We are safely ensconced in Silverton, population 400 winter and 1,200 summer. The altitude at the post office is 9,300'. You should have gotten the update just before our departure so I will pick up there.
Wednesday 6/17 Scott & Joe depart west at 8 p.m. from Alexandria. We drove all night and until 6 p.m. the next day. In one fell swoop we went from behind schedule to ahead of schedule ( a trend we hope)
Thursday 6/18 On the way we notice that the highest point in Arkansas is only a few miles off the road. What the hey, well it is was alot off the interstate but, we found it, and ran to the top. We bagged magazine mountain. Scott comes up with the idea to stay at Tinker Air Base near Oklahoma City. Its a minute and a half off the interstate we walk in at 6:02. The desk clerk at the housing desk is going through the list of stand bys. We make the list and get the last suite. I don't know stripes from stars and think we'll be bunking in a concrete wall room with 25 other guys. Wrong. They should have called this a suite. Two bedrooms, kitchen nook, living room and two bathrooms. All for the incredible price of $12 each. I found out that Scott being a retired colonel is a rather big deal. We used the weight room and retired to our suite.
Friday 6/19 We depart for Albuquerque. Arrive at 1:30, greet the dogs and hit my friend Jim's beer stash with gusto. Anne comes home and force feeds us chips and real salsa, not the East Coast tomato sauce stuff. I'm in heaven. Unfortunately for us Jim and Anne are leaving to France via LA and can't hang around. Jim, Scott and I go for a run down along the Rio Grande. Two days two good runs. Jim and Anne, the magic couple are packed and ready to go in about an hour and a half. We dropped them off at the airport in their Suburban, which is just a little bigger than my home town. We head over to a restaurant and have dinner with Steve Mahieu and Sherry Kae Johns. A great time. Ultra runners extraordinaire.
Saturday 6/20 We head over to Steve and Sherry's house and do a 15 mile run in the mountains east of Albuquerque. 6,200' to over 8,000'. Absolutely beautiful: semi arid hills, to pine forest, to deciduous forest and back. Sherry tells me all the names of the native plants. Steve took it easy on us. If I run that well when I'm 50 Viagra will be redundant. After a great lunch S&J head to the base commissary and buy them out of all food stocks for our month long sojourn. We than went to REI and bought all those extra toys boys buy when not properly supervised. We finish the day by packing the car with two mountain bikes, food for moderate size but hungry city, and all the gear any boy would covet.
Sunday 6/21 S&J arise at 3:00 and depart for a 22.5 mile race in Taos at 3:30. While hanging in the parking lot Charlie Thorn offers his house in Silverton for the week instead of camping. You don't get offers like this every day. Scott has an awesome run and waits often for me at the top of hills. The altitude is a kick in the pants 9,600' to 13,100+ and then back. It took us 6 hours and we were not goofing off. There was a good bit of snow on the course, the course directions were somewhat informal, and the markings were non existent Non the less Wheeler Peak area is stunningly beautiful. High mountains lakes, views of over 100 miles, and mostly well groomed trail. We then drove up to Silverton got the key from a neighbour and we are in.
Monday 6/22 Scott had a long standing meeting in Ouray with friends (Brian and Kaylea) from back east that are passing thru to San Francisco. Just as we are about to give up on them they showed. We went for a killer bike ride of over two hours of climb to the snow. We came screaming back. We stop in and saw our Ouray bud Rick Truhillo. I casually mentioned that the house we were staying in had a phone line which was great for emailing but no phone. He ran upstairs and gave us one that he said he never uses. First a house to stay in, then the phone, I believe we need to ask for bigger things like fame, fortune, or Julia Roberts.
After a quick shop we all went back to Silverton and had a killer spaghetti dinner and showers. Soon after Andrea, a pacer-to-be a Hardrock who is learning the course to help her runner, comes rolling in from the most gruelling of runs. Here's a women in her early 20's that has never run an ultra. She does a 20 mile out and back on part of the Hardrock course going over 13,000' twice, hip deep snow in places. She ran out of food and water and almost ran out of daylight. She was beat as hell and her only complaint was that she got sun burn on the back of her arm. The old goats are impressed. Ann Trason watch out.
Tuesday 6/23 We went out with course record holder and two time winner Havid Dorton, and Eliza McLean, one tough NC runner, to train on the first 16 miles of the course. Dorton got us lost in the first 3 miles, way lost, endlessly lost, and then we pick our way thru an ice field and bush whack over a 13,000' foot peak. Finally, we just retraced our steps to the bottom of the mountain. We than climbed the correct 13,000' mountain on the third summit approach. No crampons no go. In all we only covered 9 miles of the course in 6 hours. Scott and I have no energy above 12,000' We went back to the house and crashed. Boom.
Wednesday 6/24 Easy day. We hiked up Kendal Mountain right behind Silverton with another Silverton bud Erick Erdman. Easy up and moderate down. 12 mile round trip, 13,000'+ summit. Scott seems to be doing better than me on everything except hand over hand climbs. I have the monkey gene.
Thursday 6/25 For some inexplicable reason we went out with Dorton again. Eliza is great fun, but Dorton can often be like spending an entire day with someone scratching their fingernails on the blackboard. Dam if he doesn't do it to us again. At over 12,500' we wonder aimlessly around a high basin looking for the right way down. He got jerk of the year award by heading across the basin to a "fun looking" peak while Scott was warming his toes, only to take off and leave us. After we finally catch sight of him about a mile away we break off from the decent we were heading for to go towards him. After 30 minutes of post holing thru knee to hip deep snow we figure out he had circled under a bluff and came out pretty much were we were heading. Thus causing us another 30 minutes of post holing to catch him. My fun meter was running rather low. If we had been a little closer to a vertical ice field I might have tested it with his sorry butt to see if zero friction on a snow field is the same as free fall off a cliff. You just don't know till ya try. Other than Dorton we saw elk, beautiful wild flowers, aspen and some really big peaks up close and personal.
We all returned safely and Eliza made a French ratatoue and rice. A great finish to the day. Five straight days over 13,000'
We miss you all. The boys will be heading uphill again.
PS sidenote from Scott: I won't let Joe kill Dorton until after we run the Hardrock!!!!!!!