Western Slope

5 days ago I was in Ireland.  This Friday, travelling I-70 West ‘cross the Americas Continental Divide.

Half-day work day, destination: Fruita.  5-hour drive from Boulder, 17 miles from the Utah border.  Arrived 20 minutes before bib pick-up/Expo shut down.  I’ve cut it closer.  My PW (personal worst)?  Illinois Marathon, April 2016: 2 minutes.  Yikes!

Tomorrow’s run, Colorado’s only November marathon.  Chose Rim Rock to keep the streak alive (cost choice, Dublin was weighty on the pocketbook).  Ironically, now visiting my Mom in 2 weeks (& of course marathon-registered nearby, addictive habit ❤).  Sleeps at the Balanced Rock Inn, half-mile from Fruita’s Community Center – shuttle meet-up location AND (26 miles later) tomorrow’s marathon finish.

Pitch dark early a.m. start.  Double-shirted but stuck with shorts.  Hard to ‘best guess’ race attire in Fall.  Inside the Park, sheltered 45 minutes behind a porta-potty [windbreak] ‘til the day’s 7am Start.  2nd marathon experience inside a National Park 🙂

Colorado National Monument.  Landscape more Utah than Colorado.  Warned/awaited a gun start, small athletic field (mostly college runners: Colorado Mesa University & CU-Boulder).  Gun jamm’d, CMU coach casually said ‘ok go’ – & we were on our way.

8 miles UP.  First 4 miles: 2500ft UP.  More hike than run.  Even the parts that LOOKED flat, a steady clip UP.

Stopped, snapped pics, took in the panorama/Park’s amazing beauty.

Cold Shivers Point – cold winds blew.  3 miles of down, mile-half of rolling, series of incredible Park overlooks.  Red Canyon, Ute Canyon, Fallen Rock, Artists Point, Monument Canyon & Grand View.  National Park eye-candy, a scenic wonder.

Unfortunately, just not feelin’ it today.  Those first 4 miles of UP sucked the life outta my legs.  Dublin Sunday, Fruita 6 days later – head demons rattled loud/mentally spent.  DNF, DNF.  I’ve got nothing to prove, I’ve finished 100.  Lick my wounds, run another day.

Except

No vehicle available at the Half Marathon mark (Aid Station 6).  Volunteers asked I go on to mile 17 (next Aid Station).  Seriously?  Begrudgingly, restarted my jog/slog pace.  Sooner I get to [mile] 17, sooner I could warm up & go home.

Except

Assigned Volunteer asked a bystander to watch Aid Station 7.  Guy had a truck but no idea how to get to the Finish (Rim Rock Road was closed to the Public today).  He tried to explain.  Seriously?  Wasn’t listening, wouldn’t even refill my hydration bottles.  Head demons too strong this day – next 3 miles without water, not gonna help matters.  Ugly unfriendly headspace.

Refueled at 20.  No one quits a race at mile 20.  Runner in orange, young gal in sweats.  Back-n-forth, we 3 swapped places.  Mile 23, I reached the Aid Station last.  Worst-to-first by mile 25.  Fruita City Limits.  Colorado River.

Mile to go.  UP the overpass, jogged its downside into town.  Quarter-mile to FINISH & I did, I finished.

Today my 4-year RUNniversary, 48 consecutive months marathoning.  Most unlikely of marathon finishes, angry HOURS spent planning my running retirement – literally tried to quit TWICE.  Never ever again.  Well….never ever for 2 weeks.  LOL>

 

Rim Rock Run 2017
Fruita, Colorado

 

Marathon Results
125  K R Haga  Louisville CO  5:43:12

 

 

 

Set my watch-alarm – no need today – woke early to other 4WD vehicles struggling up the boulder-littered trek to Bridal Veil Falls.  Cool morning temps, dusky predawn sky.  Telluride HIKE day!

Mile drive (from last night’s sleepover).  Parked; positioned third roadside.  Spots fill fast (& ranger patrolled).  You’re late, you hike – an additional 2 ½ miles UP.  Crawled thru the gate at Bridal Veil Powerhouse (built in 1907 to power Smuggler-Union Mine).  Would snap a pic of the Falls on the hike return.  Tall evergreen (pine & spruce), lush undergrowth (fern & wildflower) AND….waterfalls.

