Old, abandoned house - probably from the gold rush days. These old houses intrigue me, as does that whole era. Reminds me a lot NE Iowa where I spent a lot of my childhood.
In all honesty, I really didn't know if I was going to climb to the top of Mt. Quandary, it just happened that way. Twin #2 and his friend wanted to go climb a 14er and fortunately was able to land my aunt's condo in Breckenridge for the night (thanks, J :) ), so Mt. Quandary was picked since it's close proximity to town. I figured I'd maybe just trail run some of the trails, you know - for my ultra training - but I had no plan and I just set off. The boys wanted to climb up the back side of this mountain, the more technical side (that kid will put me in an early grave, I swear!!) so I just blindly set out on my own. I knew this trail was only about 3.5 miles to the top but I didn't think I'd actually GO to the top (3800' up in 3.5 miles, ugh), so I made a PB sandwich, tucked it in my Camelbak, and off I went.
Here I go, let's get this ultra training underway!
It wasn't long after I took off before I realized I was not on the trail, I was on the road, RUNNING, but never did see the trail head. Note to Kovas: I easily get lost! Eventually, I asked someone where it was and I had gone about 3/4 of a mile too far. Opps. Get on the trail and I'm enjoying the dirt and watching for tree roots so I don't trip. 2nd not to Kovas: I am not very coordinated.
Pretty soon, the trail turns rocky. Uck. And STEEP. Double uck. I'm really not able to RUN the entire time now and resorted to the run/walk process I did on Pikes Peak when I ran that race last year. Ok, whatever, I was still getting in a workout!
Holy Crap!!! About 1.5 miles in, there isn't even a trail, it's just solid boulder field ROCKS!! I seriously think to myself I need to stop and go back down. I'm not even close to running now ... stumbling would probably be a better fitting word. The rocks were NOT fun, they hurt my feet, and they were loose so when you stepped on them, they slide all over making you lose your balance. And fall. I seriously thought I should turn around and head back for safer ground.
But then I saw views like this and ahhhhhh.....I can't turn around. yet.
Oh good lord, the boulders are getting larger and it becomes a climb and my HR has to be hitting 350! I got way off the so-called "trail" when I saw some people coming down way off to the side of where I was. I slipped on a rock and I totally wanted to bag the thing and go back down. But.....something was nagging at me and that stupid, "I don't quit" of marathon's past was suddenly at the forefront of my mind. "GO AWAY!!!" But it couldn't and somehow I decided I needed to continue on, I had to get to the top. I stopped for a few minutes and ate half my PB sandwich and while I was sitting there, some guys coming down stopped and talked to me for a bit and told me there were some mountain goats just up ahead. That got me moving....I felt a little burst of energy and just before the ridge, I spotted them: two of the most magnificent mountain goats!
Literally, I was like 10' from these guys. So very, very cool!
I'm not sure how I made it, but somehow I did - and the total geek I am, got the ole Garmin to prove it - 4.29 miles (with the added .75 miles lost at the start - and 14, 287' up in the air). I've RUN up Mt. Evans (14, 114') and Pikes Peak (14, 255') but this was by far more difficult. The scrambling over boulder fields really did me in! Thank GOD for that PB sandwich is all I can say (I was FAMISHED when I got back to the condo and ate about 8 billion calories - man I've never been so hungry)!!
At the top!
Total dork pose!
My pals the mountain goats, still hanging out on the ridge. I felt bad disturbing them, but they were right on the "trail" (I use that term loosely - there wasn't much of a trail up this high) and I had nowhere else to go.
Notice the snow on some of the peaks? Though Denver's been having unseasonably WARM temps in the mid 90's (a good 20 degrees warmer than norm), the high country is starting to see signs summer is over.
Donning one battle wound (that I can publicly show....the other is a monster black bruise on my arse - owie!), I made it down alive in about 5 hours and 20 mins (which included the 3/4 mile lost and the 10 minutes on the top). I ran a tiny bit when I got back to the dirt trail, but honestly my feet hurt sooooo bad from those boulders, even walking was excruciating. I got a lot of toughening up before I tackle that 50 but Mt. Quandary was a good start. Man, I hate to brag but I am blessed to live in such beautiful country, with mountains that want to murder me....and make me stronger for that task at hand (Ahem, I paid my time when I lived in Alabama for a few years).
Week 1 complete! (and my heel held up "OK" - a little rough going down that beast, but not excruciating. YAY).
The rest of the pics below are taken on a bike ride the next day around Vail Pass. The bike was heaven for my wounded feet. Enjoy a little bit of heaven from Colorado to you!
Running: 28 miles
Total 2010 miles: 1246.21
Total 14er's climbed: 1
Swim: 1 mile
Bike: 26 miles
Wt Training: 1 1/2
HCC: 1 1/2