Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"Trained yesterday (9/15/08) on the Incline about 6:30 a.m. and met up with a Mountain Lion on the steps. Lion was between my two friends (about 30 yards apart) crossing over the incline. Appeared to be a small juvenile that just wanted out of there."
Hell yeah! Manitou mountain lions are the most fit mountain lions in the world!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
The trip called for leaving Grand Junction around noon on Friday and stopping by Mt. of the Holy Cross. 14ers.com had pegged the round trip at 11.5 miles, which I figured I’d be able to do before the sun set. After that, I’d head out to the Mt. Massive trailhead and car-camp for until the next morning for an attempt at Colorado’s second highest mountain.
Stepped off just after 3:30PM from the Half Moon trailhead on Tigiwon Road. Was running the flatter parts and hiking hard when things got steep. Soon I came to Half Moon pass and ran the next mile or so, which dropped about 1,000 feet down to East Cross Creek. The next mile or so to treeline was steep but I continued to push the pace. I was making great time and didn’t even bother to think about the sun going down.
Above treeline, things became a bit more difficult. It was hard class 2 climbing the rest of the way. Very, very slow, but I continued up at a steady pace. Holy Cross is one of those hikes where you’re really working your ass off but the peak doesn’t seem to be getting any closer.
Eventually, after what seemed like (and may have actually been) hours, I made it to the summit. I was rewarded with a fantastic view of the continental divide. I could see it raining in Leadville, about 30 miles up the road, but the weather was beautiful where I was. I performed my usual ritual: fired up a cigar and popped open a can of Pabst. Sent out a few text messages, then called Katie to say hello.
While on the phone with Katie I actually said, “woah, it’s starting to get dark, I should probably be going.” I then told her I’d call her from Leadville, where I planned to stop for a few beers before heading out to the Mount Massive trailhead.
Heading down off the Peak was even slower than heading up. It was getting dark quickly, and the cairns I followed up the mountain were getting really hard to see. Before I knew it, I had to pull out the headlamp, and that made the cairns impossible to follow, as I couldn’t tell a cairn from a regular rock.
No problem though. I figured I’d just drop straight down to treeline and follow the trees over until I hit the dirt singletrack path I’d hiked in on.
Well, it just wasn’t meant to be. It was pitch black out, and I couldn’t see any of the surrounding mountains or even the mountain I had just climbed. I became disoriented very quickly. I also found myself scrambling down steeper and steeper rocks. It got to the point where had I been forced to head back up, I doubt I could have climbed out.
Shortly after one of my legs fell into a deep hole and I whacked my knee on a rock (I still have a huge bruise there), I took a seat to assess my situation. I had a vague idea of what direction I had to go to get back to the trailhead. I could also hear East Cross Creek way down below me, and I knew that if I could get there I could follow the stream back to the main trail.
However, the portion of the mountain I was on was pretty steep. And my eyesight was limited to the small beam of my headlamp. I was worried that in my rush to the stream I was gonna get myself into a situation that I couldn’t get out of.
So I decided that I was gonna hafta spend the night at treeline (just under 12,000 feet). Luckily for me it wasn’t as cold as it could have been, as I had on BDU pants, a short sleeve cotton shirt, a long sleeve pseudo-technical shirt from Nash Hash-South Dakota, and a thin fleece I got from the Bandera 100K a few years ago. In my Camelbak I had about 1.5 liters of water, a Clif bar, a can of Pabst, four Philly blunts, and, thankfully, a lighter.
Found a semi-level place where some trees and rocks would break the wind. It was probably in the high 30s, not cold enough to freeze to death but more than enough to make life miserable. Even though it had recently rained and all the wood was wet, I eventually got a fire going which made life suck a little less.
I tried to use my cell phone to call Katie and tell her not to worry. No signal. There was, however, 911 access. I was afraid that Katie would worry when I didn’t call her from Pb-ville, so I called 911, reported my situation, and told them not to send search and rescue if anyone called in for me.
The next hour or so was nice. I chilled out next to the small fire, smoked a cigar, and enjoyed my Pabst. Shortly after that life turned pretty shitty. The next six hours would have me curled up in the cannonball position, trying to stay warm. I had built half a fire ring, and used my body as the other half. About every twenty minutes the fire would burn down, and I’d wake up shivering like hell. But as bad as things got, I kept telling myself, “hey, it could be worse, at least it’s not raining.”
The only part of my body I really worried about was my feet. My sneakers had got wet while crossing some snow up high, so I took off my shoes and socks. My dogs were cold! I took my camo boonie cap and wrapped that around my feet, which helped somewhat.
