Warrior Dash

I guess I should post something on a race I ran in a couple weeks ago.  My friend Daryl talked me into racing in Warrior Dash this year.  I went and watched a little last year and since then have wanted to do it.  Well he talked me into it .. but this was before I broke my arm.

When it came time to do the race, not only was I in a cast and hadn’t exercised in 5 weeks, but I had also just gotten out of a 22+ mile backpacking trip near Aspen, CO.  Of course this was my own doing, so I toughed it out and decided to run in the race I had already paid for.

Daryl, Myself, and Doug

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The race consisted of first running through a bunch of tires suspended by ropes, up over barricades, under barbed wire, trudging through a muddy pit under barbed wire, getting through a tangled web of bungee cords, crawling through some dark place, going over a teetering traverse, climbing over hurdles, crossing over a large net, climbing a cargo net then dropping off the other side, climbing up a rope, and finally jumping across some flames.

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After finishing the race (I was in the top 1/3 despite having a broken arm and not really trying hard to finish fast .. I just wanted to finish) I looked and felt like a freaking muddy mess.  After showering outside with 100+ other people (I stripped down to my underwear) and throwing away all my gym clothes. … they were too muddy and nasty to salvage.  I relaxed with some friends and had a couple beers to celebrate.

It was a really fun experience and I’m looking forward to next year.. where I’ll actually try to finish in a decent time .. and may even dress up!!

Snowmass Lake / Snowmass Mountain

Last week I took off some time to head to Aspen.  I wanted to hike to Conundrum Hot Springs  Snowmass Lake and summit Snowmass Mountain I arrived in Aspen on Tuesday right after sunset.  I had taken the back way up through Leadville and over Independence Pass which I would recommend to anyone.

My Mom and Brother arrived Wednesday night pretty late.  After taking some more pictures of the Maroon Bells on Thursday Morning we headed to the Conundrum Hot Springs trailhead.  It turns out that dogs (Zip) are not allowed in the upper valley by Conundrum Hot Springs and the campground.  So, we headed down to the Ranger station for the Aspen area to get some maps and figure out where to go next (They had previously told me over the phone that the only restrictions for dogs were you had to have them on a leash …. GRRR)

We decided on heading to Snowmass Lake and then summit Snowmass Mountain the second day.  So we headed to the Maroon – Snowmass trailhead up above Snowmass Village.  After getting our packs ready and getting Zip all geared up we headed out for the lake.

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The trail along the way was long (9 Miles) but sure was beautiful.  We passed quite a few horse riders and a few hikers but didn’t run into any large animals.   It was sort of disappointing to not see any Deer, Elk, or anything else.  We crossed over a big log jam and then headed up through some deep woods and after passing a few waterfalls we finally reached camp.

The views at the lake were stunning with the cliffs jutting out of the lake at the far end and some amazing peaks in the rear.  We set up camp and hung out until the mosquitos forced us to go in our tents.

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Friday Morning we woke up just before sunlight to try and get some decent pictures of the lake and peaks.  After grabbing some breakfast we made our way to the summit of Snowmass Mountain.  This turned out to be quite the damn hike.  The summit raises 3,000+ feet from the lake in under Two Miles.  So we were pretty much hiking straight up the mountain .. no switchbacks, no breaks.  Zip didn’t quite make it to the top.  He freaked out when the boulders got bigger than cars and the cracks between them you couldn’t see the bottom.  I had to push him up on a ledge then when I got up there with him he decided to run down where I had just pushed him up and kept wanting to go down.  So, I had to tie him up to a boulder and listen to him yelp as we left him for the summit.

After reaching the summit at last (Probably the hardest time I have had summiting a peak .. I was wore out) we headed back down to rescue my dog get back to camp.  We had tried to take a different route down but after making it part the way across a boulder field with most the boulders the sizes of cars … we decided to head back down the standard route.

That night and the next morning Zip was pretty much beat and dead to the world.  When I would try to get him to come out and be social he wouldn’t want to come out of the tent or get up.  When I would get him to get up he would sneak back to the tent and onto my sleeping bag as soon as I wasn’t paying attention.  I ended up feeling sorry for him and carrying his stuff back out for him.

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After getting back to the trailhead we found out that there had been a couple bear incidents over by where I had hiked back on Wednesday to take my pictures of Maroon Bells.  Two hikers were bit through their tents though there were no fatalities and both should be able to recover fine.

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Camping @ Maroon Bells

Last night I drove from Boulder up to aspen after a mostly full day of work.  I ended up going the back route that takes you up to Leadville and on some smaller back roads and drops you down into Aspen.  I beelined straight for the Maroon Bells campground.  I ended up getting the last campsite available.  Thank Goodness …. I didn’t want to spend all night searching for a place to sleep.

I woke up at 4 AM to start hiking around and finding a suitable place to take some sunrise pictures of the Maroon Bells.  I settled on the north edge of Crater Lake.  I didn’t pay enough attention and don’t quite like the distracting foreground on my shots.  I need to wake up and look at my screen a little more when setting up shots.  Oh well .. ya live and learn.

Here is my bad attempt at HDR.  Maybe when I get home I’ll give it more time.  I don’t like the unrealistic look to it.

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After hanging out there for a while I made my way back down to Maroon lake and wandered around there taking a few pictures.

Now I’m sitting at the Ink Coffee shop in Aspen letting my camera batteries recharge before I head into the wilderness tomorrow.

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