Well, last night was just a hike. Today was a trail run on Peaks Trail. A sweating, wheezing, huffing, trudging, and cursing trail run. A little over two hours and close to 10 miles of technical trails that wound through the mountains from Breckenridge to Frisco, CO. But I was rewarded with some of the most beautiful sights that I have seen so far on this adventure for all of my hard work. At times it was so overwhelming that I had to stop running. I would throw up my arms in the air and slowly turn around looking at the towering trees with the sunlight sifting through the boughs at the tops that fell in dappled light onto the rocks and roots at my feet. I have been so lucky to have had some amazing workouts that really are not workouts, but more like moments of awakening. Being able to see things in a new light and in a new way. In a way that I am sure that I have seen before but that I just never noticed. The smell of the pine needles under my foot became perfume. The warmth of the sun on my skin was like an embrace from a constant friend. The sound of the babbling water in the stream that ran along the trail was like a calming whisper from a parent. The colors of the wild flowers were more vivid than gemstones. The flavor of the pomegranate mojito after the run was exceptional! I am not sure if there are any more words that I could type that would give the full scope of this trail run, so I will put it all in a photo essay....
I would have to take the gondola to the trail head.
Since it was Saturday, there were lots of other runners, hikers, and mountain bikers on the trail.
Rocks and tree roots were constant on the trail.
As well as little foot bridges that crossed mountain streams.
There was a series of locks to direct the flow of the stream to two different destinations.
Emerging from the tree line to survey the landscape...
and running through an open area where the tree beetles had destroyed the pines.
Looking down the trail to where my legs would carry me...
and looking back up the trail to see where I had come from.
Small yellow butterflies flitted around the path in the sunlight.
The Rainbow Lake
Nearing the end of my journey.
Enjoying an cold plunge for my foot in the Snake River.
Tomorrow is one last bike ride over a mountain pass before I have to pack the bike back into the bike box and take it to the FedEx office. I am a little sad that my visit to the Rocky Mountains is coming to an end. I am even sadder that I may not be coming back next year.
Last year when I made the trip, I did not know what to expect. I had been to Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs but only for a weekend at a time and I was usually busy with seminars and meetings that only left me time to take short runs around a conference center. My nine days in Breckenridge last year were eye opening. I did things that I never thought I could do. Like who in their right mind would take to the open road and pedal a bike up and over the Continental Divide and weather a hail storm on the way back down? Who would run up a mountain trail only to have to take shelter under some pine trees to get out of a thunder storm? I never thought that it would be me. Those experiences set the bar higher for me. It made the rides and runs in the heat and on the flat terrain of Texas seem almost too easy. Of course it is hard riding in the humidity and heat of the Gulf Coast of Texas, but compared to pedaling up a 7% grade for 4 miles, I was just as hot and sweaty.
This year my adventures have expanded to include other new experiences and yet there is still a sense of peace and calm that I have settled into at times that makes me forget work and my routine in Texas. I am not sure what next summer will hold for me. I may go to Europe again or possibly to the Grand Canyon. I would like to see Yosemite, and Yellowstone but I know that it will not be like the quiet trails here in Breckenridge.
Well, I need to get back to enjoying my last 36 hours in Breck.