After what seemed like an eternity the sun came up. Trying to get up and walk was an adventure, as my legs were all kindsa cramped up from shivering all night. Took me about half an hour before I could really start moving again.
Fairly anti-climactic from here on. I was probably ¾ of a mile from where I was supposed to be. Once I could see again I saw where I had to go, and about four hours later I was back at the car, enjoying another PBR.
Once I got cell phone reception I called Katie. She said, “how’s Mt. Massive?”
“Shit, you wouldn’t believe what happened to me. You weren’t worried last night when I didn’t call?”
“No,” she replied, “I just figured you got drunk in Leadville and forgot.”
Thursday, September 25, 2008
1st place - the barefoot runner with the fastest time
2nd place - the runner with the fastest time
3rd place - everyone else
Think I'm gonna do my normal long run on Saturday morning, then throw back some Firefly, and then go check this out. I'll have pleanty of time to do this before the hash, since Kimchi mismanagement is turning into the Austin hash and having secret meetings without inviting the pack.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Also continue to update my Pikes Peak blog every now and then.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
And while I'm on the subject, Net, one of the two bikes at my house is gone, I hope your friend picked it up...
Aug 18-24: 6.4 miles
Aug 25-31: 11.7 miles
Sept 1-7: 4.0 miles
Sept 8-14: 4.0 miles
Sept 15-21: 15 miles
Guess biking to work just isn't going to cut it. Plus, even though this was a rest period, other activities, mostly hiking some 14ers, have left my body in shambles. I have a huge golf ball sized lump under my right knee from falling on Holy Cross, and my heel still hurts like hell (I think from Imogene). My legs just have that general feeling of having been run over by a bus. I need to start running again to heal myself up! On a good note, I'm menatlly ready to fire things back up and have made peace with myself over the Leadville DNF. And by "peace" I mean that I'm going to train even harder and get that big buckle next year, hopefully after completing Hardrock the month before.
Out the door before 5AM for a nice five miler, not a bad start...
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
That's GRRReta, as I found out from the plaque outside the cage. GRRReta looks nice and friendly, but one local told me she's really vicious and the townspeople fear her breaking loose, as evidenced by the security fence and leg chain.
Took advantage of being sent to Grand Junction for work to hang out at the Colorado National Monument. Had a blast running some of the trails and driving the course of the upcoming Rim Rock Run, which is my next scheduled race. My pics don't do this place justice, but here are some of 'em. The rest can be seen here.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
4. Baked in Telluride! I've wanted to go here ever since I heard Phish mention the place in a 1988 show. The joint rocked! The food is actually average, but the crowd that the place attracts is worth the price of admission. Plus they have beer from local Smuggler's Brewery on tap. I'm now the proud owner of a "Baked in Telluride" shirt and coffee mug.
5. The music! Great performances all around! Never seen John Hiatt before, but his Friday evening set rocked! It was also great getting to see one of my favorites, the John Butler Trio! Even though his 70 minute set lacked some of his best songs, he did what he could, including making fun of people who watch Fox news. Also found out that his tune, "Gov Did Nothing" is actually about George Bush and his, uh, inspiring, response to Hurricane Katrina. Hard to believe that a foreigner (i.e., terrorist!) from one of the axis of evil countries (Australia) can come over here and bad mouth Fox news and GW, but everyone was either too stoned or too drunk (or both) to act like true patriots and shoot him.
G Love played a great set too, barely stopping in between songs. Lots of guests too, including Big Sam and John Butler. The muical highlight of the entire weekend for me came when he went into a freestyle rap about having the munchies after getting stoned and jonesin' about Tastycake Butterscotch Krimpets!
Gov't Mule was right on as well, including a few songs with Susan Tedeschi.
Saturday night we got to ride up the gondola to see Warren Haynes. He didn't disappoint. One of my favorite lines from any song was written by Warren, in Patchwork Quilt, when he mentions a "banjo moon in a tie dyed sky." Warren explained to the crowd that this line was written over almost a decade ago when he was playing with the Allman Brothers in Telluride!
6. Bear Creek Canyon. Took some time on Sunday morning to hike back Bear Creek, which is part of the Hardrock course. Really great to see this beautiful part of the world without the physical and mental stress of HR.
7. Telluride! Definitely the best venue I've ever been to for a live show. The entire town basically becomes part of the festival. Friendly people, great dive bars, unbelievable scenery. Can't wait for next year!
You can see all the pics here.