Running (Trail) 6:00:00  31.0 km (11:37 / km) +1700m 9:07 / km
weight:65.5kg shoes: Hoka Stinson 5 ATR
Hawk Lake trail (opposite side of highway 93 from the Floe Lake trailhead) to Ball Pass to Shadow Lake to Gibbon Pass to Twin Lakes to Arnica Lake to Vista Lake, with Melissa, Gary, Doug, Miro and Krista.
I really can’t remember the last time I ran this far (not this year for sure), so I wasn’t sure how my body would feel about it. Melissa told us it would be a 900 metre day (wrong :) ) which sounded pretty mild by Rockies standards. Also, a lot of folks weren’t looking to hammer because this was intended to be a larch viewing outing (they are all turning gold). We hiked about a third of the distance, most of the steep uphills, so that made it a lot easier on the body.
None of us had been to Ball Pass or Gibbon Pass, so this was a fun discovery for all of us. This is really enjoyable route and I already can’t wait to do it again next summer. Ascending Ball Pass is really cool and mostly runnable. There was no one on this trail, even though the parking lot was overflowing where we dropped a car at the other end. Everyone wants to see the golden larches and that’s the trail a lot of people picked (as we ran out, I felt it would be a difficult trail for most of those people and it takes quite a while until they get to the larches. It wouldn’t be my first recommendation for the average person.).
The cabins at Shadow Lake are super cute. The lodge was shutting down after this weekend and wanting to get rid of food so they offered us lunch for $15. Tempting but we weren’t planning to stop for that long, and had lunch with us. Maybe next year I will stay at the campground and check if the lodge is offering discounted lunch again.
Gibbon Pass was also really cool and loaded with even more larches than Ball Pass. Unfortunately we got really wet off the vegetation that encroached on the trail up to Ball Pass and we were pretty chilly. We took turns up front getting soaked. Fortunately everyone had enough clothes to change into and layer up so we were fine later in the run. We got hit with some heavy snowfall (3 cm per hour or more, I reckon) for a little while after Ball Pass but it cleared up by the time we got to Shadow Lake where a friend of Krista’s at the lodge gave us free homemade cookies.
The sun came out briefly at Gibbon Pass which was nice. Saw just a couple of groups of people. Then as we got to Twin Lakes and Arnica Lake we saw more and more people, and then lots on the final descent to Vista Lake.
A great day, a fun crew and a really great route that I will go back and enjoy on a nice warm summer day even though larches won’t be golden. So many route combination possibilities in that area. It would be a great place to base yourself if you were wanting to do a multi-day training camp :)