I recently had the chance to travel to Texas for work. Anytime I travel, I always for look outdoor places to explore even if it's for a short morning run. Of course I had to explore on my own and I'm so glad I did because I experienced the most BEAUTIFUL sunrise run I've ever had.
|Never Summer Mountains - View from Fairview Curve|
Fairview Curve: Never Summer MountainsOur first stop on Trail Ridge Road was at Fairview Curve (10,120 ft) that had phenomenal views of the Never Summer Mountains, the only volcanic range in RMNP. I thought "Never Summer Mountains" was a funny name for a mountain range but Summer probably never reaches that mountain range. The day before we hiked at the Colorado River Trailhead in the valley bellow called, "Kawuneeche Valley".
Continental Divide: Milner PassWhat is the Continental Divide? It is the line that divides the flow of water and snow melt. On the East Side of the Continental Divide all the water flows to the Gulf of Mexico, part of the Atlantic Ocean and on the West side of the Continental Divde flows to the Pacific Ocean. To be able to stand at Continental Divide - Milner Pass (10,759 ft), a section of natural occurrence was pretty exciting!
Podre Lake flows to the Missouri then to the Mississippi and ends up in the Gulf of Mexico!
Beaver Creek which is down Ute Trail flows into the Colorado River all the way down to the Gulf of California.
The Alpine Tundra and Visitor CenterThe RMNP Alpine Tundra will always hold a special place in my heart. I felt like I was in another country, I felt like I was back in the place I long to return to, the Peruvian Andes. The cold, thin air brought me right back to my memories of hiking the Inca Trail. I instantly fell in love with the Alpine Tundra.
We stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center at 11,796 ft., so we could get our "Passport To Your National Parks" book stamped and let the kids run around. Amazingly my kids had no issues with adjusting to the elevation change, we live at sea level! This was also a very memorable moment for me as a mother when my son saw "snow" near the Visitor Center. He turned to me and with a giant smile and eyes as wide open and says, "Mommy!! That is SNOW!! Let's go get our our snowboards and go down the mountain!". Soon little buddy...
As we left the Visitor Center, I saw a stairway on Alpine Ridge Trail to Huffer Hill. I wanted to go to the top but we were headed to hike at Glacier Gorge Trailhead. We had already made too many pit stops so we jumped back into the car and headed down to Glacier Gorge Trailhead. The beauty of the Alpine Tundra didn't stop with the mountains, we also saw many wildlife in particular the North American Elk all over the tundra.
Many elk roamed the tundra in the far distance when we were going to Glacier Gorge, but on the return trip to Grand Lake after our hike, the Elk were so close to the road that we actually had to stop so the cars would let them pass. The kids were ecstatic to see them from the safety of the car, we had a very close encounter on the trail, story to come!
Chasqui Run: Alpine Tundra Huffer Hill
After a full day of hiking near Glacier Gorge, on our drive back on Trail Ridge Road to our cabin we stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center. I wanted to go up Huffer Hill but not walk ...RUN up the hill. My husband told me I was crazy but I wanted to do it so of course he indulged me,he stopped and waited in the car with our sleeping kids.
I took off running the second I closed the car door, I hit the stairs and ran as much as I could and walked until I caught my breath and ran again until I reached the top. It was mostly dark, terribly cold, the air was thin but I had such a HUGE adrenaline rush. I made it to what I thought was the top then end of the stairs and I may have done a "Rocky" victory dance....
The end stairs was not the actual top but there was still another 20-30 feet of paved trail to reach the very top so I finished running it. I'm not going to lie, I was dizzy, my chest was rattling, coughing but it was the most beautiful thing in the world.
I WAS ALL ALONE.
On top of a gorgeous mountain, with the sun barely peaking from behind the mountains. 360 degrees of me and pure mountains. It was a moment that I will never forget. I felt so connected to God, so alive, I was on top of the world at 11,938 ft in the sky. I enjoyed my alone time for a few more minutes and started running down Alpine Ridge Trail.
I was still on my adrenaline high and ran all the way down back to the car. I got back to the car and my husband turned to me and said, "I saw you running and thought you were going to tumble down!". I told him, I have now had a "Chasqui Run" in the Alpine Tundra in the Colorado Rocky Mountains an ode to my ancestors.
