Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hardrock 2015. This time with captions

Overwhelming. I think that is one word I would use to describe the Hardrock experience. Even from an "outsider" perspective. This was my second year tagging along as a non-runner. Coming to Silverton in July as a non-runner is like going to Woodstock and not liking music. I try to duck my head and hope no one notices that my Salomon's have never gone faster than a steady trot...downhill... or that I do not own a Strava, Garmin, Ultimate Direction or anything made by Brooks. I can't help nor hide the fact I don't have a beard. I DID learn that my wearing jeans while hiking ALSO tags me as a mere "groupie." Good to know. I will up my wardrobe game, Colorado.
I probably shouldn't share, but they happened to be the SAME pair of jeans all week as well. Apparently I REALLY need to up my wardrobe game. (and have my brain in tow when I pack...)

Anyhow, back to Overwhelming. I think this word is why Cody chose to plaster his post with photos lacking captions and call it good on this one. It is why I took over a month to post my photos and experience. There is so much to describe, so much to take in, while there has also been so much already written and shared out there in social media land. What can we possibly add? 
This experience is also overwhelming in the obvious scenery department. My head was on the figurative swivel the entire week. Day or night, this place does not disappoint. But it can also make a post like this look like a free calendar from a funeral home. Almost too unreal to appreciate.

Overwhelming describes the amazing comraderie and community feel that happens during this one week in July. So many great, friendly, happy people, sharing an amazing adventure. I felt it even as a non-runner, as the girl with her head down and the dirty jeans. It is a pretty powerful event. 

Overwhelming could describe this post if I don't get to my point quickly, which would be photos. 
I came home with over 1,000 photos. Here are a few of my favorites.

Day 1 Silverton. This quaint band performs on Sundays, historic get up and all. For fun.

Silverton from the road to Durango.

Our home away from home for a week. You really can't beat this view.

The morning after we arrived, we wound our way up to Maggie Gulch. The plan was for Cody to run toward Pole Creek, then turn around and come find Tim and I as we picked our way up the trail. Knowing I am no where near in shape for hardcore hiking, Tim came along to get some time at Altitude and the cheer me up the hills. He did great at both of his jobs. And I made it farther than I expected.

AND: I hate blogger's photo arranging. Just putting that out there.  If the visual arrangment offends you, please contact your local representatives. Together we can make a difference...back to the story at hand...

Tim made sure I had a photo or two as well. Thanks Tim!

 After the adventure at Maggie, Cody took off for Cunningham on foot while Tim and I drove the long way around to bring Cody his lunch.

He beat us by a bit, so he was pretty anxious to get back at it. Fed, fueled and geared up for another jaunt, off he goes to Silverton. While, once again, Tim and I drove to Cody's intended finish line. This becomes a pattern for the week.

Day 2: Tim and Cody scouted the way in to Ouray. I met them and then we all checked out the Box Canyon Falls together. The weather was pretty sketchy all day, so we made plans as we went along.

Tim and Cody walking their way through Ouray.

Beautiful Ouray, Colorado, the Box Canyon trail and the river flowing through Box Canyon.

After the falls, the rain was coming down hard but off and on. Tim really wanted to see the route up Camp Bird, so we decided to drive it. 

This is what we found at the top. Along with a bit of sunshine. Cody decided that was all the encouragement he needed to go for Mt Sneffels. 

More food "a la cooler" on the tailgate, return of the rain and another fly by our pants decision. We chose to check out Little Molas Lake. Because... why not drive to the complete other side of the course and beyond? 

 Cody found himself on the
Colorado Trail, since his legs
were far from completely
destroyed. He had another go
and digging them a grave, but the rain set in again, day done

Day3. Wait, wow. Only Day 3. Marathon scrolling for you.
Grouse Gulch on the docket. Same schedule as Day 1. Tim and I, Cody covering as much ground as possible.

These are of the Grouse Gulch trail. The runners will come DOWN this on race day. (on the counter clockwise year at Hardrock)

Handies Peak. Literal High Point of Hardrock. 14k

 Making our way back down Grouse. Ready for some food!

Tim keeping his footing across a snow patch, These can be deeper than they appear. As I found out...

Good news. We are over halfway there. Day 4: Tim took the day off of any trailblazing since the race is oh, um... tomorrow. Probably a smart move. So Cody and I took on Grant Swamp Pass and Island Lake. Im feeling pretty confident in my hiking at Altitude now. So, I geared up for a fantastic day. It did not disappoint.

Cody and his running buddy Bryce. This is all I saw of them till past noon. I do not own the legs to keep up with these two. So I went my pace and made it. Eventually.

A shot of the trail right after I passed an 75+ aged gentleman carrying a modestly sized apartment's worth of stuff on his back. Told me he intended on staying a couple of days. I should hope so! And a view looking down to our campsite.

Island Lake. Probably one of the most photographed spot on the course. Grant Swamp is at the top of the scree field on the right side.

Going up! One step at a time.

From the top of Grant Swamp Pass. The runners will come up and over this pass during the race, then down the way I just trudged up.
Across Ophir valley to Oscar's Pass. The runners come over that ridge, down in to the valley and then back up Grant Swamp.

Look at that smile. This man is in heaven. 

Day 5, 6 and 7 Race Days and Driving Home. I did not get a ton of photos during this time period, mostly because I was busy gawking at all the amazing talent and being amazed at the incredible human beings that take on this monster. Everyone of them is super human. Tim did fantastic, finishing in 37 hours. Huge PR and great time for all. Here are a few from race day(s) You may not be interested in many of these photos if you don't follow Ultrarunning very carefully. I have received a careful and thorough education from my dedicated husband. I am so lucky. Either way, you can scroll to the bottom for some Moose. 

In the red is Killian Jornet, the winner and new record holder. If you don't know his name, he is worth looking up.
 In fact, almost every single face in this line up is worth looking up.

 Here comes Tim! Good luck Tim!
 The line of people who signed up for this run was longer than you would expect for such voluntary torture. A testament to what an amazing thing this Ultrarunning sport is.
 Some of the front runners at Arrasta Gulch. I'm not going to name them all since you either will already know their names, or you have no clue. Me pointing them out helps no one. ha.
Cunningham Aid Station

 A few of the front runners splashing through the river crossing at Cunningham.

Got something in the way of my shot . I was sad to have marred such epic splashes.

 Tim taking is easy getting across.

 Tim as he makes his way through the friendly and helpful aid station.

Grouse Aid Station.

 Tim Running in to Grouse from the switchbacks I highlighted earlier.

 And if you are still with me. I am actually really impressed. Truly and honestly. You deserve a reward for your attention span and strength of scroll finger. Pat yourself on the back my friend, since I can't do it for you. And treat your eyes to these two that bedded down right by our camp. Pretty awesome.


  1. I made it the whole way through, all the way to the moose!

    So what do you think it would take to get Marci out there with us next summer?

    1. I think getting Marci out there next summer would be epic! Seriously. Im not sure what it would take...but it is worth it, whatever it is.

  2. Beautiful pics and great story! I love your sense of adventure and humor! Love that you were able to do this together! Amazing experience thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Lee. Thanks for checking us out! I hope your ankle heals quickly. That looks painful.