US of Awesome – Part B

On Friday 12th July we woke up in sunny Silverton after a long sleep in. We had showers and headed into town where we met up with Bryon Powell for brunch at Coffee Bear. 

We then drove down to our hotel and chatted to our favorite hotel man Andy, and after a good chat he checked us into our hotel room and we unpacked. During our earlier catch up with Bryon he had told Roger about a marathon being held here on Sunday, and by the time we got back to our hotel Roger had decided to sign up. So off he went to register for the race. We were both feeling exhausted, so we had a nap and then headed to Rudy’s Mexican for dinner with our friends Joel and Robert, we were also joined by another man called Jim. It was a great meal and even better company; we were both so happy to be here.

Sunday was another good sleep-in and then we headed up to cheer runners over the finish line at the Kendall Mountain race. On the way we got coffee and a burrito at Coffe Bear, and we arrived in time to cheer our Aussie girl Lucy Bartholomew over the finish line. Unfortunately she had fallen during the run and her thumb/hand was quite swollen, Roger got her some ice and we chatted as she recovered from her run. 

Roger and I spent a bit of coin at the ‘Run Steep Get High’ shop and then headed back to our hotel to get some gear ready for an afternoon hike up to Corkscrew pass, a spot Joel had told us about the day before. 

After a very scary drive towards the Corkscrew Pass trail,  we ended up parking on the dirt road and making our own way up the large mountains beside us. It was steep as ever and definitely got our heart rates going, but the views were spectacular. After a short time a storm headed towards us and the thunder and lightning had us making quick tracks back down the mountain towards the van, we even got hailed on during our speed walk/jog down the hill, man that stuff hurts and it was only small. 

Back at the car we then made our way down the dirt road to Silverton and enjoyed a long, hot shower to warm us up. We then headed to dinner with a good mate James who had offered to cook us Curry Chicken and vegetables for dinner, how could we say no. It was such a great night catching up with James and Jess, two beautiful people that we got to share a lot of laughs with. 

On Sunday the alarm went off early and Roger got his gear ready for his marathon. We walked up to the Memorial Park Start/Finish area and got there just as the lead 50km runners were coming back through. We cheered Lucy on and then chatted to some more friends as the Marathoners readied themselves a the start line. After the gun went off I headed to Coffee Bear for some breakfast, then back to the hotel for a nap. I had not been sleeping great through the nights, possibly due to the altitude here (3,000m above sea level) so daily naps were essential. 

After a 3 hour nap I headed back to the Bear Café for some lunch on the way to the finish line. I managed to get there in time to cheer Bryon and Joel over the finish line, as well as Lucy who had done the double weekend of running, what a legend. I sat with Lucy and met a few other local runners, as we waited for Roger to finish. It took him just over 6.5 hours which was fantastic considering he was still recovering from the big run they had done in the Grand Canyon, fantastic! 

We then got a lift back to the hotel with Joel and made plans to have early dinner at Avalanche Brewery with him and Bryon. Dinner was delicious and we had lots of laughs over pizza and pie, then made plans with Joel to visit Ouray the next day for some hiking/running adventures. 

On Monday Joel picked us up at 9am and we headed along the Million Dollar Highway towards Ouray. They  were going to drop me off at the Sutton Mine Trailhead so I could do the short 6km hike and then meet them back in town, while they headed to the Bridge of Heaven trail which was much longer and steeper (and not suitable for someone 32 weeks pregnant like me, ha ha). 

They dropped me at the Trailhead and I was thankful there were lots of other hikers around. I felt fine but the first section of the was very steep and rocky so I was thankful for my poles to help keep me upright. After the first 1-2km the trail levelled out some more and didn’t feel like much of an effort, plus I took it super easy all the way to the Mine. I had a little rest and some snacks at the turnaround point, then headed back the way I had come. It was a gorgeous trail with beautiful views of the mountains around Ouray. I chatted to a few couples along the trail too, most pf them shocked and impressed that I was still out hiking. 

Once I was back at the Trailhead I walked down the dirt road and joined the Ouray Perimeter Trail, this would lead me back into town where I would eventually meet up with the others.

After a few extra kilometres, a scary bridge at Box Canyon, and making friends with ‘Hank’ the local Golden Retriever, I eventually hit town and celebrated with some ice cream and a coke at Mouse’s Chocolate and Coffee shop. The shop had free Wi-Fi which was great, so I messaged Roger and we organised to meet up and get some lunch when they were back in town. We had burgers and salads at the Ouray Brewery and shared photos from each of our morning adventures, then loaded back into the car headed for Silverton.  After showers, Roger headed to James house for some ‘Camp Hardrock’ planning and I sat down to do a little work on my laptop. Later we headed up to Mexican for dinner and it was another great meal. 

Tuesday was a rest day for me, as I was making sure I looked after myself and did not overdo it, which is quite hard to do when you’re someone who loves the outdoors as much as me. So I walked up with Roger and Lucy to meet the other runners who were planning to go and hike/run up to Handie’s Peak. Then I headed to do some laundry and then back to our room for a nap, I hadn’t slept well the night before so was craving some more sleep.  

