My friend Pete is a phenomenal trail runner and ultramarathoner. His many running accomplishments and speedy race times speak for themselves.
But to me, what says even more about Pete's passion for the trails is the way he eagerly encourages others (including people like me, who run much, much slower than he does!) to come along and join in the fun. I've learned over the past few months that when Pete invites you to participate in one of his adventures, you need to say YES! or you're bound to miss something special.
So when an e-mail came in from Pete about his planned "Greyrock Six Pack," I knew I wanted to be a part of it. His plan - to get in a lot of miles and elevation gain on a technical trail, as a part of his training for Hardrock - was to summit the Greyrock Trail six times in one day, for a total of around 45 miles. I had some other plans in town on Saturday, but planned to head out early in the morning, to get in one or two loops of the six-pack.
Kristel and I drove up Poudre Canyon in the dark to be on time for the planned 5 a.m. start. In the parking lot, we met up with Pete, Nick, Sam, Bard, Victoria, and Steph. It was cold, dark, and windy, but hey! That's how great adventures tend to begin.
We headed up the trail, doing a mixture of running and scrambling, given all the rocks. Victoria told us about the time when she and her husband timed their hike a bit close and had to come down the trail in the dark, and I was totally amazed. Given all the rocks, I thought it was challenging enough to climb with a headlamp! Before long, Kristel, Victoria and I found ourselves in a meadow where the Greyrock Trail meets up with the Greyrock Meadows Trail. This is where the fun REALLY began.
You get to scramble up between some boulders, which start small and gradually get larger as the trail goes on. And then, you get to shimmy along this boulder, with fantastic views!
Once we neared the top, the wind really started to howl. Any time I tried to stand up, I'd feel a gust of wind almost pick me up, and I'm a pretty solid human being! The thought crossed my mind as we climbed:
I've gotta hold tight here -- it would be a pretty pathetic distinction to become the "First American Woman Blown Off the Top of Greyrock."
Heads down, crawling on all fours, we headed toward the summit.
It had been dark most of the way up, so I took this photo of Greyrock itself on the way back down. Looks pretty small, and not very high, from this vantage point!
In the end, Kristel and I did only one loop (Victoria headed back up the trail for some more fun!) but even our one loop had the "feel" of a great adventure, given all the wind and vertical ascent. Pete did indeed finish a successful "six-pack": 45.25 miles (15,361 vertical feet) in 13:59:50 (see profile below). Amazing. Can't wait to see what adventure he dreams up next!
It was chilly, windy, crazy fun. See you on the trail!