click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Los Pinos Peak

I think I prefer the odd goals that I conjure up, over training for long distance endurance races.  A 50k or 50 miler not only tries my body, but more so, they try my soul.  During these runs (and training for them) I must fight the toughest battle – the battle against myself, against those awful voices that nag, nag, nag.  It’s simply terrible.

On the other hand, a couple months ago, I decided to attempt Mount Everett’s elevation gain every month with my running.  That brought me great enjoyment – a goal that can be achieved in tiny steps.  I did it in February, will probably accomplish the task for March. 

I came up with another goal the last time I ran to Santiago Peak (actually, I kind of stole the idea from Jessica Deline, after she saw the photo of my feet on the peak’s surveyor’s mark).  Consequently, this new adventure consists of collecting peaks in my runs (and taking a photo of my feet on the surveyor's stamp as proof.)

Anyway, as I continue my wind down for Old Goat 50, which is precisely one week away, I feel relaxed.  At the same time, I am terrified.  I am terrified of Old Goat.  I fear the battle.  But, I am relaxed over doing my own thing in running now that “training” has ended – as I did on this cool March morning.

During this morning’s single digit run, I sought out Los Pinos Peak for peak #2.  I parked high up the mountain (in Blue Jay) and  headed up the Main Divide well before the San Juan 50k runners would be making their way up the same truck trail.  I did a run/hike combo and found that I made the exact time as when I did a power hike for the whole 1.5 miles. Hiking power continues to amaze me. 

Traversing the Main Divide:

At the Trabuco/Main Divide fork, there’s another prong to the fork, obscured by vegetation and fallen tree trunks.  That fork belongs to the Los Pinos Trail.  Rather than bushwhack, I hopped some turquoise colored posts and made my way to the trailhead.  Then I commenced to run up and down (mainly up) a gorgeous Los Pinos (The Pines) trail. 

My tortuous Mentally Sensitive repeats did me good today.  I found these mainly-up-rolling-hills amazingly easy (as easy as running trails can get anyway).  The views were immense, my home county obscured with thick clouds.  These are the trails that leave the world behind. Smile

Before I knew it I arrived at the peak, or so I figured.  It appeared as if everything else was downhill from there.  Well, I looked around and thought, “Where can the mark be?”  Surveyor’s plaques are never in the middle of the trail.  And at Santiago Peak, it’s at the top of a pile of rocks.  To my left on Los Pinos trail was a natural looking pile of rocks.  I hopped up on them, glanced around.  Nothing.  And then upon closer look, I found a small circular plaque embedded in a boulder.  Without my glasses, I could barely read it.  And what I could read didn’t make sense.  But surveyor remarks don’t make sense.  I hopped around a bit more and found a larger circular plaque and was able, just at the perfect angle, to make out the words, “Los Pinos Peak.”  I had arrived. 

Los Pinos Peak:


Peak Goof-Around Time:

On my way back down Los Pinos, I took an off-shoot that I noticed on the way up.  Since my mileage was less than expected I figured I had a couple miles to spare.  But this single-track trail descended at such a great rate that I feared it would eventually dump me out in the canyon below.  And then what a climb out that would be (surely making this run carry into the double digits)!  And so, I turned around and ran back up to the trail and made my way peacefully back to the Main Divide.  Since this portion will be the last remaining miles of Old Goat, I worked on my footing and form.  My shoes felt unbelievably comfortable.  So much so, I wished that I had trained in them. 

I met the San Juan 50k aid station trucks making their way up the Main Divide.  After stretching, I got into my truck, drove down Long Canyon Road and came upon the front runner of the San Juan 50k, Dean Dobberteen (spelling?).  I’ve seen him many times, usually the front runner.  Anyway, he made that Candy Store run that I’ve been training in TWO HOURS!!!!!  This is basically the same course (actually his was shy a mere two miles) that I finally got in less that 6.5 hours.  Wow.  (I won’t let that throw me.  He is among the best of the best.  I just want to finish, or at least try and finish). 

And such is trail running . . .

Running To Los Pinos Peak 3-16-2013, Elevation


  1. The best thing about trail running is it's not the time, it's finishing that counts!

    1. You are right Glenn. The experience is pretty good too, even though I may not finish. (Though not finishing is pretty dang tough to handle at first).

  2. Oh yes, and only time on the trails can be so rewarding. Road running is just not the same. I'm training for the Comrades and enjoy all running, but I miss the trails so much. The soul refreshing does not happen on the road for me. Your race week is here! So is mine! On Thursday I run my 1st road marathon in more than two years. Happy week Lauren!

    1. Thanks for reading Johann. And most of all, thank you for your support!!