To my surprise once back in cell phone service territory, I checked my Strava stats on my "Chasqui Run" and I had earned my first Current Record - Queen of the Mountain (QOM) on Old Fall River Road Climb.
The Alpine Tundra took my breath away....Have you ever experience a place so beautiful that it took your breath away?
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Running is going to be in my regular routine again. A few of our current and former youth group students are interested in running 5K/10K/Half Marathon, so as a good youth leader, I will join them. Two of the three youth leaders (myself and Nate) will be running a half marathon and I'm trying to convince my husband to run a 5K while pushing our double stroller with our tots in tow.
|Photo Courtesy of Nate Rische|
Last year, I ran the The Giant Race in San Francisco which was a very picturesque run which started at the San Francisco Giants Baseball Stadium, went along the Piers and Fisherman Wharf, Crissy Field down to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. My first half marathon EVER. Never cared about time, I just wanted to finish it and not die.
Nonetheless now that I'm going to run my second half marathon, Quarry Turkey Half Marathon on November 30, 2013 (Yes that is the Saturday AFTER Thanksgiving) I need to compare my times and train so I can try to beat my previous times.
The Giants Race - September 16, 2012
This year I'm going to cross train with road biking as well as hiking on Saturdays when we can. I will see how it goes but here is my tentative training schedule, with a weekend of backpacking thrown into the mix.
My only goals this time is to beat my previous race time and to motivate our youth who chose to participate to complete the training and actually run the race. Personally, I think the training is harder then the intended race. If you have any suggestions in my training schedule please leave a comment in the comment section.
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Two thousand twelve has been great! The only thing I wish that was different as many parents of little ones wish they could have was more sleep!! Praying that in 2013 my prayer is answered. Here's a recap of what 2012 brought us.
January 2012 - Still trying to get the hang of being parents of two little ones, this was my daughters FIRST hike at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. She was barely three months old.
February 2012 - We headed out to one of the 60 Bay Area Hikes on our list. San Bruno Mountain State Park. It was a gorgeous day, first time I was able to see the Pacific Ocean and the entire Bay Area.
March 2012 - Oh March, took us to one of God's most beautiful places in the world, Hawaii. I still haven't had a chance to blog about our Hawaii trip. This is Beach 69 on the Big Island. I fell in love with snorkeling.
April 2012 - My husband and I are Youth Leaders at our church, and we took our youth group an awesome youth conference called Planet Wisdom.
May 2012 - This year I turned 30 and loving it!!
June 2012 - We led a youth missionary trip to Ensenada, Mexico, where we served our fellow Mexican brothers and sisters. We camped at at Rancho el Refugio for one week.
July 2012 - We enjoyed camping at Sunset State Beach over the weekend with our church family.
August 2012 - Brought us to Highland Lakes, where we camped and hardly hiked due to being so sick. We later made up for no hiking at Highland Lakes with a hike at Jack London State Historic Park.
September 2012 - My first half marathon, San Francisco Giants Half Marathon. I don't even know my exact statistics but I think I finished in 2 hours and 25 minutes or something like that. I was just glad to be finished. It was really awesome. We also celebrated my little girl's First Birthday!!
October 2012 - Hiking at my favorite hike of this year, Portola Redwoods State Park. My kids LOVED this hike!
November 2012 - We found a little gem east bay park, Dublin Hills Regional Park. It was amazing to see how many people loved this picture on Facebook and Instagram. People thought I went out of the country, haha.
December 2012 - We went on a mini mission trip, where my husband did his Engineering work at Rancho El Refugio and we visited our local pastors. We also had the joy of celebrating my little boy's 3rd Birthday!! I also haven't had a chance to blog about our Disneyland adventure.
I always tell my husband that we need to travel more but as I write this posting I notice that we do travel a lot. I guess we like to travel and have family adventures. The one thing I can say is that God is very good to us by allowing us to see the world He created and I can't wait to see what He will have in store for us in 2013. Happy New Year!!
Tomorrow I'm running my first half marathon, San Francisco Giants Half Marathon. I'm excited to run, hoping I can run my 10 minute/miles as I hoped to when I first started training three months ago. My last run, I was running 9:30 minute/miles but I only ran 4 miles.
Yay! I'm just glad this day is finally here. Happy running!!
Yay! I'm just glad this day is finally here. Happy running!!