Day Hike with the Hard Rockers in Ouray, Colorado
in the San Juan's of Southwestern Colorado, has such spectacular
mountain scenery it is often called the "Little Switzerland of
America. And like
Grindelwald of Switzerland, one can walk from the hotel/condo to
amazing trails, surrounded by large mountain peaks.
local hiking club, Ouray
Trail Group, has published "Hiking Trails of Ouray County" that
describes 40 trails in the area. It
overlays precise trails on USGS Maps and contains a user-friendly
guide to the difficulty, distance, elevation, and time. Get
this map on-line or
at the local stores - a great map!
in the summer of 2002 was beset with very hot weather and fires. Fireworks
were canceled, Pikes Pike was closed to hikers, and smoke could
be seen along the eastern side of the Rockies from Ft Collins to
Colorado Springs. Ouray
was spared from the fires, but the annual Hard
Rock 100-mile race was canceled. The
Hard Rock 100 mile race, like many other ultra-marathon
runs in the U.S., is the epitome of athletic adventure on one's
the race being canceled, some runners went on a hike with a long-time
Ouray resident, Rick Trujillo, geologist and former
multiple winner of many high altitude races and feats. He
led a fit band of folks on an extreme day hike on July 6 that I
was fortunate to join - I say "fortunate" only because it is good
to be humbled once in awhile. I
lagged along in the company of some guys really in good shape .
by the way, of the eight, 6 were over 50, including a 62 and 70
year old. There are
no excuses for age.
would be difficult to duplicate this hike without Rick's GPS, that
he used to track a route he had done years ago, and apparently
few people have ever done. We
went over an 8-hour "hike" that went up 4600 feet and down 7200
feet over 11 miles. From
a ride to the Bimetallist trail (10,400 start) we went to a ridge
(12,000) dropping to Senator basin (11,700) to Potosi shoulder
(12,600). Then Weehawken
basin (11,500) to Whitehouse Mountain summit (13,500') and back
through a series of meandering declining hill tops to Oak Creek
trail and the eventual trail head at Ouray (7800).
little of this was on trails and it was fun traversing and glissading
down couloirs, moving fast among alpine wildflowers, startling
some elk, hopping over fallen trees, gasping for air on the steep
inclines, dodging some rocks on the approach to the Whitehouse
summit, and realizing this hike wasn't done by many people. .
you really want to do this, send me an email - I have the above-mentioned
Ouray Trail Group map approximately annotated . Or,
I'll tell you how to get a hold of Rick.
December 2008: Check out Runner's World magazine (Jan 2009
edition) for a large article on Rick Trujillo:
OF THE MOUNTAIN GOD
"Rick Trujillo trains in the Rockies, not on the roads. He
chases elk, not PRs. He fuels up on Oreos, not PowerBars.
running. But is it possible to love it too much?"
By Steve Friedman
view from atop Whitehouse Mountain (13,500') down towards Ouray
was impressive (the picture with two people in it, who are 62 and
70 years old). See
if you can find the humbled DayHiker - the only person sitting
down in the picture where everyone else is standing up.
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