Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What I Wish People Knew About Runners With Eating Disorders

I tried to write this post over two years ago. I regurgitated my personal eating disorder story onto the page (ironic, I know) and let it sit on Blogger as a "draft." I have reread it from time to time and I don't think I will ever post it. It's cringeworthy and I decided that no matter how many times I edit it and no matter how many ways I try to explain myself, you can't get people to fully understand what it's like to have a mental health issue. Even when I meet other people with eating disorders, I can never fully understand their story because "unhealth" plays out differently for everyone.

So why am I writing now? Recently iRunFar published an article written by the Trail Sisters called Weight and the Accompanying Head Games. I think the authors were well meaning but as I read it, a pit began to grow in my stomach. I made sure to eat a snack but the pit was still there. I read the comments section and felt physically ill. How do so many runners misunderstand eating disorders and why are the majority of people so tactless while discussing it? I knew it was time to write.

The Trail Sisters article was not the first I read that hit a nerve. I remember reading an Anna Frost profile back in 2012 published by Trail Runner Magazine written by Rickey Gates. You can read it here. The way Anna talked about her weight loss patterns before races really bothered me. She knew it was unhealthy but it was reported so nonchalantly. At the time, I was just beginning to discover what it felt like to be healthy and the way it was reported made me feel like her unhealthy eating habits were acceptable, maybe even expected, if you wanted to compete at a high level. Since then, I have read other articles and books that touched on how weight affects runners and as a person who has struggled with eating disorders I always feel so misunderstood.

I don't like to tell my story because people in my life seem to blame themselves for not noticing sooner, but so that you can know where I'm coming from, here's one paragraph of my history. I ran cross country 7th-9th grade and quit after my Freshman year because I would get panic attacks before and during races. I became anorexic during my Sophomore year and I found that it gave me a feeling of control that I couldn't find anywhere else. I stopped getting my period and the doctor should have diagnosed me but instead just told me to gain weight. Due to my low weight, my body did not produce the hormones to develop a healthy bone density and I will probably always have pre-osteoporosis (osteopenea). Sometime during my Junior or Senior year I started a new habit. I would starve myself during the day because I felt self-conscious eating around others but when I was home alone I would find things to binge eat. This pattern of starve and binge continued through my Freshman year of college and after spending the summers in Colorado working at a youth camp, I started to develop healthy eating habits. After spending a lot of time backpacking and trail running, I finally view food as energy that allows me to go on great adventures.

Now I will get to the point. Here are the things I wish people knew about runners who have had eating disorders.

You can't just look at a group of runners and know who has an eating disorder. I have heard a lot of people say something like, "I was at the starting line and there was this skinny bitch next to me and I just knew she was anorexic." First of all, being anorexic is NOT an advantage. If she was really starving herself than she would not have the energy to compete at her highest level. There are skinny girls who don't have an eating disorder and there are girls who appear to be a normal weight but if you observe their relationship with food, you will see they have a disorder. When I hear someone say, "Oh she's a good runner but did you know she has an eating disorder?" I always want to respond by saying, "You sound jealous. You don't seem very happy with yourself or your abilities. Why don't we focus on solving that."

Please be sensitive about the way you talk about food and weight. The hard thing is, you might not know that your running buddy has a past with eating disorders. I have a friend who does not have an eating disorder who has made comments about how if people ask you if you are eating enough, then you are at your ideal race weight. On another occasion, when I mentioned how I couldn't wear waist packs because they don't stay on my hips, a friend mentioned how they worked fine for his girlfriend because she was so skinny. I wanted to correct him and say that it was because she doesn't have hips or a waist, but I took a deep breath and let it go. We know you are well meaning but it's hard to forget your words.

When you talk to us about "Race Weight" it's like describing your delicious craft beer to an alcoholic. Yes, I read Matt Fitzgerald's book and it was informative. Yes, I know the statistics about how losing x pounds makes you x seconds faster per mile. I can never be the person who follows a rigid nutrition and exercise plan. The problem is that it is addictive and gives me so much control that I will obsessively adhere to it until the point where well, to be honest, I kill myself. There was once a time where every day I would weigh myself, take my blood pressure, do a body fat analysis, record my exercise and hours of sleep, and then at the end of every week I would average it and at the end of every month I would average the weekly averages... you see where this is going, right? No matter what works for you, the alcoholic is not going to sit at the bar with you and enjoy just one beer. I know you love your coach, or your training plan, or this new book that is helping you lose fat and build muscle, but excuse me while I listen to my heart and go chase butterflies through mountain meadows. It's taking all of my self will, not to fall back into my addictive patterns.

