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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Thank God for Holy Jim

I got a really late start this morning, late for a mountain run.  I didn’t get into my truck until 8:30 AM, didn’t begin my off-road driving until about 9:00 AM.  My feet, ever so delightfully, hit dirt at 9:30 AM.

I decided to run my semi-usual Holy Jim / Horsethief loop counterclockwise, the opposite that I usually run it.  Oh. My. Goodness!  The climb up West Horsethief was brutal.  BRUTAL.  Instead of growing angry up that grueling climb, I told myself to use this as a learning experience.  (And it worked, I didn’t grow angry or throw a pity-party-temper-tantrum once up that blasted hill).

up horsethief down holyjim

The views brought to me by West Horsethief:

Even after reaching the top of W. Horsethief, I still had plenty of climbing ahead.  Heat came down in abundance!  At times, I needed to stop in the shade to cool my body temperature.  I felt the heat sickness coming on, but thankfully was able to keep it at bay (experience did its job today!). 

I didn’t see any other runners out on The Main Divide, though I did see two mountain bikers.  All I can really say is that it got DANG TOUGH out there on the mountain ridge.  Thank God for Holy Jim!  Though gnats swarmed my face when I hit this giant switchback, I was oh so relieved, because Holy Jim signified a downhill, mostly shady, five mile run.  And it was glorious.  Truly glorious.  There’s nothing like downhill shade when you’ve been doing uphill sun!

Yay shade!!!

I met two hikers on this fun downhill trip.  We chatting briefly.  When I mentioned West Horsethief, they said in unison “Everybody hates Horsethief.”  Euphoria hit with about 3.5 miles remaining as a breeze hit my face and the multi-colored wildflowers swayed at my shins.  Again, it was beautiful.  Truly beautiful.  And amidst enjoying this beauty and euphoria, a thought entered my brain.  That thought was,  “This is the part when you fall.”  (Falls usually happen in the center of euphoria). Wouldn’t you know it????  Not three steps later, I tripped on a cluster of boulders.  I tripped hard, but was able to save it, and thankfully didn’t fall.  (It would have been a terrible fall).

I washed my face at the trickle spring and made the last 2.5 miles in good time.  As I ran that last mile in I approached a dry Holy Jim Creek and opted to run across a small log to practice my balance.  I was almost patting myself on the back for good balance when the log turned and dumped me onto the dry, rocky creek bed.  I hit hard, with no roll whatsoever.  I guess the “Fall Fairies” still had it in for me – they didn’t so much like my “save” earlier up Holy Jim.  They made sure that I bloodied my palm and knees before the end of today’s run.  I lay there in the rocks, bees buzzing about my head, and also my cap that lay a couple feet away.  I felt light headed as I pushed myself back upright and needed to think twice on whether or not I hit my head.  I did not hit my head, but my wounds, caked in wet dirt, ached a great deal.  I staggered a bit before picking up my run again.  With just about 1/2 mile remaining in today’s run, the “Fall Fairies” left me a treat in the middle of the trail – two nice sized chunks of ice.  Yes ice!  Can you believe it?  I iced down my knees and palm and then made my way across Holy Jim creek, this time across a board secured about 3.5 feet above the creek.  I didn’t run it, though I made it across without falling and was able to pat myself on the back for good balance.  Winking smile  Finally, with some fluids to spare, I made it back into the Holy Jim lot where I promptly jumped into my truck for that tedious off-road trip out of the canyon.

Oh how I love mountain runs!  I can’t wait until the next one. Smile

Miles 14.18 (22.82 km)


  1. Great run Lauren! Those fairies will get you if they have a plan for you... How about finding ice there...? Love your enthusiasm for the trails and mountains!

  2. I can't believe I missed you! I was in the HJ parking lot and hit the dirt at 9:30 too! Of course, I went up HJ. I know one of these days I'll see you on the trail. :)

    1. I can't believe I missed you either! It must have been by minutes.