Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lawn Lake

On my first trip to Lumpy Ridge two years ago, Kemp and I listened carefully to the directions on how to make it around the loop.  Well, maybe we didn't really listen that carefully, but we did hear the part about "you don't want to go to the Cow Creek Trailhead".  So when we got to this sign
we went left.  We continued on far a couple miles, steadily uphill wondering when we'd hit the rolling valley and the climb to Gem Lake that we'd been told about.  One other piece of info I remembered being told by a Lumpy veteran was that the elevation of the trail topped out just a bit over 9000 feet.  I started to think we might have made a wrong turn as the elevation on my Garmin hit 10,000.  So, we decided to turn around and head back to the trailhead, because we knew the others that we had come with would be waiting.  Completing the Lumpy Loop would have to wait for another day, but I also was curious about the "wrong" trail we had taken and looked it up to see that it continued on to Lawn Lake at 11,000 feet in the heart of the Mummy Range.  This seemed like a great run with a nice bit of climbing and some good close to home elevation and I tucked it away as a good run for another day.
Well, yesterday was that day and I went up to the Lumpy Trailhead with my wife and mother-in-law to run to Lawn Lake.
We got a reasonably early start and were on the trail by 6:30 am.  I had decided to take this run pretty easy since I am running the Silver Rush 50 this weekend, but we also had limited time and I really wanted to get out to the lake so I pushed out from the trailhead at a conservative yet steady pace.  It was a cool morning with some slightly ominous clouds off to the west and I hoped I could get out and back before any severe weather came in.
The plan with Ean and Jill was that we'd be back to the car within 5 hours.  I figured I could make it to the lake in that time and I knew it would be a bit quicker coming back so even if I took a little longer on the way out I should be fine.  I headed into RMNP and up the long climb to the junction where Kemp and I had made the wrong turn before and got there in just under and hour.  The trail towards Lawn Lake dropped down along a creek for a ways and passed the McGregor Mountain trail then started to climb pretty seriously for a couple miles.  Mile 7 climbed nearly 800 feet and then the trail topped out at just over 11,000 about 8.5 miles in.  It was beautiful up there surrounded by rocky peaks with water running down the trail though green meadows dotted with wildflowers.  There were some patches of snow, but the trail was mostly clear.

The last mile out to the lake was amazing dropping down to a raging creek and opening into a stunning high mountain bowl inside the Mummy Range.  I took a few pictures, marveled at the scenery, had something to eat and turned around to head back.
The run back felt great and I soon realized that even though I didn't leave Lawn Lake until 2:45 minutes had passed on the clock, I would have no problem making it back to the car in under 5 hours.  I ran in to Marie who on the trail, just back from her crewing adventures at Hardrock.  I caught up to Ean and Jill about a mile from the trailhead, they had stopped to wait for me, and we hiked back to the car together.

5 hours of running and hiking, 19 miles, 4249 feet of elevation gain and all of it between 7776 and 11,031 feet and I felt great.  This was a nice confidence boost after feeling pretty tired for the last few weeks and feeling really weak on the 20 mile run at altitude with Dan in Leadville a week and a half ago.  I am now looking forward to the Silver Rush race this weekend and I feel that with a few easy days for the rest of this week, I should be able to have a good run - maybe even go sub 10:00.  We'll see.

GPS Data

1 comment:

  1. Looks nice, Alex. I'll have to put that one on my list. Glad to hear you're feeling strong, have a great race up in Leadville.