Last week was my 2018 end of season event, the High Lonesome 100. This relatively new (2nd year) event is held in the Sawatch mountains of Colorado in the vicinity of Mount Princeton outside of Salida. Race Director Caleb Efta is working hard to make this a top notch event and he is well on his way to that end. He is quite interested in feedback and looks to other established races to aid in his pursuits. Aid stations were well stocked and volunteers were cheerful and helpful.
Regarding the high moniker, this event has a low point of 8,150 ft and tops out at 13,150 ft. With approximately 22,500 ft of gain and an average elevation over the event of10,600 ft low landers beware! Lonesome is not left out too. With a very small field of around 100 entrants you quickly find yourself all by yourself. Even with a pacer from Hancock to Blanks Cabin, I was out there alone for almost 50 miles which can be both a blessing and a curse.
Weather was just about perfect and the scenery was of course stunning. Even with these good conditions there was an overall DNF rate of 33%. The rate was almost doubled for those who had never attempted a 100 miler before.
While not finishing a race is sad, at High Lonesome everyone that toes the starting line receives a prize for trying, a custom bottle of Laws Whiskey! One has to marvel at the genius of this prize. You can celebrate your victory or conversely drown your DNF sorrows! Either way it is great stuff and samples were flowing freely at the finish line.
I have to admit this is an awesome event. It captures many of the conflicting spirits of ultra trail running. Comradery and solitude, a hard challenge but not impossible, a feeling of accomplishment yet a yearning to do more. Hopefully as it matures further, the vibe that it has today will be maintained.
Oh, and the belt buckle is very cool too.