Jennifer Hughes April 04, 2014 TWEET COMMENTS 0

My Summer at Camp Hardrock

A runner and her 1975 vintage motor home’s trip to Silverton, Colorado, for the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run


Diana Finkel ascends Grant Swamp Pass at the 2012 Hardrock. Photo by Matt Trappe.


This article originally appeared in our special journal-style April 2014 issue, DIRT: The Trail-Running Life. If you like this story, subscribe now and get DIRT 2015 free with your subscription!

Slowly opening the big wooden doors of Silverton, Colorado’s Avon Hotel, I peered into a room. It was dark by contrast to the bright sun outside, with a massive oak table cutting down the center. Antique typewriters lined the second floor balcony above. Collections of books were stashed on every shelf and table, and miniature oil paintings of the San Juan Mountains hung in vignettes.

It looked like an eclectic retreat for artists and writers, except for a few telltale signs. Against the wall some 30 pairs of dirty trail-running shoes formed a tidy chain. At the table, a group of adults in running shorts and caps, some still sweaty from a run, poured over topographic maps while downing recovery drinks and cold beers.

I stood there taking in the scene, hoping someone would look up. Finally, a man glanced over at me, unimpressed, and said with a Boston accent, “Can we help you?”

“I’m here for Hardrock,” I said. “Well, not actually to run, but to write about it. And hopefully pace.” My normal confidence vanished as I nervously worked on a follow up line. Just then a runner I knew from back home in Washington walked through on her way to the kitchen and I latched on like we had important catching up to do. After talking to her for a while, I slipped out the backdoor, choosing to avoid another pass through the dining-room gauntlet.

That night in Wilbur, my 1975 vintage motor home, I sucked down a PBR and admitted to myself that I was no longer among the soft, forgiving ferns of Washington. This was Silverton, Colorado—a rocky, rugged country where no one coddles your journey.


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