To the Camp

The Thing I’m Doing This Year #27

After a four-week hiatus from hiking, I work up at 4:45a, got to Barr Trail and hiked the 6.5 miles, covering the 3,800 feet of elevation gain to the camp in two hours and 15 minutes, which is 20 minutes off my goal, but an encouraging sign for nevertheless.

By getting to the trail so early I had a lot of elbow room out there. I wasn’t anywhere near strong on the W’s, I didn’t have a great time at the Incline Sign, but I didn’t feel bad either. I got behind some guy at some point and just let him pull me up the mountain like a tug boat. I stopped stopping and just motored, tried to run when he ran. Got to the 7.8 sign and just kept going. Usually that’s a good place to take a break, eat some food, but we kept going. I passed him at some point and he passed me right back which was fine with me. After the 7.8 sign, there are plenty of opportunities to run, which I did.

barr campThe trail gets very rocky closer to the camp. At one point the entire trail was covered in a moving stream of water, which was a little confusing because the snow cap on the mountain top was already melted. Nature, you’ve got to love it. Even closer to the camp you start to see white stones in the trail and there’s also a fence. Lots of little rock steps and then you see the framed out wood bridge over a little creek leading to the camp bunkhouse. I checked my watch as I crossed the bridge for the first time in years at two hours, 15 minutes.

I was pleased. In the old days, that time would have sucked, but for now, it’s a good baseline. In 2009, I did four hikes to the camp starting at 2:15 and each trip got faster and faster until I did a 2:01 on the fourth one. Maybe that will happen this time.

My main goal is still 1:55, but a good intermediate goal would be sub-two hours.

I’m not backing off; I’m just looking at realistic options. I’ve only gone under two hours three times, so that would be a major achievement too.

I can’t go slower than 2:15 though; that would be tough to take mentally.

So at the camp, I take off my pack and head to the outhouse, which is such an amazing treat. Oh sure it smells like shit, but here’s the deal, I pull down my completely sopping wet running shorts – wet with sweat, I should say – and sit down. A big issue with hiking and sweating is the dreaded chafing. Fortunately, I know about chafing and use Body Glide.

The night before my marathon I’m reading articles online about running in the rain when I learn about the dangers of skin rubbing whilst wet. So at 8p the night before my marathon, I talk to Rose who is out shopping and she picks me up a wondrous product called Body Glide. The morning of the run in Denver, I apply Body Glide all over everywhere, including … well … everywhere … just in case. At the finish line we see a dude running who obviously didn’t use Body Glide and he was bleeding from his … sorry … nipples.

Meanwhile back in the outhouse, I sit my sweaty, Body Glide oily ass down and feel the rush of a strong, cool breeze coming up from the earth through the commode. That just feels good.

I got back to the cabin and eat my pb&j sandwich. People camp and Barr Camp outside and some rent a place to sleep in the bunkhouse, often times to then hike up to Pikes Peak the next morning.

Me, I just eat, take some pictures and head down. I started to run and felt some discomfort in my groin muscle, so very early on, I decided to walk the six-and-a-half miles. Thought it might help with the post-hike pain.

It didn’t.

I’m looking forward to making several attempts at the camp before leaving for Italy, but next up is another trip to Southern California.

The next installment … “Iranians in America”

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