When Jeff got to Breck, we immediately headed out for a run. Breck is at 9,000+ feet; my lungs were BURNING! But we got in a nice run on a paved bike path for just under 5 miles at around an 8 min. pace. We ended our run near the gondola and spur of the moment decided to take the gondola up the mountain and then run down.
First of all, we had not looked at a map and really had no clue which road or path led down the mountain to the base area. How stupid did we feel, how hard was it to go down?!? Apparently it is not as easy as it might seem. We are used to running on roads in the city, not in mountains on trails!
- Mistake #1- We asked some mountain bikers how to get down the mountain. They haphazardly pointed in a direction and we headed that way. (Note to self, never trust mountain bikers if you are runner, mountain bikers hate runners apparently… and never depend on others for directions)
- Mistake #2- We did not notice the giant black cloud coming our way. Within a mile after getting “directions” to get down the mountain, the temperature dropped 20 degrees, it started raining and hailing, and lightning was striking all around us.
- Mistake #3- Instead of taking cover, we just ran faster. But we still didn’t know where the hell we were and the dirt road was NOT going down, instead we were climbing back up the mountain.
- Mistake #4- We didn’t tell my parents where we were running, how far, or how long it would take us. We knew they were worried about us, especially Safety Phil (my dad). Jeff told me to call them, but I realized I did not have their cell phone numbers memorized.
Half a mile down the trail we saw the mountain bikers that gave us the “directions.” We stopped and gave them a funny look and they replied “We saw you go the wrong way and couldn’t figure out where you were going.” Seriously, you didn’t yell at us to tell us the correct way?!? I am now anti-mountain biker. We did not ask for additional directions and continued along the trail.
Cold, wet, and now 7 miles into our run and back to where we originally started (we went in a giant loop), we decided to take a shuttle down (the gondola was closed due to the weather). We got off the shuttle about a mile from rental house and started jogging, a cold, slow, ready to be done jog. Then we hear a honk and look up and see my dad. Apparently he got worried because of the storm and was driving around trying to find us (thanks Dad! And sorry we didn’t communicate with you).
Luckily we were just a little cold and wet and were in a pretty well-traveled area….and was never really in any danger. But this run taught us some important lessons for trail running in the mountains to avoid future mishaps that could get us in trouble (this goes for hiking too):
- Plan ahead, know your route, but have a map with you, maybe even a compass and/or GPS, just in case you get lost.
- Prepare for any and all weather conditions. Even if you start out and it is sunny and warm, a storm can easily roll through and conditions can change rapidly. Bring layers and a rain-resistant jacket.
- Bring water and food. Just in case you get lost, be prepared to run longer or further than you set out to.
- Tell someone where you are running and when you expect to return, and call them when you get back. That way if 10 hours later they don’t hear from you or can’t get a hold of you, they can alert the authorities.
After our botched run, Jeff and I joined my parents and aunt for a stroll through downtown Breckenridge (where an awesome beer festival was going on…. $25 for unlimited samples?!? Must do this next year). We then stopped and had a beer at Breckenridge Brewery before heading back for a great dinner.
Thanks Aunt Jane for letting us stay with you over the weekend, we had so much fun! YAY for the mountains in the summer!!!!
Jeff and I had to leave Saturday night to get back to the rat-dogs. Those silly rats need to learn to be self-sufficient so we can leave them alone all weekend (we are cheap and hate to board them).
…Part III will continue with our first concert at Red Rocks the next day (Sunday evening)!