Q: Hey Josh: you just completed the grueling San Juan Solstice Run yesterday, 50mi of high altitude running in southern Colorado that kicked your tail pretty good. What are you gonna do next?
A: Heck, I'm gonna take a 'recovery' hike on nearby 14ers Redcloud and Sunshine, that's what!
And so the day after a successful finish at SJS50, I found myself riding shotgun (with the intrepid Rob Youngren driving) in a Jeep Wrangler south of Lake City, CO enroute to the the trailhead for Redcloud Peak (14,034') and Sunshine Peak (14,001'). And we enjoyed a perfect weather day to boot, sunny blue skies, mild temps, just gusting winds; no storms or black clouds in sight.
Having not slept all that great after the race and still hungry, woke up early and got a big breakfast from the Tic-Toc Diner before heading over the race's awards ceremony at 0830. Joined by several other runners, including Joe Prusaitis and John Sharp, at the diner trying to refuel body stores with omelettes and pancakes! Starting at 0830, the race directors, like the race itself, put on a great awards ceremony with finishing prizes for all and tons of raffled items (which means, of course, I didn't get my name pulled for a prize!)
Afterwards, a group of runners caravan'ed down to the trailhead, including me, Rob, Kathy Youngren, Tony Gonzales, Perry Sebastian, Sally Brookings, Marty Coleman, Janice Anderson, and Vikena Yutz. We left the trailhead with perfect weather about 1100 and began the hike up to Redcloud. With several breaks on the 4.5mi route, we made the summit about 1400 and proceeded to take plenty of photos (view here at my Picasa account).
Since the afternoon weather was good, despite the 50-60mph wind gusts, we traversed the saddle going south for 1.5mi and quickly gained the top of Sunshine Peak.
Not content to simply reverse course back to Redcloud and head down, fearless adventurer Rob lead us down a SW finger off Sunshine through a crazy scree slope on the western face of the mountain. About 1300' below we took a break near a patch of snow before making our way down a chute in the rock formations. The chute took us a while, but culminated in several folks (Marty, Tony) getting long buttslides down snowpacks [very cool]. We traversed about another miles of rocks before coming into a long creekbed and draw in the mountain and down to the main trail. Then another 2mi downhill hike to the parking lot and trailhead, arriving just past 1900.
Thanks to Kathy's parent (Arthur and Mary Ann Faulkner) for treating us to a great dinner back at their cabin. We jawboned away another hour and watched the dogs make mischief for a while, experimenting with several beers from the New Belgium Brewing Co.
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