time to help Ben get everything set up. Pika enjoyed her little puppy tent.
We walked into town to get something to eat before going on a walk. Ben got tacos and Ariel and I split a delicious burger. We stopped at a little shop in town where I finally snagged my Patagonia fanny pack (I love using fanny packs for my Kogalla light system when I'm running), and Ben got a new hat.
I had found what was supposed to be a somewhat easy 2ish mile loop just a few miles outside town. Spoiler, it wasn't really a loop (that we could figure out), nor was it only 2 miles. BUT!! It was really pretty, even if it involved briefly going onto private property, not-really-trails and Pika diving into swamp water.
















We stopped in town to pick up food for dinner and more water/beer. I'm glad we got back in time to enjoy some lounging around time. Ariel and I played frisbee while Ben got started on grilling hot dogs.

Later in the evening we roasted s'mores. What a fun night!
Saturday (24,076 steps) - We managed to sleep until after 7. All of us slept much better, and it wasn't nearly as cold as it had been in Leadville, closer to mid-40's. We took our time getting ready and enjoying coffee & breakfast before heading out for our hike/run of the day.
Breakfast of Champions!!!
Ben says socks look terrible with flip flops. Ariel and I disagree!
The hike that we picked was at Rustler's Gulch, and according to reviews was about an 8 mile out and back. The verdict was that there was a sketchy road section that has a lot of people turning around before they even started. We were definitely on a dirt road where 4 wheel drive was beneficial, but we were having a hard time figuring out what the big deal was. When we got to the end of the road, we saw some people had driven down even further. That was an adventure that included driving down some sketchy road and through water. We started the hike on a wide road, that we weren't sure if we could have driven up or not. Turns out, the first 3/4 of a mile we could have driven, but it did add about 500 feet of climbing, so we weren't too upset about it. Then we got to the gate where the trail actually began.
We were looking forward to this one because it doesn't seem like it gets a ton of trail traffic, there was supposed to be a lot of shade, pretty views and PLENTY of water crossings, which we knew that Pika would love. Nothing was disappointing about this hike! (Except, spoiler, lack of an amazing alpine lake at the end).


One happy puppy!
Longest water crossing of the hike - this only shows about half of it. Some sections were probably close to a foot deep!



We came across a water crossing that looked pretty deep and with the water moving as fast as it was, we opted to take an alternate single track. We came to this tree conveniently across the river to help us cross. Spoiler, this was actually not actually the trail. (On the way back, we found a different way to get back across).














At this point, we weren't sure if the trail was ever actually going to end. We were definitely out longer/further than we had planned at this point, but we didn't want to turn around before finding out if there was a cool lake or something. Sad there wasn't!


We had a quick snack before starting down - since the sky was getting a tad sketchy, plus we were all getting tired and hungry.





Our just over 8 miles hike ended up being 9.5!! We cleaned up a bit in the river before heading back into town.
A marmot crossing sign, although we didn't see one
Once we got into town, we stopped at The Edlo and managed to snag a seat on the patio to get a quick beer.

We heard great things about the taco place down the street, Bone-z, so we got on the list for seating. While we were waiting we got happy hour margaritas! The food was delicious (but expensive). I had enchiladas for the first time in a very long time.
On the way out of town back to the campsite, we remembered to stop and get pictures of the dragon and knight wearing their masks.

Since we had eaten so late we didn't pick up food for dinner, and we still had some small slider sandwiches, chips and MORE s'mores.
Kristin's camper even comes equipped with games! None of us knew how to play Cribbage, so we dove into Scrabble. Turns out that is also a highly contentious game. Fun times though!

This was before someone played "hag" - and that's when things really got out of control
Ben and Ariel hung up lights and we played music until it was getting to be curfew time for the campground.
 Apparently, if you wear a buff over your face, the smoke doesn't bother you? A was cracking me up.
Sunday (18,907 steps) - Actually set an alarm. We found a hike, Walrod, that was very close to the camp ground, but we weren't sure how long it was going to take, plus we weren't sure what time we were supposed to be out of the site. Also, we still had to drive all the way back to Denver. Every hike here just starts UP. This one started on another sketchy dirt road that may or may not be drive-able, before turning onto single track up in the aspen trees.




Soon, we moved out of the trees and onto a really pretty section of trail that cut into the side of the mountain. There were lots of wildflowers, but unfortunately, they never seem to photograph well. 






The selling points for this hike were - proximity to where we were, distance (supposedly about 4 miles), that it was a loop instead of an out and back, and that there were CAVES. We nearly missed the top section since we went up the loop in reverse (apparently).


It looked a lot more death defying from the top, and when we were coming down the back side, we found another small trail that took us up on the other side. At first, just Ben went up to see what was there.
Ariel and I waited at the base with Pika.

Once we got up there, Ariel thought that it might be easier/safer to just go back out the top, rather than go down the steep single track we had just trekked up. The inside of the cave was pretty cool, complete with what A called "Indiana Jones rock."
We weren't sure how to get Pika up and out safely, so only Ariel and I climbed out the top.
Before meeting us back at the bottom, Ben poked around a bit and saw more additional caves. What a cool little hike, and not too crowded.
Pika with the "in memoriam" dog rocks
We were able to run down the less technically section. We had to go along the dirt road for a bit, then jumped on the single track that paralleled the road. This hike was at least not AS long as some of the others, just over 5 miles. We then went back to the campground and packed up everything, not getting out until just after 12:30. Since we had no cell phone service we were driving a bit blind, but managed to get to Gunnison without issue. We stopped in town to get food, eventually settling at a place called "Dive," since most places there weren't dog friendly.

I dozed off a bit on the drive on the way back, waking up briefly at the summit of Monarch Pass. We stopped in Buena Vista for gas and snacks, then kept going until we got to Frisco. We stopped for a beer at Outer Range before the final push home. We got to our house around 8:15, took about a half hour to unload and clean the trailer before taking it back to Kristin's house. Picked up pizza, quick Pika walk, and bed. What a fun/long/short weekend.
Monday (56,528 steps) - Work from home. Pika walks and not much else!
Stats:
  • 227,256 steps
  • 29.6 miles "run"

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