Winner Creek Hand Tram

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After helping 3 mom’s with 11 kids cross the the Winner Creek Hand Tram my arms were jello! But Pup and I made it to the gorge before helping more people cross the hand tram on the way back. Sure wish there was a foot pedal because we all know my legs are stronger the my upper body.

Maroon Bells – Aspen, CO

Maroon bells may be as picturesque as you can get in CO. It’s a huge tourist attraction drawing hundreds if not thousands of people a day. So beautiful and popular that the National Park Service doesn’t allow cars to drive up to the top between the hours of 8 AM – 5 PM. It is only accessible by a (dog friendly) bus ride to the top during the day. Of course I picked one of the busiest weekends at Maroon Bells to try and run here. Since there is color on the trees folks come from all over to get a picture. This made me have to wake up at 6 AM to get a spot at the top, even at 6AM the lot was filling up quick.Pup and I chilled in the van til the sun started to light up the darkness. I then walked around to stretch pup as I focused on the run. After meeting a few runners the night before I planned on running up West Maroon Trail for about ten miles.Maroon Peak is a 14er and surround by several other 14ers as you are in the meadow near Cater Lake. With the high altitude, breathing is still tough for me while running upward. But I managed to get 11 miles on this beautiful trail.I also had my second moose encounter with a very curious young bull that was b-lining it to the lake.If you are in the Apsen, CO area a stop at Maroon Bells is definitely worth your time.  

You think my toes look bad? You should see the rock I kicked!

You think my toes look bad? You should see the rock I tripped on…kicked it so hard it came out the dirt! 

About 2 miles into a 7 mile run to Minnesota’s highest peak (Eagle Mountain in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness) I tripped and fell hard. Trying to save my face from hitting the rocks I first hit the ground with my left hand holding a water bottle. I am calling it a pretty graceful fall, as I caught myself semi-sliding with my right hand and knee in a kneeling position. I jumped up quickly and took off running while trying to shake it off. After a the short sprint I slowed to a walk to assess the damage. No visible blood or scratches, just dirt. Only thing was I had a pain in my left heal and my toes felt numb’ish when I pushed off. A smart person would turn around and call 4 miles a good day. Well, being the stubborn runner I am I continued walking up to the summit.  
Hitting an overlook I got a surge of notifications on my phone as I picked up service for the first time in a day. Taking it as a sign I called my Dad. Told him what happen and jokingly said that I might get eaten by a wolf, bear or mountain lion. After hanging up I could feel my foot was starting to swell. I looked around for the summit marker to make my Minnesota’s highest peak run official. I ended up hiking a bit more to find it up the trail. 

On the way down I started to walk/hobble. It only hurt if my toes bent around a rock or root. Knowing it would only get worse I started to run the 3.5 miles back to the van. With luck I only aggravated my toes a few times on the way down.

Getting back to the van I was nervous to see what the pain was all about. Removing my shoe and sock I see my 4th and 5th toes were black and blue. My 4th toe had a small puncture with a little blood where I assumed the cut came from my pinky toenail. Since no bones were sticking out I concluded that medical attention was not needed. I drove to the nearest town to get a bag of ice, beer and some junk food to help ease the pain.

As I near my home town to close out my East Coast journey this is almost a fitting circumstance. A month in I had a incident where I injured my left hand crawling into a cave to see a 35ft waterfall. Smashing my hand into a rock I bruised my pinky and ring finger causing horrific pain for serval days. 

Either way I recovered nicely…free camping with a bunch of left over cut fire wood and a lake view in Superior National Forest. 

McAfee Knob run and a great story of a AT thru hiker


Met the guy pictured above at the top of my 9 mile run to McAfee Knob on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. His story is pretty awesome!

In his 20s he started to thru hike the Appalachian Trail but only got a little ways in on his quest. This retired high school English teacher is continuing his journey from where he left off 30 years later. His friends call him Stubby or to his students Mr. Stubblefield. He was overwhelmed to hear about my journey and smiled big with the few stories I shared him.

But it’s real stories like his that inspire me and gives me true guidance. It let’s me know I am suppose to be here at this exact time and place. As we exchanged safe travel farewells Stubby left me with a quote he felt fit my life and dream.  

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller