I ran 2:13:03, a personal best in this, my 20th Half Marathon. This is the 4th year in a row doing this event. The weather this year was just like it was in 2008 and 2009 - sunny and warm.
I used the Jeff Galloway run/walk method, mostly sticking to running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute, adjusting sometimes for the hills and water stations. I often extended running down the hills. My slowest mile was 11:10 and my fastest was 9:01, which was the last mile.
Here is the GPS track, at Every Trail, as usual. My tracks from 2009 and 2010 are also at Every Trail.
I took my camera along to give some idea of how beautiful this route is.
This was an easy 6 mile walk as a good warmup for the Estes Park Half Marathon tomorrow morning. I stopped at the Glacier Basin Campground webcam for about 12 minutes, long enough to be sure it would capture an image of me standing there. I pre-arranged the timing with Paula and I thank her for capturing the image and sending it to me.
Sprague Lake was very quiet, with just a couple of fly fisherman out. The switchback trail up to Bierstadt is very sunny and was pretty warm, but it turned cool once I got to the lake. Bierstadt has much more snow around it than I remember from past years; in fact it's usually snow-free this week.
This photo album also has a few pictures from yesterday, including one of the actual webcam and the satellite dish that's used to get the image to the Internet.
This is a fun hike with lots of views of the surrounding mountains, especially to the south and west. The forest is not that thick, so there are good views from most parts of the trail. I ended up walking with the people I met yesterday at Estes Cone, John and Stephanie, and it was fun to talk to them. I hiked this trail last year and I'm inclined to hike it just about every time I visit.
Afterwards, I spent a few minutes at the entrance to the Glacier Basin campground, which has a webcam that updates every 10 minutes. I enjoy this webcam when I'm at home and it was fun to see it in person and also talk to the rangers at the booth -- they see a number of people coming to see the webcam.
There are a few other webcams in the Park
Estes Cone is 11,006 feet in elevation and a 3.2 mile hike from the Longs Peak Ranger Station. This was the first time I've hiked this peak. It has great views in all directions, especially Longs Peak, the Front Range mountains and Twin Sisters. This was 6.4 miles total and took about 4 1/2 hours. I met a nice couple from Oklahoma (Send me an email if you see this!) while on the summit and had a great time talking to them.
The last 7/10 mile is a very steep uphill but the trail is very well marked with rock cairns. There was no snow on that 7/10 except a couple of patches at the Storm Pass junction. There were a lot of snow patches down in Moore Park and near the Eugenia Mine.
I've uploaded the GPS track to Every Trail.
Today's hike was 9.7 miles. This is a popular loop hike, though it requires walking about 1 mile on the access road at the beginning or the end of the hike. I started at the Cub Lake trailhead because I wanted to make sure the bridge over the river wasn't flooded.
It took me about an hour to get to Cub Lake. Just past the lake, I talked to two hikers who had taken the wrong trail at The Pool junction, thinking they were going to Fern Falls. (See the "sign of confusion" in the photo album). Further along, I encountered two more hikers who had done the same thing, and when I got near the Pool junction, three more hikers who had just started up the wrong way. I think the sign is clear enough, but three different groups getting it wrong seems like a trend. A couple of confirmation signs wouldn't be a bad idea.
From The Pool, the trail heads up steadily to Fern Falls, with water running down the trail in the few places. The falls were as full of water as always.
I had heard there was a fair amount of snow on the trail to Fern Lake, so decided I would check it out and turn around if it got too deep or too tiring. It started out as patchy snow and eventually continuous snow, with a few downed trees blocking the trail, but it was pretty well packed down and not too tedious until the last 10 minutes or so. There are several feet of snow at the lake.
Heading back down to Fern Falls, there were a lot of people making their way up to Fern Lake, including a few planning on fishing. Some of them were the folks I'd turned around on the wrong turn to Cub Lake. One of them was pretty tired and decided to turn around after hearing about how much snow there was. He was a bit short on water but I had plenty of extra to give him. I finished the hike at 1:30 pm, having started at 8 am. A very sunny and beautiful day.
I've uploaded the GPS track to Every Trail.
I've never seen the Bighorn sheep before. Cars aren't supposed to stop along this section of road, but the one in front of me did, so I snapped the quick photo.
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