On the Trail: Rain forest run | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: Rain forest run

Joel Stonington

Friday morning, early, I got up, laid out the doggy towels in the back seat, got Tenakee (6-year-old husky) and drove out to Snowmass. It was raining. Hard. I had decided earlier, however, to run a 21-mile loop up East Snowmass Creek, over two passes and down Snowmass Creek. I donned my raincoat, put on the Camelbak, checked the map and set off up the creek. The first surprise was that it started off going up, sharply. I got out the map and realized that was going to be it, the whole way. But as stated before, I was determined.So I started running.It felt like running in a cold rain forest. Everything was wet. Mist clung to the mountains. For much of it, I felt like I was in a cloud. Visibility was low. The rocks underfoot were slick. My raincoat was quickly wet inside and out. My shoes were squishy within the first few miles. But I kept it up. Soon the coat was hooked onto the backpack and my hair was dripping. There’s something about deciding on a seemingly unreachable goal. It keeps me going. I was getting tired, but also getting filled with the unusual sights of a drenched Colorado valley in early fall. And somehow, I might have turned back earlier had it not been for the thought of pulling off a 20+ mile day. I was up into mile six or seven when it got cold enough that I had to put the raincoat and gloves back on. The mist was all around but as I went higher, it seemed to be slowly lifting as more and more of the valley came into view. I thought about turning around at a few points, but carried on. I hit a relatively steep uphill and stopped suddenly at the top with a view that hit me like a ton of bricks. I had come to the top of the valley with East Snowmass Creek and found myself face-to-face with a U of mountains similarly formed to the Bells. They were covered with snow. As were the passes I was hoping to cross. I smiled, stood for a few moments, took a deep breath and turned around with a sigh of relief for the run back to the car.Joel Stonington’s e-mail is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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