Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flattop/Odessa Lake

After a week of breathing smoke, I wanted to head for the hills.  I also wanted to get in a good trail run, since I've been afraid to do much running outside this week.  So, I convinced Dan to try to run up Flattop Mountain with me in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Surprisingly, he was game and we headed up after a leisurely morning at home.

We started at Bear Lake around 11:30 and ran up the Flattop Mountain Trail for about 45 minutes.  As we were nearing the treeline, the wind was really picking up and it was cold.  I was running slowly and Dan was walking at this point, so we decided to turn around and explore other trails that were more sheltered from the wind.  We turned off to head towards Odessa Lake.  The trail was really pretty and wound it's way through pine forests.  The soft pine needles made for good running!  Near Lake Helene (where Dan practiced using crampons at a CMC class in June) the trail cut through bands of rock clifs and descended to the lake.  We arrived at Lake Odessa 2 hours after we started our run.  We stopped for a quick lunch and then went to explore around the lake.

Dan found some big boulders that he played on for a bit.  I found a small trail that led to a sandy beach on the far side of the lake.  It almost looked like a sand bar.  We continued on a faint, but distinct trail probably a mile north of the lake.  It disappeared as we got to the talus fields, but there were still a few cairns marking a route.  We heard two climbers in this gully, but we couldn't see them anywhere.  We explored a bit further on, but set a time limit as we were in our running clothes and didn't have full packs.  Our highpoint revealed two lakes and more steep gully beyond where we stopped.  We decided to head down the talus and then cut over to the east back to the trail.  It took about half an hour, but we did it and soon we were on our way back to the car.

We passed a few people on the way down and then stopped at a trail junction where some backpackers were looking at maps and appearing a bit confused.  We stopped to talk to them and learned they were from Miami and New Orleans.  Very cool.  Then, two of the hikers we had already run past, met up with us.  I looked down and saw familiar leather gloves on one guy, just as he said, "Hey Dan, how's it going."  It was Dan's friend Dan Adams from the bike shop who we hiked up South Arapaho Peak with last September.  He was the one we heard climbing up in the gully.  We walked down the rest of the trail with him and his roommate and caught up a bit.  A fun day of Colorado adventuring!


C.P. said...

hey, i'm planning on trying to run up flat top this weekend. any beta? think it's doable?

Dan said...

The trail is runnable to the summit of Flattop and you can continue along the CD trail for who knows how far. We recently ran up Flattop and then mostly hiked off trail to a bunch of other peaks.

(Sorry for the late reply -- Blogger only recently made it reasonable to notice someone posted a comment. Hope you made it out during the summer, should be nice and snowy now!)