Lion Lakes

Michele and Brian pounding the weekday trail

CASA Trail Running Day #1 had been such a success, I hosted another one. Michele and I drove up from Boulder and met Brian from Ft. Collins at Wild Basin in RMNP. Brian and I are both training for the Steamboat 50 miler, but Michele is only aimed at the Pikes Peak Ascent (13.4 miles). We didn’t want anything too strenuous, but agreed to play it by ear.

Michele is new to the area, so we toured him past all the classic waterfalls in the area (Copeland, Calypso, Ouzel) before striking off for the Lion Lakes. The climb is ridiculously steep, but the pay-off is big. We finally found ourselves in a seldom-visited (for a National Park at least) high valley under the looming faces of Mt. Alice and Chiefs Head. Two years ago, I ran this way with Clem and Eric and we had a great trip up and over Mt. Alice. The weather wasn’t quite as promissing today (though it only ever rained on us in the last two miles of the run), so we climbed up to the Divide past Lion Lakes #1 and #2 and Snowbank Lake, admired the view (and the 4000′ we’d gained), before turning around and coming back down.

The lovely Lion Lake #1 with Mt. Alice and Chiefs Head and some rather ominous weather.

It was only a 17 mile trip, but we gained 4000′ in the first half and my legs could definitely feel it. Michele, despite this being the longest run he’d ever been on, had no problems at all. He climbs like a mountain goat! (He would in fact go on to finish the Pikes Peak Ascent in 3:27, five minutes faster than my best time. Wow!)

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