We are never really "cured." I read this really awesome article by Ashley Arnold in Trail Runner Magazine and you can read it here. Towards the very end of the article she quotes Diane Israel who is referencing an idea from Carl Jung that instead of pursuing a cure we are just on a journey. I like that idea because as much as I'd like to think that I am healed and would never relapse, I have to just be thankful for the place I'm at right now and trust that if I went back to my old ways, then I would have friends and family who would get me the help I need. If we pursue being healthy then there are steps forward and sometimes there are steps back, but we are still going somewhere. We don't need people to hyper-vigilantly watch what we eat, but please ask us if there are ways you can help or habits you can watch out for.

It's not about the number on the scale or the image in the mirror, it's about our self-worth and the control we gain through our relationship with food. There are a lot of different types of eating disorders and I won't pretend that everyone has the same motivations. I think people who are attracted to ultra-running are intense, highly self-motivated, and prone to obsessiveness and as a result, ultra-runners who have had eating disorders have similar themes in their stories. When someone says, "I think you look good the way you are. People look better with a little meat on their bones, " I appreciate that, really I do. But honestly I don't care what you think is attractive. I'm not looking for praise or a self-esteem boost. When I was at my worst, I wrote repeatedly in my journal about how if my life continued the way it was going, I would rather be dead. I felt like I had no control over anything and I was full of self-loathing. My eating disorder felt like a temporary solution to all of that. It was like a razor blade to a cutter: I finally had control over something and I could slowly kill myself with it. If your significant other has an eating disorder or you have a friend with an eating disorder, you can tell them you think they are pretty the way they are or prettier with more meat on their bones and they won't care. At the end of the day they have to deal with their own self-hate.

Don't tell us that we can't run. I've read opinions from a variety of nutritionists and sports doctors and there seems to be a prevailing thought that if you've had an eating disorder then running will become destructive to you. While I recognize that they may have had clients who could not go about training in a healthy way, that is not true for everyone. I like to believe that if I can approach training for ultra-marathons in a healthy way, then I will learn principles that allow me to approach eating in a healthy way. Through running and backpacking, the way I thought about food was revolutionized. I don't even feel like the same person anymore. Training allows me to feel an aspect of control but teaches me that if I have to miss a day due to weather or illness, I'm not suddenly a worthless person. Achieving the goals that I set while training keeps me from feeling the self-loathing on a regular basis. When I don't achieve a goal, instead of turning against myself, I'm challenged to re-examine how I define my self worth. Please don't take running away from me.

In conclusion, a lot of people are self-conscious about their weight. I think the reason why the Trail Sisters article bothers me so much is that I hear Gina and Pam saying, "Even though I hate feeling like a giant, I'll love my body in spite of that because I can power up mountains." And I hear Liza saying, "Even though I'm petite and tiny, I still don't always like the way I look." At the end of the article all I've heard is "I hate my body the way it is." That makes me so sad! Whether or not these ladies have struggled with eating disorders, I don't think that your self-worth should be based on a comparison to other women. The ideologies of "I'm bigger therefore I'm more powerful" or "I'm tinier therefore I can fly" are both slippery slopes to self-destruction. I prefer the same ideas without the comparisons. I'm powerful. I can fly.

P.S. If you want to read a blog post that will make you smile, read Emelie Forsberg's ideas here.

I'm powerful. I can fly.
(photo by Phil Snyder)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hixon 50k Race Report

About a month ago, my dad sent me this text, "Jake Hegge, married to Becka Miller is the RD for the first Hixon 25/50k. He just won the Superior 100 with a course record of 19:30. Come home and run it with me." Not usually one to say no to a race, I started to think about how I could possibly make it work. I was already scheduled to work that whole weekend, but after a lot of schedule shuffling at work I was able to get just a few short days off to travel back to Wisconsin. I didn't know this Jake and Becka that my dad mentioned but when someone from your hometown puts on a ultra-marathon, you show up and support it.

