Saturday, July 31, 2021

Yale Silver Creek Loop

Colorado Trail to Yale East Ridge to Yale Standard Route to Brown's Pass Trail to Kroenke Lake Trail to North Cottonwood Trail
Trailhead Elevation: 9,419 ft.
Yale Summit Elevation: 14,196 ft.
Denny-Browns Jct Elevation: 10,747 ft.
Upper Brown's Pass Elevation: 12,530 ft.
Distance: 19.93 mi. (my Forerunner 235)
Elevation Gain: 6,710 ft. (my Forerunner 235)
Start Time: 4:42am
End Time: 1:03pm

Trip Report:
For several years now I've been eyeing long and longer routes and link-ups of trails to see how I can handle bigger and bigger days in the mountains. There is a certain joy in looking at a map and being able to cover large amounts of grand especially when you can keep hitting new trail the whole day. This effort was to make a wonderful loop around and including Mount Yale. I've seen others do a similar route only instead of going up and over Yale they do a complete circumnavigation of the peak using the Cottonwood Pass Road and the Avalanche Gulch portion of the CT which I skipped. While I love the aesthetic idea of a complete loop around the peak the thought of going up and over it seemed more enticing for my style.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Emerald-Iowa-Missouri Loop

Just amazing beauty up here
Mostly bushwhack routes with some usage of the Elkhead Pass Trail
Camp Start Elevation: 11,634 ft.
Emerald Peak Elevation: 13,904 ft.
Iowa Peak Elevation: 13,831 ft.
Missouri Mountain Elevation: 14,067 ft.
Distance: 7.10 mi. (my Forerunner 235)
Elevation Gain: 3,190 ft. (my Forerunner 235)
Start Time: 6:57am
End Time: 12:04pm

Trip Report:
In researching adventures to get into while backpacking up into Pine Creek/Missouri basin it quickly became evident that several peaks would be within reach in one big push. Two large 13ers, Emerald, and Iowa as well as 14er Missouri all sit next to each other on a long ridge. An early question we dealt with was what this ridge would look like and whether it would get technical. Some research on old trip reports revealed that the ridge was fairly tame and very do-able with our skill set. I was even able to find another individual's GPX track of a route they took to hit these peaks and I had that with me on my phone app as a guide.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Magdalene Mountain & Silver King Lake

Pine Creek Basin Trail + Magdalene Mountain Trail
Start Elevation: 11,633 ft.
Lake Elevation: 12,650 ft.
Summit Elevation: 13,752 ft.
Distance: 5.06 mi. (my Forerunner 235)
Elevation Gain: 2,118 ft. (my Forerunner 235)
Start Time: 12:24pm
End Time: 4:38pm

Trip Report:
As part of our backpacking trip into the high portion of the Pine Creek/Missouri Basin we were looking for further objectives to hike to once we setup a high camp. This morning we hiked up near the junction of the Pine Creek Trail and Elkhead Pass trail and found a good campsite a quarter mile up from the junction. We set things up, had a nice lunch, and then set out to hike up to the lake. The plan was for my father Denny and son Luke to have fun fishing at the lake while I set out for the 13er Mount Magdalene.

Pine Creek Backpacking

Pine Creek Trail plus other adventures.

Trailhead Elevation: 8,806 ft.
First Camp Elevation: 10,970 ft.
High Camp Elevation: 11,640 ft.
Total Trip Distance: 33.33 mi. (my Forerunner 235)
Total Trip Elevation Gain: 8,223 ft. (my Forerunner 235)
Start Time: Tues, July 27, 2:30pm
End Time: Thurs, July 29, 5:48pm

Trip Report:
If you're looking for some truly classic Colorado backpacking, and are willing to put in the miles and the work to get it, backpacking up the Pine Creek trail is a worthy choice. It is a lengthy 10+ miles to get deep into the basin but the trail is good and well worth it. My father and I have been eyeing this hike for many years now but have never found the opportunity to pull the trigger. We've even caught glimpses of the this beautiful area from the summits of the surrounding 14ers like Harvard and Missouri. When my son Luke and I stumbled into a few days of free travel time to head out to Colorado and join my father the perfect opportunity presented itself.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Oak Openings Training Marathon

