Flattop Mountain – Rocky Mountain NP

Today was one of those classic BlueBird sky Colorado Crisp fall runs. Elk bugling, yellow aspen, the first layer of snow in the upper elevations and comfortably cool running temperatures. We started from the Hollowell Park trailhead which I was told by my more well informed running friends is a better place to start than the overcrowded Bear Lake or Bierstadt Lake trail heads. They were correct. This was a 15 mile out and back with 4,100ft of gain. Garmin router here.

The only thing missing from this photo are the sounds of elk in heat “bugling” away and the sound reverberating off of the mountains. Longs Peak in the distance. I was there several weeks ago.

The single track on the way up the first several miles was very runnable and soft.

A group rest stop overlooking Bear Lake I believe looking towards Longs Peak.

Breaking through the tree line opens up the views and brings you closer to the first snow pack of the season at 11,500ft.

Pushing the last 1000 or so feet to the top through about an inch of snow. Micro spikes would have been nice at this point. Adding another light layer was all that was needed. The cold felt great after the long dry hot summer.

Back on the Continental Divide for maybe the last time in 2012 at 12,300 ft on the Bighorn Flats. With a trip planned back to OH next weekend, it likely will be my last alpine run…but not my last alpine adventure (snow shoes and skis are being added to the gear this year. Yes, I live in CO and have never down hill skied).

The fun part is the way back down with better light and different views. Without the micro-spikes, it was slow going

I think this is my favorite shot of the day. Longs ahead and I think Blue Lake below. By this time of day, the sun had lit up the west face of Longs.

As you can see here

I believe this is Bear Lake below viewed from about 10,000 ft. I bumped into a group a high school age kids hiking at this point dressed in gym shoes, cotton T-shirts and jeans on their way to the Divide. Perhaps I sounded a bit too parental when I told them they weren’t dressed right and to be safe and not do anything stupid. Oh well. At least I don’t regret not saying anything.

And there were views like this all over to be seen on the way back.

Another picture perfect day in RMNP.

Caribou Ranch – Nederland

Sometimes running is just fun. That’s it. No miles or times or destinations. Just breathing and looking and of course talking. This was the case today with my FUN Sunday running group organized by Marty. We started at Caribou Ranch and just ran around for a while taking in the golden aspens. This place has an interesting history as it used to be the home to a recording studio (of all things) in operation from 1972-1985. The name Caribou Ranch comes from the Elton John album of the same name recorded here in 1974. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was recorded in Nederland! The diverse list of artists who recorded here include U2, John Lennon, Chick Corea, Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire….complete list here.

The ranch opens in July after the calving season for Elk (not Caribou) is complete.

Chatting with Dr Jerry Lynch, a well known sports psychologist with a successful practice all over the US. You can view some of his work (Way of Champions)  here.

Tara is in the lead and is coming off of a win at a recent half marathon in Alaska! Way to go Tara.

I am guessing this is what is left of the recording studio post 1985 fire.

Mike Sandrock in the lead here. He is putting on an event for his charity, “One World Running” this Saturday in Boulder.

Anders is also working on the charity event.

Nice shot Rock!

Lots to smile about today.

Fall in the Rockies – St Vrain Glacier

After six consecutive incredible weekends, today it was nice to return to a local chill Saturday run in the high country. What a streak it has been starting with Mt Werner 50K, Buchanan-Pawnee Loop, Pikes Peak Ascent, Longs Peak, Imogene Pass and last weekend a 50 miler in Moab. We headed out to St Vrain Glacier from Camp Dick for a 16 miler to enjoy what remains of the Rocky Mountain fall season. No Garmin route today as it already posted here.

The trip out to the glacier is a gentle incline.

Some old faces, some new faces and some new Rocky Mountain single track dogs being trained by Dr Jay.

The weather could not have been better.

And the views at 11,000 feet. Not much snow pack left this year…

I believe this is Gibraltar Lake tucked in right below what is left of the glaciers. It was an incredibly quiet place.

Time to head for home.

With a few golden stops along the way.

I am glad Alfred caught this one…I must have been staring at my shoes 😉

And another….

The new normal…I am luvin it.