Crushed on Quandary
The text from my younger sister wished me a happy birthday and went on to say, “Hope you are doing something fun-and I don’t mean running 100 miles or climbing a mt…hope u have a great day…”
I guess we just disagree on what constitutes birthday fun. I was really excited for our plans later that afternoon– to join a group of friends on a run up and down Quandary Peak, 14,265 ft. To me that sounded like the perfect birthday outing.
Quandary’s East Ridge route climbs 3,450 feet over 3.4 miles or so. It’s a good trail most of the way, though a bit loose the higher you get. It’s an ideal mountain running test-piece for area locals, so long as you can find it without the usual huge crowds of hikers.
So around 5pm, on a rainy weekday afternoon and long after most day hikers were packed up and gone, about 40 people started up the tallest mountain in Summit County.
Unfortunately for Christy and me, traffic on the drive over from Aspen kept us from arriving on time. But it was such a casual outing (though extremely fast-paced) that we just got changed and began up on our own, about 20 minutes late. We tried our best to reel in the back end of the field which included some of the faster people in Summit and Eagle counties.
We moved quickly but finished far off the fast times of the day (56 min fastest to top, 26 minutes fastest descent (seriously??), 1:27 fastest round trip). Even though we were off the back from the start, we got to catch up with everyone afterwards at a little get together in nearby Blue River. It wasn’t your standard birthday pampering, easy-does-it day, and definitely not what my sister had in mind, but to me it was just perfect.