We both decided Wednesday would be a rest day, as Roger had been running nearly every day since we had arrived. So we jumped in the campervan and headed to Durango for a look around. We walked through the Main Street of town and looked in a lot of the shops, then had lunch at the 11th Street Food Trucks, Tacos. Yum!! After lunch we had some handmade ice cream that was delicious, the guy making it was a runner (they’re everywhere, ha ha) and we talked about Hardrock too.

After devouring my mint ice cream we jumped in the campervan and headed to the Durango Running Company shop, a little store tucked away off the Main Street and inside an old house. As we opened the door we were greeted by Pedro, the store dog who was the sweetest thing. The store didn’t have a lot inside but what it was was quality. I ended up buying an Oiselle running hat and a T-shirt with the store name on it, unlucky for Roger they didn’t have any in his size. After a good chat with the store owner we jumped back in the car and headed to Silverton. James came over to our hotel where Lucy kindly made us a delicious vegan dinner.

Thursday morning we drove up to Little Molas Lake and hiked towards Molas lake and back. It was about 10km of rolling trails with beautiful views in all directions. The elevation up there was higher than I have been for a while and I was definitely breathing harder on some of the uphill sections. It was so nice to spend the morning walking and talking with my man, as I’d been feeling a little like I was missing out with not being able to run anymore. 

Back at the van we chatted to some men who had ridden about 10 miles on their horses that morning, they were super sweet. There was also a large group who had taken some Llamas our for walk too, such a busy spot.

We had lunch in the van back at Silverton as we watched the Camp Hardrock Softball game, then headed for showers. There was an unofficial beer mile happening that afternoon too, Lucy and I tried to convince Roger that he needed to represent us Aussies and we thought we almost had him convinced (ha ha), unfortunately no. The beer mile ended up being a 1 mile loop on a trail with 250m elevation, a section of the Hardrock course. Anna Frost was there with her husband and baby so I was stoked to get the chance to chat with her about how she is doing now she’s a mother and what she had gone through during labour. She is one tough cookie and such a down to earth lovely person. We missed watching the beer mile as we had dinner plans but Lucy caught us up on all the funny stories later. We had dinner at Handlebars with Meghan and Bryon, I was craving a steak and it was delicious. The Margarita’s were flowing (for them) and we had a lot of laughs catching up and sharing stories. 

Friday 19th July would have been the start of the Hardrock race, however they had planned a FATASS on the first section of the course from Silverton to Green Mountain and back, so Roger got up early and I had a sleep in. It was sad to think we only had 2 more days in this beautiful place.

I had breakfast burrito and a Macha Tea Frappe at Coffee Bear, then sat down with my laptop to start updating my blog. They had free Wi-Fi at the cafe which was perfect as I didn’t want to sit in my hotel room all day. I realised quickly though that I had forgotten my charger, so I slowly strolled back to the hotel and did a little bit of shopping on the way. I bought myself a necklace called ‘Little Mountain’ and a silver ring made locally, a unique design that really stood out to me. Then I grabbed my laptop charger from the hotel and headed back to the cafe for another frappe and to finish Part A of the blog.

By the time Roger was back from his run I was back at the hotel room having a nap. It was well after lunchtime but we were both hungry so we headed to Avalanche Brewery for a pizza. After late lunch and a nap back at the hotel room we headed up to Memorial Park for the Hardrock Camp Feast and Potluck get together. It was great to see that so many people had made the effort to come to Silverton for the week and so nice to have one last catch up with all our mates before we left town the next day.

Saturday was going to be our last day in Silverton and I wanted to go for one last hike before we left. I convinced Roger to come for a hike on the Highland Mary Lake Trail, approx. 4km up a mountain then back down again. Lucy came along for the ride too as she was going to do a bigger loop in the same area. So we all jumped in the car and I drove us out to Cunningham Gulch, part of the road was closed so we parked a little further away from the trailhead, made our way safely over some avalanche debris, and hit the trail up to the lake.

We hit some rain and hail as we went up the mountain and the blue skies disappeared. There was a lot for later around and we had to cross about 4-5 streams along the trail, some of them up to our knees. Just as we got to near the top the thunder started and we decided it was tie to head back down into the tree line.

It rained the whole way back down to the car and got heavier, so we were all a little cold when we got back to the car. We drove back into town and decided on lunch at Handlebars, however it was quite busy and had a line out the front and we didn’t want to wait. We decided to go across to The Pickle Barrel for lunch and Roger and I got burgers that weren’t that great. After a little shopping and goodbyes to some mates we were back on the road towards Breckenridge to drop off the camper van. We said goodbye to ‘Wolfgang’ with owner Justin and jumped in a Lyft for the final stretch to Boulder. I napped in the car as it was just after midnight when we arrived.

Stay tuned for Part C, the last few days of our holiday spent in Boulder.

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