So I’ve hit a new level of crazy. Or is it badass? Not quite sure, either, to be honest with you. I had to come to Colorado for business so of course I managed to sneak in some pleasure while I’ve been here. Today, though, I’ve hit a new level. See, I managed to find a race to do this weekend while I’m out here. (Shocking, I know.) I’ll be doing Vacation Races Elk Double (a 5k followed by a half). In the meantime, though, my soul needed/wanted/craved some mountain time. Plus, let’s face it the chick who lives at sea level needs to get some altitude training in for #ECSUT.
At 0530 I headed out to get to the Long’s Peak trailhead parking area to head up to Chasm Lake. The good news is that there is lots of parking on the shoulder of the road once you get to the trailhead. See, Long’s Peak is one of Colorado’s classic 14ers. While my body was screaming out to do Long’s Peak (you technically can do it in a day) I also knew that doing Long’s Peak the day before a half and the day of a 5k was DEFINITELY not a good idea.
The hike up to Chasm Lake is a drop dead gorgeous one. It’s 4 miles of straight up followed by 4 miles of straight down. Worth every single step.
The trail starts around 9200 feet or so in elevation. For those tracking that’s ~9180 feet more than what I live at. The trail doesn’t lure you in with a nice gentle grade, either, oh no you start marching straight up hill right out the gate. The tree line is only about a mile or so up the trail, so be prepared with LOTS of sunscreen. I laughed a bit in my head when I saw what the trail looked like.
Even at my 0530 start I was running into folks coming DOWN the trail. A group of girls who started at midnight to summit Mount Meeker. A group of guys who summited Long’s Peak. Around mile 2 I heard the distinct sound of a trail runner. I shimmied over on the trail and a 65(ish) year old ultra runner passed me. Can I be him when I grow up? In typical Mountain Pony fashion I just kept turning my legs over. I passed a group of gentlemen heading up the trail.
“It got hot quick!”
“Well, that’s what happens when you are running up the trail. You training for an ultra?”
Can I just say how much that the first question they had wasn’t why are you doing this or why don’t you just slow down. Nope, it was that question. It made me smile wide.
“North Face Utah.”
“Oh Wasatch Mountains, you’re going to love it!”
The trail continued to climb way past the 10k, and even briefly flipping into the 11k range. I don’t think I’ve had a bigger smile on my face than doing that trail. The constant up, up, up. I was incredibly thankful I remembered my trekking poles. It helped not only with the up, but also to help absorb some of the impact on the way back down.
The lake comes after a small rock scramble (beware those with a fear of heights). It sits in the saddle, but is absolutely gorgeous. I was lucky enough to only share the spot with a couple from Wyoming. On the way back down I saw the long line of folks headed to the lake. Totally worth the 4 hours!
Now, off to take a nap before my 5k! Hey even Mountain Ponies need their rest!