Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mountain Running Byers Peak: A Final Trail Run for the Season

Mountain Running Byers Peak: A Final Trail Run For The Season 

A couple days ago we decided to run Byers Peak. This is a local peak, and with some of the snow from the last storm melted, we thought we would give it a go. It is always nice to close out the trail running season with one more peak under your belt. Byers Peak is a perfect one. The trail is well marked, its steep, and the views are spectacular.

Looking back down the snow covered ridge... 

With the snows up top, there was not a single person on the entire mountain or in the surrounding woods. Mountain running late in the season like this is just perfect. Despite the 1-2 feet of snow on the final mile long ridge, we managed to do this run in 2:37 roundtrip. 

The ubiquitous summit shot... 

The numbers for those who care....

Distance Roundtrip: ~8.6 miles roundtrip
Start Elevation: ~9,900 feet
High Point: ~12,804 feet
Total climbing and descending: ~3,808 feet
Difficulty: Medium
Other People Factor: Minimal Time: 2 - 5 hours depending on how often you stop to enjoy the views.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Trail Running the High Lonesome Trail

Trail Running The High Lonesome Trail: Sweet Running Through Forests And Meadows In The Mountains

The other day Tara and I decided to run the High Lonesome Trail. This is a really good trail that follows part of the Continental Divide Trail and passes through numerous high-mountain meadows and forests. We ran the trail from Devil's Thumb Park to Meadow Creek Reservoir and back. You can keep going all the way to Monarch Lake to the north, or you can cruz up Devil's Thumb Pass on the south. Since we have been doing a lot of longer runs, we wanted something a little mellow. Plus, there is snow up on the pass making any running up there difficult.

The trail is fairly easy, as it meanders along from north to south at the base of the Divide. The numerous mountain meadows or "parks" are beautiful, and worth a quick stop at each one. The trail sees little traffic, so you are likely to be the only runner out that day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Trail Running St. Louis Lake: Peaceful Mountain Running in the Proposed Williams Fork Wilderness

Trail Running St. Louis Lake: Peaceful Mountain Running In The Proposed Williams Fork Wilderness 

Early this morning Tara and I set out for a nice long mountain trail run. We decided to cruz up to St. Louis Lake up high on the shoulders of St. Louis Peak in the proposed Williams Fork Wilderness. This is a beautiful area that is surrounded by forests and lesser-known mountains, with little or no traffic. Approaches are long and convoluted, so your chances of seeing people are pretty slim - except on the highest of traffic days. St. Louis Peak, Bills Peak, Bryers Peak, and other bumps compose this massive uplift of mountains that has only 2 real access points. The St. Louis Creek road is the one we chose this time. 

The actual "trailhead" after 3 miles of running... 

Drive 7.5 miles from Fraser along the St. Louis Creek road until it dead ends at a gate. The gate blocks all motorized traffic into the St. Louis Creek drainage. From here, run (or bike) for 3 miles as you climb up to the actual "trailhead." Continue along the trail for another 1.5 miles to a branch, at which point you can chose to either go right to St. Louis Lake or left to St. Louis Pass. You can link up a bunch of trail from here, and eventually wind your way back to Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Jones Pass or the Williams Fork drainage. 

The turn-off to St. Louis Lake 

The Lake is a small, serene tarn lake in a floating valley. Enjoy the solitude as you will be the only other person in the area most likely. The view from the far side of the lake back down the St. Louis Creek drainage is stellar. On this morning (a Saturday no less) I saw zero people. It took 2:22 hours with some time spent at the lake to eat and rest the feet. 

Miles of empty trails to run... 

The quiet and empty St. Louis Lake - a perfect trail destination 

The numbers for those who care....

Beginning Elevation: ~10,240 feet
High Point: ~11,600 feet
Total climbing and descending: ~2,720 feet
Mileage: ~13 miles roundtrip
Other People Factor: minimal
Time: 2-5 hours depending on how often you stop to enjoy the views...