When talking about the race my parents kept referring to me as "the girl who was going to win it," but I found that highly unlikely. I knew the course was going to be hilly but more runnable than I was used to. I thought for sure there would be some fast road marathoner who could win it. All of my training this summer has been for Skyrunning races or for long adventures in the backcountry. I have no speed in these legs of mine and I think I was more apprehensive about this race course than for a race like the Rut or San Juan Solstice.

Throughout the weekend multiple people wanted a comparison of the bluffs of La Crosse to the mountains of Colorado. As far as Wisconsin is concerned, La Crosse is certainly hilly, but the terrain isn't easily comparable. Here are some numbers to compare: At the end of the Hixon 50k we had the biggest climb of the race coming in at ~500 feet of gain; at the end of the Ouray 100 mile race Cory had a climb with ~5,000 feet of gain. The climbs in Colorado are much longer and steeper which give the runner a mental and physical break from running. I haven't done a race in Colorado where I didn't take a sustained walk break. The Hixon 50k felt really difficult because even though it was hilly, I never got to take that walk break I was looking forward to. A runnable course is difficult in it's own way.

Before I get into the details of the race, it's important to describe two key things about people from the upper Midwest, things that were only glaringly obvious to me after spending so much time away. First of all, people are generally polite to a fault even if it comes at their own expense.  Secondly, people are bad at dealing with conflict and when forced, people will handle it as passive aggressively as possible.


Alright, onto the race. A good group formed at the race start and it was obvious that a lot of people knew each other. It's exciting to see such a strong ultra community in Wisconsin. The start of the race was relaxed and unceremonious and people seemed tentative to take any sort of lead. I hate leading and somehow, even though I was determined to start conservatively with my dad, I was the first girl to hop onto the single track that wound through the woods in upper Hixon. I didn't mean to but everyone was so polite about letting other people onto the single track that no one wanted to lead the train. Dad stuck close behind me, breathing like a freight train, and I just felt bad. I felt bad that I was making dad go out to fast, I felt bad that there was a train of super speedy guys trapped behind me, and my heart sank as I realized that I was not going to enjoy these first three miles of the race. One spectator cheered, "Isn't pack running the best!?" and it took all of my resolve not to say, "F*** you. Nobody thinks that right now!"

I contemplated letting the guys pass, but at the end of the train I could see two girls and you can't just let only guys pass. After a mile or two, dad said he was going to have to drop back and I was hoping some of the guys would use the wide corners as an opportunity to pass. I hugged the side of the trail and hollered back that they could pass if they wanted to but the guy behind me said that he was happy with the pace. Finally as we neared the end of the three mile loop some guys shot by me and eventually a girl caught up to me (her name was Kim). She looked strong and experienced and passed me with ease as we ran through the first aid station.

Next up we had four more miles of winding and rolling single track. I dialed it back and realized I needed to do a better job of taking care of myself. My quads were already on fire and I felt way more extended than I should have. I let another girl pass (Jennifer) and she looked like she wasn't even trying. She seemed to be falling a lot but it looked like she was having fun playing in the woods. It was time to work on my mental state. I was tired and not enjoying myself and that's not the way to start a race. I talked to some guys around me and met a nice guy named Dave and another guy named Al who had lived in Pittsburgh for a few years. Reminiscing about Pittsburgh took my mind off of the race and as we ran through the next aid station and descended into the Quarry section, I felt my mind hitting reset on the day.

Shortly after the Quarry aid station

At the bottom of the Quarry

I tried to keep up with Al as we hit a short road section and began the out and back loop to the Miller Bluff aid station. There was a woman not far behind us and I wanted to keep a comfortable lead on her. She caught us at the aid station since I stopped for water for the first time, but I gained on her on the downhills. As we bottomed out at the lower Hixon aid station, I was getting excited for the big climb that I had heard so much about. We did another rolling loop and the climb began. I could see the woman a switchback behind me and was impressed by her uphill ability. I thought we were only halfway done when a spectator told me that we were almost at the top. I hadn't gotten to take my walk break yet!

I felt a little cranky as we finished the loop and came into the start/finish aid station at mile 15.5. I was hoping to build more of a lead on the woman during the climb. My mom gave me some Tailwind and I stopped for water at the aid station. That allowed the woman to catch up to me. As we hit the single track section again we talked briefly and I started to pull ahead. She stayed within one or two switchbacks of me for the next three miles and I determinedly caught back up to Al. Just before the aid station, I caught Al and tried to encourage him since he seemed like he was hitting a rough patch but was determined to put a gap on the woman behind me in the next section.

