Yet another excellent Colorado weekend under the belt, although really every day is like a weekend when one is on staycation! After my rafting adventures on Day 5 I decided to go for a fairly low-key Day 6 activity and so I dragged my friend Melissa, who has been a great sport about my staycation agenda, to Mount Evans with me. Mount Evans is one of the famous “Fourteeners” in Colorado at 14,240 feet and is the highest paved road in North America. It is also the only Fourteener that can be reached by car and it is definitely a quintessential Colorado activity. Melissa and I initially headed down Colorado 103 and missed the turnoff to the road up to Mount Evans, but this was a happy mistake as the view off of 103 was incredible.
Following the minor detour, we finally made it back to Echo Lake and got on the right road up to Mount Evans. The day that Melissa and I went was also the day of the Mount Evans Ascent, a 14.5 mile run up the paved road to the top of the mountain. My new goal is to try and do the run next year, which will definitely require some intense training! We saw lots of runners and bikers heading up the road, and there is nothing that makes you feel insignificant quite like watching someone ride a bike at 14,000 feet while you’re in the comfort of a car. The view at the top was awesome, but it was windy and cold so Melissa and I didn’t linger for very long at the summit.
After our Mount Evans adventure, I took Melissa back to Idaho Springs and then headed to Evergreen for a trail run, since I was already on I-70. I ran about five miles at Alderfer/Three Sisters, one of my all-time favorite trail running spots, in perfect 65 degree running weather. The trails were not crowded at all and as I was running through a forest of Ponderosa pine trees I had one of those “My life is awesome” moments. I love living in Colorado.
The Colorado fun continued on Day 7, as I did the Incline in Manitou Springs. The Incline is an old cable tram path that transported tourists in the 1900s to the top of Mount Manitou and now is used by crazy hikers and runners as a challenging workout. In the course of the ascent to the top, more than 2,000 vertical feet are gained, and it was probably the hardest workout that I have done in a long time. Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted from all of my staycation activities last night, but when some of my friends invited me to dinner at the Phipps Mansion, I couldn’t say no. Making friends with people in graduate school with people that like to cook and that live in mansions was by far the best decision I have ever made.