I've been wanting to run a double on Bergen Peak in Evergreen for a few years now, but it's hard enough to run it once (10.5 miles, 2,300 feet of gain topping out at 9,700 feet). This isn't an epic mountain ultra or anything, but it's hard and you have to set aside the time. I did today, on snowy trails no less.
I ran one lap, and honestly the second lap came down to having time, having food/water, and not wanting to go home and waste my afternoon doing nothing useful. Until I can learn to not waste my time, I guess I'll keep running.
It was significantly cooler on top, and I had trouble keeping the fingers warm. I resorted to tucking my water bottle under my arm and pulling my various sleeves over my hands. Chilly, probably 10 degrees cooler than the parking lot which was around 45 degrees depending on the wind.
And it was quiet; in 6+ hours there were two other groups on the summit trail. It was great. Graupel hitting my hood, snow everywhere. I kept thinking about lines to ski through the trees.
Running through snowy lodgepole pine forests was bliss. Photos can't convey how beautiful it was, and on the descent I was making the first tracks of the day.
On both laps however, both ascending and descending, the slushy snow on the bottom third of the route was a chore. It was warm enough that it was slippery. I can deal with the slop, but having my foot slip and threaten to pull muscles or trip me, is not much fun. There was some cursing.
Back at the parking lot I ate a sandwich, filled my bottles, and decided I'd try a second loop. I started off towards gray, angry skies:
The stomach was angry too, since I ate and promptly started running uphill. I do this on long runs, but it's usually at the top and I'm running downhill, which is more relaxed. I had to keep stopping to walk, to let things settle down.
Other than that, I still ran uphill and felt pretty good. The bad footing and the cold temps threw me off a little, and I walked with my hands in my pockets to warm them up a couple of times. But energy was good the whole 20 miles.
Speaking of warmth, about 3/4 of the way up, I passed a guy in shorts and a T-shirt who was hiking with someone much better prepared, wearing pants, shell and a backpack. You see these pictures, right? It was COLD! Later it started snowing and they're hurrying to get to the top, he had to be hurtin'. I was wearing tights, shorts, wool socks, three layers plus a light wind shell, gloves and a hat. And it was just enough at the top.
Distance was 21.32 miles, time 6:54 (moving 5:08), elevation gain/loss 4,512 feet, avg. pace 19:27 (moving 14:28), and best pace 7:14.
I was trying to do the second lap in the same time as the first, but being tired and having some cramps from eating too much at the halfway mark, I think I went 3:15 and then 3:28, plus about 15 minutes to eat/fill water bottles at the car. There was a certain amount of time for photos as well, but I tried to be quick.
That run was kind of hard. But it left me smiling.
Sunday (next day) - Some cramping in the calves, aches in the shoulders. I guess my water-bottle carrying was not that efficient.