Below is a trail condition update (June 22, 2009) from Don Moden who
seems determined to really enjoy the high country.
For the third weekend now I thought I would pass along my training
report and finally a POSITIVE one.
Mike Farris and I once again covered a solid section of the course.
Yesterday we parked at the Maggie Gulch bathrooms, hiked up the road
Maggie Aid, Pole, Sherman, Burrow's, Handies, Grouse, and back down
the road to the car. A reasonable 10:40 day with windy conditions,
but NO rain or snow.
1) Saturday once again showed the unpredictable weather in the San
Juan Mountains. The 94 dropped runners at San Juan Solstice 50 can
attest to that as the forecast called for 40% of thunderstorms and
instead it was a lasting snow storm on the divide.
2) The Hardrock course. Maggie to Pole was a great section. No snow
to speak of, but very muddy & wet. There was a huge Elk herd (1,000
head) in the upper basin and they have been using the trails. Along
with the slow melt this year the trail is pretty messy in spots.
3) Pole to Sherman. Oh my, can high alpine trail running get any
better! Beautiful trail the whole way.
4) Sherman to Burrows. Begged water off a passing car. They didn't
have any beer. :-)
5) Burrows to Handies. Perfect trail until near the top. Maybe 150
feet from the top there is a snow shoot that covers the trail. It is
dicey to cross, and then straight up to the ridge as the trail is
under snow. With some blue bird days this might melt out. The last
pitch up the
rocky switchbacks to the summit has snow in them, but I am pretty sure
this will be gone. We ran into Bill Geist at the top with brother &
sister-in-law. Bill was doing an easy recovery hike after logging an
11:32 at San Juan the day before. Stud!
5) Handies to Grouse. Good trail down with a few glissades to where
the course splits off the American Basin trail. From here there are
snow crossings, but none with adverse results if you slip. These
might melt out, but it will take nice weather until the race. What I
call Grouse Pass
is a solid snow field on the American Basin side for the last 50 - 75
yards, but we walked right up it. Nothing on our shoes. A couple
on the Grouse Gulch side and clear trail to the road.
So, all in all this section of the course is going to be perfect for
the race. A group of us will be doing the Telluride to Silverton
coming Saturday. Then it will be time to rest until the race. I hope
all is well with all of you and I look forward to meeting a few of you