Estes Park - Trail Running in Glacier Basin

trail-running

We've been going camping with this group of new friends from Boulder every month since we moved here, and it's been so great! Unfortunately for Morton, other people bring their dogs (he doesn't get along with other dogs right now) and Rocky Mountain National Park actually doesn't allow dogs on most trails. So we leave him home with one of our neighbors. 

Anyways, this past weekend, we were back up in Estes Park, camping in Glacier Basin. If you couldn't tell by my lack of frequent posts, the past several weeks have been a whirlwind. I was in NYC for work and then when I got back, Matt scheduled dinners every single night with missional community group leaders (he's the missional community director at our church, and he wants us to get to know all of the leaders). Everything has been fun, but also quite exhausting. Adding 40+ miles a week of training on top of that and I have had like zero down time. 

We drove up Friday after work. It's only an hour and a half away, so it's not a big deal to leave around 5. We were able to pitch our tent way before the sun went down. We stayed up chatting around the fire for a bit and then went to bed around 11pm, which is kinda late for us. There was a group of people planning to spend all day hiking the Mummy Range -- literally starting at 2am and coming back after dark. I was very much not into that. I needed to not feel like I was in a rush for the first time in weeks. Matt also needed a day to just chill. We made the decision to not hike at all and to just hang out at camp, hammock, read, and talk with friends. 

I had to get in 12 miles at some point, but I didn't want to have to wake up early for that. So I took my time. Woke up around 6:30am, cooked scrambled eggs with veggies on our little backpacking stove, drank a lot of water, and digested for a bit. Around 8am, I lathered up with sunscreen and kinda planned to go for an aimless out-and-back run. 

One of our friends had mentioned that there was a horse trail nearby if I didn't want to run on concrete roads, so I started there. The horse trail felt like running on a really soft beach, so I got off that as soon as I could and found myself on the road that all the busses shuttle people between trailheads. 

At about 2 miles, in I made the decision to go up the next reasonable sounding hiking path -- which ended up being Bierstadt Lake. The elevation gain wasn't crazy and it was only about 2 miles up and 2 miles back. 

Not going to lie, I stopped to take several breaks on the way up. I hadn't run such a steep and technical trail yet, and I didn't want to completely destroy myself, knowing that I needed to get a total of 12 miles in. 

bierstadt-lake-trail

I felt really tough running this route. I was passing people who were backpacking and hikers, just jamming out to Sylvan Esso all the way. The lake at the top was gorgeous -- so placid and not crowded at all. 

bierstadt-lake

I took a couple photos and then made my way back down. The rest of the miles, I logged on pavement. 

So this wasn't a crazy trail run, but it was kind of my first foray with real trails. And I absolutely loved it.