Thursday, August 20, 2020

Week in Review (August 11 - August 17)

Tuesday (17,431 steps) - Work in the office. Walk around during lunch. Took Pika for a walk.
Tyler shared his celebratory Dairy Queen ice cream cake with us - it was a LOT more cake than any of us were really comfortable eating, but it was delicious. (The reason for the cake was his completion of the 100,000' Leadville climbing challenge.
Wednesday (39,395 steps) - Work from home. Took Pika for a walk at lunch. Met Tyler in Boulder for a run. We decided to run shorter for once, and it's a good thing we did. It was hot and the air quality was terrible from all the fires that are happening right now. It's crazy looking at the sky and seeing the sun SO red. (Pictures do not do it justice, at all).


Thursday (28,013 steps) - Work in the office, walk at lunch. Briefly stopped at Berkeley to pick up a Garmin InReach Mini - an early wedding present to ourselves!
Headed west again, stopping to do a "quick" repeat on the road at Dinosaur Ridge. It felt much hotter than the last time I was out there, and I didn't feel as well as I had hoped going up the hill. My future goal is to run that whole section up on the east side someday. 

Had to make another emergency bathroom stop before going to Bear Creek to meet up with Maureen, Lisa and Tyler for our unofficial "Ain't no laws when running for claws heavy 5K."


It was hot, smokey and I was pretty tired. Thankfully, we had two dogs with us and no one seemed to mind taking walk breaks. (I love walking).
We had a seltzer in the parking lot before parting ways. Fun night!
Friday (31,800 steps) - Work from home, usual Pika walks.

Most of the evening was spent finalizing wedding stuff (we actually ordered our rings!) and packing for our Saturday adventure.
Saturday (65,061 steps) - Up just after 4:00 am to head into the mountains. Took Pika out for a quick walk, then I drove us up to Mount Evans. (Yes, again). After hiking last Sunday to the lower Chicago Lake, I came up with a "brilliant" idea. What if we went up the road and came down the trail? The road is much longer, but I struggle a lot with climbing on technical trails, and add in altitude and it's slow going. For some reason, Ben was on board. We started a little earlier than last week, just before 6:15, when the sun was just starting to rise. 


I'm pretty sure that I was taking a lot of the same pictures, and I *definitely* took a zillion pictures of the marmots. They are just SO CUTE and without the traffic they were getting pretty close to the road.



Thankfully, the only really windy section we had was right as we were approaching Summit Lake. It wasn't as bad as last week, I didn't have to take my hat off at all.

Ben using our cool new water filtration device - it's magical!




Sadly, these were the only two goats we saw, no babies...

Once again, the air was very still on the summit, so we were able to sit and eat our sandwiches without being cold or being blown away. Still not many people at the top, I am enjoying that part of the pandemic for sure. (I did actually recognize one of the maybe 15 people up there - she had led the snowshoe group we did back in January).
I can't believe we forgot to make a sign for the summit! But here we are, at 14,265'!


I'm glad that I had programmed the route into my watch, as there were a handful of sections where the trail was a little tough to find.

We finally figured out that Bierdstadt is that high peak towards the left - never knew that!


Somehow, when we were nearing the saddle to Bierdstadt section, we got about .05 off track. We were just wandering around this alpine meadow completely unable to figure out where the trail was. When we finally saw it we couldn't figure out how on earth we missed such a well-established trail. 




I have only hiked the trail to Mt. Evans once, and we started at Summit Lake, so I was not familiar with the trail below that section at all. We chatted briefly with two guys that were having a snack near the lake, and they said it was pretty wild until Upper Chicago Lake. Turns out, they were right. My least favorite type of descent - rocky and lots of loose gravel and talus. NOT FUN. I skidded out a few times and really didn't like this part at all.






The day definitely took longer than we expected. On the way home we stopped at Over Yonder, and ran into Bob and Eliot. Even though Ben and Eliot haven't been talking for months, we had a nice "not awkward" time with them. Ben stopped to get pizza on the way home and I took Pika for a walk.
I was waaaay too tired to get things ready, so I set our alarm 10 minutes earlier and went to bed pretty early.
Sunday (74,054 steps) - Up before 3:00, although I woke up around 1, and never was able to get back to sleep. Curse you, insomnia! We gathered up everything, I took Pika for a walk, and we headed out just a few minutes late to meet over near Jeramiah's house.

Our objective for the day was to carpool to Brainard Lake area and then do the Pawnee Buchanan loop - which according to the map I made, is approximately 26.5 miles. Jeramiah drove, and wow, does he drive... crazy. The road through Ward is pretty windy and even though I don't get carsick, I did NOT feel great by the time we go there. We arrived before the sun was up and got one of the first spots in the lot. All of us used the bathroom and then we got our gear ready to head out.
It was a bit chillier than any of us expected, and we all started the route with our jackets on. I was definitely the weakest link in the early miles, as my stomach still didn't feel quite right. Ben gave me some ginger (something I have never had to use) and I felt better over time. I was also the weakest link at this point, not just because I wasn't feeling well, but because I was already feeling the route we had done the day before. Early on, I could tell the route would NOT disappoint. We hardly saw anyone the entire day, the route had a TON of variety, and even with all the smoke from the fires - VIEWS FOR DAAAAYS.


We had done a relatively decent amount of climbing early on, which was nice, since it was still cool and I knew there would be A LOT of climbing throughout the route. Then we had a nice descent through the woods.


And finally - what I was really hoping for - wildflowers! There were tons of them in this meadow area, and although they never seem to photograph well, believe me when I say there were a lot of them, in various colors. So pretty!!


We had started the ascent up Buchanan Pass to the first "summit"  - and it was tough to see exactly where we were going from the basin. Finally - we figured out that we would snake up a single track, along a snow field! This climb wasn't that difficult, and everyone was still in really good spirits - Ben and Tyler were even "racing" up the hill.




We made it to the first stop! (Kristin, Jeramiah, Tyler, Ben and me)

We decided to eat while we were here. I was already concerned with how long this was seemingly taking, so I opted to only eat half of my sandwich so that I would have something to eat later.
The initial descent down was exactly what I dislike about coming off a pass - steep and lots of loose gravel. Ben was having issues adjusting his laces to where they weren't too tight and not hitting the front of his shoe. 

I was definitely in my happy place when things leveled out a bit. The trail became less technical, and we spent a decent amount of time gradually going back downhill through fields of flowers.



This may have been when Tyler was singing the Sound of Music

Finally, we were at the base of the trail to head up Pawnee Pass. It was SO HOT by this point. We had already stopped a few times to filter water, and I couldn't believe how much water I was going through. 
The best part about this section was being in the shade of the trees (although the temperature certainly didn't reflect any relief) - and all the waterfalls we would see as we followed the river up the pass.



Finally, the trees began to thin a bit, and we got a view of jagged peaks - NOW WHERE WERE WE GOING? I kept thinking that we would somehow just navigate between hills and we would magically get to where we were going...





We got to a point where all of a sudden we were having a hard time sticking together. We realized at some point that Kristin was REALLY struggling, and we were a decent amount ahead. We were on switchbacks that were going up a pass, so everyone was within sight. When we noticed that she was sitting on a rock and not moving, and it looked like she was throwing up, we realized there was a problem.



Jeramiah was the closest to her, and he went to chat with her and see if he could figure out what was going on. Thanks to our placement on the mountain we could yell back and forth and hear each other fairly well. Kristin was wheezing and having problems keeping food down. It was already after 4:00, and we all knew that we needed to get off the mountain before dark. Ben ran back down and gave them our inReach just in case, and Jeramiah offered to stay with her since he had a ton of warm clothes and was the only person with a headlamp. (Lesson learned, headlamps are small, everyone should have one in their pack if they are going to be out for anything over 8 hours).
Tyler and I knew that Ben would not have a problem catching up, so we trudged on towards the summit. It got windier, and there were definitely sections that were sketchy - with steep grades and loose rocks.
Ben took this pic - if you look close towards the top, you can see Tyler (left) and me (right)


Sure enough, we got to the top without any further issues, other than how late it already was. We knew there was 4.5-5 miles left. Not quite as bad as coming off Buchanan, but it was still a little technical, windier and chilly. We didn't have that long to get off the peak before it was going to be dark. None of us had fathomed we would be out this late, and not only were we seriously worried about being in the dark, but we had even had to leave two people behind with an emergency beacon.

The marmots and pikas seemed to be out in full force - sunset must be their favorite time!

Finally, we got off the really steep stuff, and we knew we had under three miles to get back to the car. 

The last miles seemed unnecessarily long...
By this point, we were all irritable and just wanting to be done. It was dark enough that a headlamp would have helped, but since we only had about a mile left we figured we could just look for shadows. The route ended and we were not back to the car yet, but thankfully this section of trail was not technical at all, and just my cell phone flashlight worked well enough to get us there. We arrived at the car at 8:55 pm. At LEAST 3 hours later than planned. We hadn't had cell service all day, and we were concerned about Kristin and Jeramiah. When we were leaving, the rangers were already gone, so when we got into town (to get snacks and a drink), we made the tough call to call the Sheriff's office to advise that there were still people on the pass. They had not hit the emergency beacon, so we figured they were ok, but we wanted to be cautious. About an hour later we heard from them, and they were fine, thankfully. Didn't get home until after 11:00!!! Ate a quick snack, showered, and it was midnight before we got to bed.
*As an aside - we were SO grateful to have picked up the inReach Mini. We had walked Ariel through what the various "canned" messages were, and to not be worried if she got them, it was more of an update for her so she could see where we were, and just so she knew what was going on. Ben had sent more of a personalized message before leaving the beacon with them. When we asked her about the messages when we got home, she said they were helpful and she wasn't worried, and for that, I'm glad. If we hadn't been able to get in touch with her and had been HOURS behind schedule, she normally would have been very scared and worried.
**Second aside - definitely re-evaluating the gear that we had with us. We really needed to have more food. the water filter was awesome, and was used a LOT. I topped off my bladder after the halfway point and I still ran out of water about ten minutes before we finished. Also, an extra layer couldn't hurt, and a headlamp. Ben had brought a portable charger and phone cable, which he ended up having to use. I had my phone in airplane mode most of the time, so my battery was actually ok.
Monday (26,413 steps) - Work from home. I actually snoozed a few times because I was SO TIRED. I don't have any idea how Ben got up at 4 to go to work. Eeesh. Regular Pika walk at lunch. And because I am a stupid person, I had made plans to do another White Claw virtual run with friends at North Table. I picked up A at practice, and we arrived just before 6. No one was especially interested in running UP the mountain, so we all stayed on the dirt road below. I mostly ran with Maureen and Zach. We hung out in the parking lot after and it was actually a TON of fun. I miss my friends!
Also, apparently my friends are the people that have a rug and random other items in their car. Pika was certainly living her best life, and being the only dog meant she got LOTS of attention.

We finally headed out because we knew Ben was at home making dinner. What a fun evening!

Stats:
  • 282,167 steps
  • 66.2 miles run
  • 65 minutes of cross training!

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