In the (Almost) High Country

We are currently in Kearney, NE, not camping, because it is ridiculously hot outside. We are returning east from a brief sortie to Colorado for a family reunion. Most of the time was spent in a palatial chalet tucked on the hill above Steamboat Springs. As there was no rock climbing nearby, Jen and I turned our energies to running, putting together four consecutive days of trail work above 8,000 feet. Not bad for a couple of eastern low-landers.

Above LaramieWe arrived in Laramie, WY after two days on the road. Our family there showed us a short trail that led to a ridge above town, so before anyone stirred on Sunday morning, we went out for a short run. It was nothing special, but with the Snowy Mountains in the distance, and cool weather, it was a fine start to the trip.

SteamboatA day later, we were in Steamboat Springs and Jen and I went out to explore the trails that criss-crossed the ski slopes. We spent most of the time on a service road that gradually climbed the mountain, alternating between hiking and running (most of the singletrack was limited to bicycles only). We did find one hiking trail that gradually wound its way toward the lodge, but after realizing that trail would leave us several miles from home (and many hundreds of feet lower than home) without water, we turned around and hiked and ran back to the service road, which was then bombed back to the chalet.

The next day, we decided to head to Mad Creek, and hike/run up to the barn with the rest of the family. We hiked and ran up the initial climb from the valley, then ran the buffed out trail to lovely open meadow along Mad Creek. After much lollygagging with the family in the creek, I bombed back down the trail solo and took a nice dip in the creek while waiting for everyone else.

Finally, we finished the trip with a hike toward Long Lake. With 2500 feet of elevation gain over about 3.5 miles, this was most definitely a hike. We kept a fairly strong pace through the opening 1.75 miles, spending some time at Upper Fish Creek Falls. A few us ventured further up the valley, stopping about a mile and half short of the lake itself, due a lack of time and forbidding clouds pouring over the ridge. Jen and I took off ahead of the rest of the gang, and despite our promises “not to run at all” we picked up speed on the descent and blew out of quads on the steep trail. Good fun, and we made it back to the van just as the rain started.

And now, we’re headed home, being a bit more leisurely this time instead of pushing the pace. More photos will be forthcoming.