Trip Info:
Ferns and Lakes Trail > Sand Dunes Trail > Foxfire Trail > Oak Openings Hiking Trail Loop > Evergreen Trail > Partial of Sand Dunes Trail

Trailhead Elevation: 659 ft.
Distance: 26.22 mi. 
Time: 5:06:47
Elevation Gain: 500 ft. (estimate)
Start Time: 7:00am
End Time: 12:34pm

Trip Report:
I spent the summer of 2021 training for my 2nd 50-miler Ultra attempt. This would be on the beautiful Marquette 50 course in the upper peninsula of Michigan. During this summer I did a couple of training marathons on my own. I use my car as an aid station and I enjoy loops in state parks or metroparks in my region. While I do most of my running in Michigan I happened upon Oak Openings on the map and it appeared to have great trail potential.

I made an early Saturday morning drive down and I found the gate to the Buehner Center TH closed. I really wanted to park there because of my aid station plans and so I waited things out until the gate opened around 7am. I didn't really have a plan for what trails I would do hoping to keep the mind fresh and go with the flow. I knew at some point i would tackle the big hiking loop which was 16+ miles.

I started off hitting the Ferns and Lakes loop from the main TH and then also tacked on the Sand Dunes Trail loop. This I found to be my favorite and some of the best scenery in the whole metropark. I then hit the rather short loop of the Foxfire trail and this put me back at my car for an aid stop. I filled up food and drink and made my way out for the big hiking loop. I wanted to get a handful of miles before the big loop hoping that there wouldn't be too much left after.
I did the loop clockwise and found the first quarter of it to be fairly easy to navigate. When I made my way up the west side I found some of the junctions and signage confusing when I hit an area that merged with mountain bike trails. The trail then shoots to the very north end of the metropark even running alongside a road for a short bit. There were sections in here that became overgrown and in spots hard to navigate.

I hit some more navigation issues after the trail crosses Monclova road. Somehow I ended up on the north end of the Ferns and Trails loop. I corrected this and regaining the hiking loop to cross Wilkins Road. I continued on the loop heading through the White Oak Campground where I had begun my day sitting in the parking lot waiting for the trailhead to open. I used the campground as a water and bathroom aid station.

As the morning progressed things warmed up and got a bit muggy. I tried to continue with my all-day ultra pace and kept the walks short. I had another navigation issue a third of a mile after leaving the Evergreen Lake trail. I hit a T-junction and looking to my left I saw the bit of trail seemingly end at a road. To my road was a nice soft dirt trail. I went right. Should have gone left. I continued to follow my wrong turn not realizing it was a horse trail. I knew I was going the wrong direction. I hit another junction and made a turn to bend in the westerly direction I knew I needed. I was now following things on the map on my phone and eventually used the horse trails to get back to the hiking loop.

I finally made it back to the car for another aid break. I had 22 miles in the bank and a tough four to go. I head east to the Evergreen Trail loop and it had sections out in the open sun which I felt.
I finish my marathon heading out for part of the beautiful Sand Dune trail looping back to hit the 26.21 near the car. I was definitely hurting in those last miles but happy to get my second training marathon of the summer under my belt. I was overly impressed with Oak Openings and will hope to find an opportunity to make it back.

I have a track and waypoints from the activity all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Grace is Sufficient

 [Originally published in the Monroe News on July 2, 2021]

Some of you avid readers of the Holy Bible might be familiar with the 2 Corinthians passage where St. Paul talks about a “thorn in the flesh.”  If you haven’t heard this one before go give it a read in chapter 12.  Its a profound passage.

St. Paul speaks of boasting and humility and how he has wrestled with the two.  He then makes this interesting statement: “To keep me from becoming conceited … a thorn was given me in the flesh.”  Theologians and scholars have long wondered what Paul meant by this.  Most at least agree it wasn’t a literal thorn. We all know that as painful as they can be, they are also easily removed.  Some believe it was a speech impediment that would have drastically affected a man like Paul who so frequently spoke in public.  Others believe it to be some kind of a chronic health issue.  Nobody really knows for sure.  What we do know is it greatly affected Paul.  So much so he tells us he pleaded with God three times that it be taken from him.  More on that in a minute.

Popular Posts