I ran through the aid station at mile 18.7 and was feeling great. I felt strangely emotional and overwhelmed with happiness at how beautiful the course was and how perfect the weather was. I cruised through the next few miles and the woman behind me was no where in sight. Due to the nature of this winding single-track section, I was able to see Al's bright shirt a ways back but was relieved to know that I had put a sizable lead on the woman. I stopped for a few seconds at the Quarry aid station at mile 22.7 for a water refill and pushed on through the fast, flat section ahead.

Glorious single track

During this time, only one guy passed me on the road section and he was flying. Later he told me that this was his first trail race and the roads were just more comfortable for him. As I began the out and back loop to Miller Bluff I saw Kim, who I thought was in first, and I estimated she had 10 minutes on me. I thought Jennifer was between us so I started speeding up trying to catch her. I blew through the aid station, ran up the hill, ran up the road section, and picked up my speed as a hit the long downhill to the Lower Hixon aid station.

I passed a guy who was walking and then I excitedly caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a girl in front of me. I excitedly thought that maybe I could get second place. I quickly caught up as she was moving quite slowly and was furious when I saw who it was. It was the woman who I had fought so hard to put a gap on at mile 18. I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt and I contemplated not mentioning this part of the race but it still bothers me so much. This was the best-marked course I have ever run so it seemed unlikely that anyone could get lost. As I came alongside her, I asked in typical passive-aggressive Wisconsin form, "When did you pass me? I thought you were behind me?" Her response was simple, "Oh, I don't remember when I passed you." I was enraged. I was 100% percent sure that she did not pass me because I never even stepped off the course to pee.

I was so mad that as I ran by her, I told her that she should probably not continue since she had cut the course. I was mad at myself for being mad. I blew through the Lower Hixon aid station at mile 28.4 determined to not let her even get near to me. I turned over all of the possible scenarios in my head of how, where, and why, she could have cut the course. Maybe she got lost and didn't mean to. She had rolled her ankle, so maybe she had cut the course to get to an aid station faster. Surely she wouldn't finish the race since she had not run the whole route. I still don't know what her story is because I couldn't bring myself to talk to her after the race. Even though I still beat her, I was so angry and Wisconsin people are non-confrontational. Again, I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt because, though cutting this course would be easy, there really was no incentive to.

I was happy to finish in third place behind, who I learned were, two very respectable competitors. I talked to Kim, the woman who had passed me at the first aid station and ended up getting second, and found out that she used to work at a camp in Colorado and that she and her husband had lived in Montana before moving to Duluth, MN. She told me that she used to race a lot and had done Western States and Hardrock. What she didn't tell me was that she had actually been top 10 twice at Western and had finished in 4th at Hardrock. As her kids got older, racing became a less prominent part of her life and this was her first ultra in a while. I wish I also could have talked more to the winner, Jennifer, who seemed awesome and I heard she is also a mom. It's always so encouraging to hear about women who can balance being a mom with being a bad ass runner.

At the end of the day, it was probably the best first-year event that I have ever been at. Jake, Tyler, and Michael put on a flawless race and they had an incredible crew of volunteers. I'm so thankful I got to participate in this event and experience the amazingly gorgeous trails in La Crosse. I hope these guys have a long and successful career of racing and race directing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Rut 50k

A year ago we saw some sweet videos about the Rut. You can watch them here and here. We kept saying to each other, "Oh some day we should do the Rut." And then I realized that "some day" doesn't happen unless you make it happen. Cory was immediately on board. It ended up being the most difficult weekend of my life, but not for the reasons you would expect.

On Thursday, we packed up the car and made it to a beautiful camp site with a great view of Grand Teton. That night we took both dogs on a little shake out run. Mayla started dragging during the fourth mile, but that was typical and it was a warm evening. After making dinner we went to bed early and sweet Mayla Heart was so snuggly. If I had known it would be our last night together I would have made it more special, but now that I look back it was nearly perfect.

Sunrise near our tent

The next day we drove through Grand Teton and Yellowstone and made it to Big Sky. We had some fun at packet pick up, grabbed some amazing pizza at Blue Moon Bakery, and settled in with a fire at our camp site. Everything seemed normal when we gave the dogs dinner. Shortly before we went to bed, Mayla started giving us a sad face. A few minutes later, she threw up. After getting it out of her system she seemed normal and started jumping and doing tricks for treats. We figured she had just eaten some grass.