Would see more waterfalls on today’s trek than any previous Colorado hike in my life.

Relatively short 5.4 miles roundtrip.  Blue Lake wasn’t my original hike destination – one left turn when I should have veered right, log-crossed Bridal Veil Creek.  Bluest blue water, absolutely no regrets.

Open meadows of wildflower, canyon wall backdrop.  Waterfall, waterfall, waterfall.  WOW.  Top 10 Colorado hike location.  If only Telluride were closer – so many hikes, so little time.  I see a week-long backpack adventure in my summer future.

Unleashed Ro early on (slept much of the drive home).  Up trail, down trail.  Run, run, run.  Poised high on rocks above, bouncing thru field flowers trying to flush out wildlife (chipmunk & grouse).  Happy dog, happy life ❤

Altimeter topped at 12,400ft.  Mountain walls reflected off Blue Lake’s quiet clear surface.  Crazy beautiful.

Dropped off trail.  Waded thru a tall cascading waterfall, explored an abandoned mining cabin.  Bridal Veil Falls tourist shot snapped – check, done.  $3 shower at Town Park in Telluride, money well spent 🙂  SUPER FUN DAY!

Left early/drove 7 hours straight to avoid next day’s holiday traffic crunch.  Reward?  Monday cookout at Ash & Tom’s.  Burgers & pasta salad [black bean burger/non-cow eaters].  Afternoon’d w/ daughter at the family puzzle du jour.   Happy Labor Day 2017!

 

 

Blue Lake Trail-Telluride

 

 

Louisville ⇨Valley View Hot Springs

Labor Day: unofficial start to Autumn.  For us snow lovers…almost made it thru another summer 🙂

3 day holiday.  Staying ‘local’ this year, road trippin’ Colorado’s Western SlopeTrip highlight: hiking in scenic Telluride – yep, another high-elevation ski town mountain-etched by massive canyons [the San Juans].  Aspen, Crested Butte & now Telluride – been an outstanding Colorado summer.

Friday 5pm.  Work ends, holiday begins.

Packed, picked up the Pup, on the road by 6 – along with most of my Front Range neighbors.  Argh.  Camping holiday.  Needed to check into my site by 10pm.  Valley View folks were mighty nice to hang around ‘til 20-past.  Otherwise would have started my adventure with a hefty night hike, parked on the wrong side of a chained cattle-gate.  As it was, struggled to pitch-tent in the dark.  Mighty remote.

Woke Saturday morning to quiet Colorado paradise.  Dry arid landscape, mix of evergreen & cacti.  Natural hot springs tucked between the Great Sand Dunes & Gunnison National Park.  Hiked thru fields of sunflower, lapsing 30-45 minutes at each naturally heated pool.  Meadow Pond, Waterfall Pond, Top Pond, Party Pond…whole lotta warm-water bubbling.

Pupster begged, no one around.  I relented.  Happy dog-paddling pup.

Valley View Hot Springs ⇨Telluride

 

Our most remote ponds are up a short, but steep trail. Most take about twenty minutes to trek the ¼ mile trail to the Top Ponds. Guests agree these peaceful, bubbling warm waters make it the trip well worthwhile. It’s a series of three (almost four) ponds flowing one into the next. The top-most pond fills about two feet deep and offers ample space to find a corner to one’s self. Its water cascades down to join more warm source water beneath a large tree providing shade throughout the day. Water temperatures vary dramatically as these ponds mix with more snow-melt and runoff than our other sources. In recent months, temperatures ranged from 98°F to 107°F.

Showered, on the road by 1pm.  Quick detour in Villa Grove.  Small 3-building town – but one of those buildings advertised pie.  Never miss an opportunity for pie ❤

3 hours of winding byway.  Poncha Springs, Gunnison, fuel/sanity break in Montrose.  Ridgway, Placerville, Sawpit, Telluride.  Campground, no room in the Inn.  Soooo many people…Telluride Film Festival.  Who knew?

Opted to drive toward Bridal Veil Falls – tomorrow morning’s hike launch.  Mile-half of dirt & boulders (4WD trek).  Secured an overnight pull-off, clouds grayed, evening skies opened.  RAIN.  Car-camped high above Telluride.  Nite 2 elevation: 10,000ft+.

 

 

 

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