Lumpy Ridge, RMNP (2 laps, 22 miles)
In theory the snow is melting. In actuality, I have a fifty-miler in the fall to tune up for and my goal is to enjoy as much of it as possible. Time for some miles! I joined a large group of fellow Special Idiots for some trail running fun up in RMNP. They were planning on multiple laps of Lumpy Ridge, a nice 11-mile loop usually clear of snow by the late spring. I hate doing multiple laps, so I figured to join them for the first lap, then go somewhere else and run another ten-ish miles. We ran the loop counter-clockwise which means you get two steep climbs and two long downhill cruises and it was very nice.
It was so nice, in fact, that I decided I’d rather have companionship than new sights, and I re-upped for another loop, clockwise this time. While eleven miles was nice, twenty two was more than I was quite ready for. The first big climb on the second loop was hot and miserable. Chris, Kari and I ran a lot of the north side together, but hiked steadily on the uphills. I finished the final climb at Gem Lake and marched directly into the lake and sat down. My wheels had not only fallen off, but they’d rolled down the hill and were lost in the woods as well.
The refreshing lake dip gave me enough energy to run the final (coincidentally, steeply down-hill) mile and a half to the trailhead. But I was still mighty glad to be finished.