Summiting a 14,000 foot peak is no small feat. To us natives, bagging a “14er” as we call them is a right of passage; many of us seeking to one day summit all 54 of these majestic Colorado peaks.
Weekend warriors and veterans alike tend to set the goal of hiking at least one of these Goliaths a year however, many tend to overlook the most important part of preparing for the summit: training!
With cooler temps, mountain snowfall and winter right on our heels, many new trail runners are wondering if and how they can continue enjoying the trails throughout the season. Well, I am here to tell you that now is not the time to resign to the boring old “dreadmill”.
Trail running during the winter is possible and in fact, can be quite the adventure.
It’s been a hot week here in Colorado. With temperatures topping out over 100 degrees, many forgo their outdoor training and recreational activities. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat this summer so you can head out into the great outdoors without overheating. Please share yours too in the comment section below.
Hike, run and ride:
Deer Creek Canyon Park Lakewood The trails in this park are diverse, challenging and rewarding. From the lot/trailhead, take the Plymouth Creek trail to the Plymouth Mnt trail around to the Scenic View trail lookout for a tough 6 mile out and back route. For most of the route you will be in rich pine forests.
Windy Saddle Park: Morrison Park at the Lookout Mountain Nature center and take the Lookout Mountain trail to the Beaver Brook trail. This trail boasts 9 miles (one way) of exciting terrain including aspen groves, open fields, thick forests and some rocky scramble sections. The higher elevation offers cooler mountain air for an exceptional long run or hike (no bikes allowed).
Lair o’ the Bear Park Morrison From the lot/main trailhead, take the Bear Creek trail. The first 1.5 miles is a wide, flat dirt path along the creek and then you begin to climb on single track into a thick pine forest. The entire trail is 6.2 miles one way and is shaded most of the time. This is a beautiful trail system close to town that provides an opportunity for a great long run, hike or ride!
With warmer weather here and summer approaching, rattlesnakes are on the move and making their way out of hibernation dens.
Both bull and rattle snake encounters have been on the rise and in fact, just this past weekend several hikers in Colorado Springs suffered rattlesnake bites.
Due to this news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading out on the trails. However, rattlesnake bites in Colorado are fairly rare.
I grew up in the foothills right in the heart of rattlesnake country and in my 30+ years (my parents started me young) of hiking, trail running and mountain biking these trails I’ve encountered on average 1-2 rattlers a year and have been struck at just twice (one time in my teens I was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the warning sound of the rattler just to the side of the trail).
With my firsthand experience and work with Jefferson county rangers and open space experts, I’ve compiled a list of all you need to know about how to avoid rattlesnake encounters and what to do if you do see one of our slithering friends.
Depending on who you talk to whether it be a city dweller or suburbanite the definition of a “trail run” can sound quite different. Does a flat gravel trail winding through a city park for example “count” as a trail run?
In my definition there are several distinctive factors that determine whether or not you are a true trail runner, take the test below to find out where you stand and then check out our tips for finding new trails and terrain appropriate trails for your fitness and comfort level below:
When most people set New Years resolutions they set goals like “eat healthier”, “lose 5lbs” or “exercise more often”. While quite vague, these goals also lack a certain element of excitement to me.
My resolutions take a different shape, in the form of various adventures and races I’d like to accomplish before the year’s end. I’ve compiled a list of my 2018 bucketlist goals and I’d love to hear about yours too! Please post links to any events or adventures in the comments section below.
April 20th, 2018
I’ve got a bone to pick with this race. I completed the run back in 2015 when the storm of a century blew in the night before the event and was forced to trudge through ankle deep, thick, heavy mud and an anticlimactic course. The route was changed last minute due to the poor conditions and so we were unable to experience the adventurous terrain and views as advertised. The original course included a 1500 foot steep and rocky ascent complete with a section where a rope was included, right down my alley!
I finished in 4th place just seconds behind a women that I was neck to neck with for the last mile. I want to go back this year with an improved strategy, experience the full course and go for a top finish!
My race report last year HERE.
Taking my son up his first 14er!
I did my first 14er when I was about 9 years old. My dad took us up Mount Sherman, a great peak for beginners and kids as it is never too steep nor technical. My 6 year old Wyatt has been on many adventures with us (including several 14ers in womb), has done several 5k’s and kids trail races and is excited and ready to train to summit this same peak over the summer. We will take the West Slopes from Iowa Gulch route which is an easy class 2 with just over 2000 feet elevation gain over 4.5 miles. I can’t wait to share this amazing experience with him!
Boulder, Colorado is where I discovered my love for trail running. In previous posts you can read about my many misadventures spending countless hours exploring the myriad of trails, more times than not getting lost while learning how to navigate and master steep terrain and long technical climbs and descents.
This summer, I’d like to complete the Boulder Skyline traverse where you summit 5 of the most iconic peaks rising from the flatirons and beyond. This run is a doozy, at 16.4 miles in length, you will gain over 6,300 vertical feet. It is not an adventure for the faint of heart, or weak of legs for that matter. The run is best done with a running buddy or group as you will need a shuttle (leaving one vehicle at either Mnt Sanitas or South Mesa trailhead) and make sure to pack plenty of snacks, water, first aid and toilet paper.
If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness (aka Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS), you know that it is not to be triffled with.
Nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath. All classic symptoms of this condition that can impact anyone at any time, regardless of physical fitness or acclimatization status.
With the popularity of high mountain races (Leadville trail run series, Spartan Breckenridge obstacle course races, etc) and summit chasing, learning how to prevent and mitigate AMS can mean a more enjoyable and successful experience.
Check out our 5 helpful tips for your next big adventure into the high mountains: