Zen On Dirt

14’er bikepacking and running: Friends, Huron, and rain

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The weather forecast for this entire trip had looked pretty dire. At the beginning, it forecasted rain and storms for the first few days then clearing skies. Eventually, the clearing sky forecast was replaced by more rain. Really, Scott and Kurt couldn’t have picked much worse of a week for the trip, but schedules dictated the travel window, and they had minimal leeway in terms of sitting out storms.

I guess that’s part of the magic of trips like this. Rain or shine, you’ve gotta try. While I’m all for beautiful sun and warm temperatures, there’s something amazing about being up on mountains in unsettled weather.

Trish and Dana showed up at 6:30, the boys were up and eating breakfast as we started up the trail. I was pretty excited to have company for the peak and lucky for the timing to work out so well. Moisture dripped off every surface, we all bundled up in tights and long sleeves for uphill running, a testament to the ambient temperature. Me? I was pretty stoked to try out the new hot pink tights that I’d bought in Buena Vista the day before.

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The higher we got, the colder it got, the worse the weather looked. Clouds swirled around the peaks, the Three Apostles, Missouri Mountain, La Plata. This was the heart of the Sawatch, a corner where I’d never been.

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It was downright freezing at the top while we posed for the obligatory summit shot. Our hands were heading down the path towards numb by the time we’d stopped ogling the surrounding peaks.

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Those tights are Patagucci. I can’t imagine what someone was thinking when they bought them…I love ’em.

We didn’t dawdle long, having a clear view of the weather that was closing in from all sides.

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Down!

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We ran into Kurt and Scott still pushing up, nearing the end of the part of the trail that they’d actually be able to ride down. They claimed that they’d heard us talking and giggling since the top of the peak. I have no idea what they were talking about, we were taking our mountain running very seriously.

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I’m not sure if we warned them about the impending weather…they’d find out soon enough.

We made short work of the 3.5 mile trail, running mostly from the rain that was now steadily sprinkling down. The mist all around us increased.

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‘This is where unicorns live!’ we exclaimed, the tundra alight with the reds and oranges that make the presence of fall known. It was going to snow on the peaks during this storm, no doubt about that. Whether it would snow enough to put an end to this trip, we wouldn’t known until the following morning.

We hugged quick goodbyes in the wet parking lot and I made a beeline to the tent. Under two sleeping bags with a podcast from Dirtbag Diaries cued up on my phone, I snuggled in to wait for the boys, wondering how they were faring with the weather, glowing from the good energy of our run. The rain pitter pattered on the tent. This bikepacking and running peaks thing, I thought, it’s pretty rad.

The boys returned shorty after being turned around by winter-like conditions. We drank a hot cup of coffee before breaking camp and shoving off down the road, back towards Winfield, down Clear Creek to the Colorado Trail, and then on to Twin Peaks.

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Our timing was impeccable. Rain splattered against the restaurant window as we sat down, Hope Pass and the surrounding peaks obscured by the storm that seemed to have settled in for the long haul.

Was it snowing up there? Probably.

Did we want to camp in it? Probably not.

We’ve all retired from unnecessary suffering and not a peep of complaint was heard when we decided to get a room for the night at the inn, a former brothel. The night was spent reading about the history of each of the women who used the various rooms for work throughout the boom days of Twin Peaks while watching the rain pour down outside.

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The following day also called for afternoon storms. If the trip was going to keep going, it was going to be another early wake up. What we’d find when the sun came up, we had no idea.

But we were going to try.

 

 

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