We went to bed, and again Mayla was super snuggly. She normally likes to be near us but not touching, and I kept waking up as she wiggled her way between our sleeping bags. At about 3am I woke up to the sound of her getting ready to throw up. It was different this time. She did not regain use of her limbs and could not get herself up. We started to clean her up and realized that she had lost control over all body functions. Finally we got her clean and comfortable - it had been less than 20 minutes - but she was fading and we didn't know what to do since we were 30 minutes from the nearest town in the middle of the night on a holiday weekend with no phone service.

Before we could even discuss how to find a vet, she threw up again and it was done. She wasn't breathing and her body wasn't pushing out the vomit. There was a lot of screaming, sobbing, yelling, and overall denial; it was the worst few hours of my life. The sun came up and we borrowed some shovels from the campground host. My baby is buried in Gallatin National Forest.

My sunshine

We thought about going straight home, but neither of us wanted to leave without her. Returning to routine would be too difficult. We also tend to deal with grief through running. By that point, Cory had missed the 25k but he took Cadi, our other pup, for a 10 miler and he got 15 miles in with her while I was running the 50k on Sunday. My heart wasn't in the race but I found myself at the starting line. Thanks to our friends, Josh and Ashley, for letting us stay at their vacation rental so we would not have to spend the night in that tent full of memories.

From here on out, this report will only be about the race.

I went back and forth about whether I should start in wave 2 or 3. Each wave was separated by 5 minutes so that the field would be more staggered once hitting single track. After wave 1 I was too antsy to wait any longer and new friend, Pat, and I suckered our friend, Clarke, into jumping into wave 2. We were off and soon we were stopped in a line waiting to climb some super sweet and steep single track in the dark. The sun came up and it was a glorious morning with Lone Peak looming above us in a cloud... What a tease.

Since getting injured after San Juan Solstice in June, the longest run I've done was 15 miles. We had done lots of long days in the mountains with a mix of hiking and running so I felt prepared for the middle part of the course when things got technical. I was most nervous about how runnable the first part of the course was, so I was eternally grateful to Clarke who spent most of the first 11 miles with me. We talked a bit, we were quiet a bit, and mostly we just took it easy.

After Aid 2 I had to take my first extended potty break in the woods (3 total... ugh). As I stumbled back to the trail, my friend, Melissa Mincic, caught me. She had started in wave 3 and I was hoping she would catch up because I had lost Clark and I needed some girl time. We chatted a bit on the climb and I tucked in behind her as she ran every other switch back.

Melissa ahead in white

We started on our first technical downhill with some talus and scree and I found that it slowed other people down more than it slowed me down. You see, I do all of my technical running with Cory and he is really good at it, so I thought I was bad. It turned out to be one of my strengths. We started the climb up to Headwaters Ridge and I found myself picking off a lot of people. Just as we hit the field of "dinner plate" talus, I came up on a line of people and they were moving too slow. At that point I couldn't get around them. As we climbed they missed a small switchback and I short-cutted by them. I felt really good at the top and the views were breath-taking.

We started the downhill and I pissed off a few people when I dodged by them. Soon the talus turned into dirt and the grade became painful on the knees. I backed off the pace. There were a lot more downhills.  Soon we began climbing again and I passed some people that looked pretty tired. I felt like a lot of people stopped eating on the technical sections and found themselves bonking when the trail got runnable again. I was so happy to see Cory and Cadi at the Swiftcurrent aid station and I loaded up on gels and water for the second half of the course.

I relished the climb up Lone Peak. This is what I had come for. Cory and Cadi surprised me and met me on the ridge. By the time I reached the summit, I realized that it had been awhile since I had put down calories. It was too hard to breathe, let alone eat. I felt woozy on the technical descent and my stomach was bothering me. Finally I stopped and let at least 6 people fly by me as I tried to eat a gel. I was starting to get a pounding headache with each step and I felt like I had to pee every 5 minutes. I needed some quick electrolytes but I forgot to bring my Endurolytes. I was counting on Tailwind but I was quickly running out of water and I had a long way to go to the next aid station.

Everyone talks so much about the climb up to Lone Peak that I hadn't given the last 12 miles of the course any thought. I had glanced at the course profile and it looked like there were three uphill sections after Lone Peak. I was nearly out of water and it was starting to get hot as I ran down a fairly flat dirt road, but I was sure I would be to the aid station soon. There were two guys and a dog cheering us on and they told me it was still at least three miles until the aid station! If I could have changed one thing about the course I would have put a water-only aid station here. With the technical descent and the two uphills I was about to face, it just took a lot longer than expected to move through these eight miles.

I finally neared the aid station after some beautiful and hilly single track on a mountain bike course - ramps and ropes included! New friend, Vern, and I looked back and admired the mountain from which we had come. We moved quick through the aid station where they told me we had 5.5 miles to the finish. Since my GPS already said that we had gone 28 miles I thought we were closer to the finish. Oh well. Just gotta keep on keepin' on.

After some amazingly runnable downhill singletrack and another uphill, I came around a corner and saw Cory and Cadi. I had made it to the finish! 9:37 I think. This was the best directed and organized race I have ever been a part of. Thanks to all of the people who worked their butts off to make it happen. I was so lucky to have a great day with some new friends and to see Cory and Cadi so much along the way. We will be back to run some more miles and to visit the place where we laid our sweet Mayla to rest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Can I please move to Ouray?

So I haven't been running at all over the past few weeks. After San Juan Solstice it felt like my foot was broken or on the verge of breaking. I went to the doctor and she told me to wear a boot for a week. I wore it for 5 days and couldn't take it anymore. I've started hiking again and am slowly easing back into things. I didn't want to be the blogger who complains about how much it sucks to be injured so I haven't had much to write about. Until now!

Last weekend we went to Silverton for the Kendall Mountain Run. Cory is trying to get some points in the Sky distance races (marathon and shorter) for the US Skyrunning series and I am trying to do the Ultra distance races. Unfortunately because of my injury I wasn't able to compete at the Power of Four 50k on Sunday. Having an extra day to hang out in the San Juans was even better.

We left on Thursday after work and camped in Salida. On Friday we hung out in Ouray and did a shakeout run with the pups.  Now I want to live there. We headed over to Silverton for packet pickup and camped for free on South Mineral Creek Rd. Cory got 11th place man (12th overall) at the race and felt pretty good about his effort. 

On Sunday it was rainy but I suckered him into hiking up to Island Lake. I don't really have words to describe how beautiful this hike was. Instead, here's an anecdote. As a kid I would go to my grandma's house and, being a good Swiss woman, she would let me watch the movie Heidi. In the movie Heidi, my doppelganger, lived in this picturesque cabin in the mountains where she could roam free and breath the fresh mountain air. Well it's Grandma's fault that I moved to Colorado because Heidi's living situation always seemed pretty great to me. When I got up to the basin that contained Island Lake, Ice Lake, and many other lakes, I realized that this is where I want my cabin in the mountains. When I got my first view of Grant Swamp Pass over Island Lake, I screamed. The Hardrock course was right in front of me!

We were sad when we had to drive home but fortunately we will be back next weekend to vacation with my parents and get Cory through the Ouray 100 course.

Fair warning, the rest of this post is going to be pictures.

Sunset over the collegiate peaks as we camped in Salida

Pinnacles around Blue Mesa

Playing ball with the pups at the park in Ouray

Mayla looks really happy

Shakeout run in Ouray

Exploring Ouray

My new tiny house

I mean, how would you not want to live here?

My future swiss chalet

FJ Summit in Ouray... check out this sweet setup!

The race finish with Kendall Mt in the background

Neither of us felt it was ok to pose next to the rock until we run the race

Our campsite the first night on Mineral Creek

Pre-race jitters

Fast start

Kendall Mt looms over the town

Blue bird skies in the morning

Sage got first... big surprise

Timmy Parr in 2nd place

Andrew Benford cruising in for 3rd

Stevie Kremer was the women's champion! 

Cory sprints it in

The view from Molas Lake Campground where you can buy a hot shower

Silverton to Durango

The view from our campsite the second night 

Cadi in her cave

Snuggly Mayla 

Rainbow over our camp site

Sunday hike up the Ice Lake Trail

Happy puppy!


First view of Grant Swamp Pass!

I asked this girl if it was weird to take a picture of her puppy and she said, "How could you not take a picture?"