Observing Joy: A Runner’s View of the 2023 Hardrock 100 Course

A look at the 2023 Hardrock 100 through the lens of runner Bryon Powell.

By on August 9, 2023 | Comments

My second goal in running the 2023 Hardrock 100 — behind finishing — was to embrace joy along the way. Fortunately, I succeeded in completing both those goals in July. Along the way, I also snapped 500-some photos. What follows is some of the joyous observations I captured on the course.

If you’re looking for more photos from my Hardrock journeys, you can also check out “Eyes Wide Open: A Runner’s View of the 2018 Hardrock 100 Course.”

2023 Hardrock 100 - Darla Askew - Bryon Powell

This year, I got to share more miles and smiles with Darla Askew than I have in any other Hardrock 100. All photos: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

2023 Hardrock 100 - Arrow Vestal Peaks

Arrow and Vestal Peaks might just be my favorite mountains to see in all of the San Juans.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Cutthroat Trout

A beautiful cutthroat trout caught along the way.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Grizzly Gulch

A look across Grizzly Gulch gives perspective on the scope of Hardrock.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Handies Peak Hell Yeah

Photos can’t capture the “Hell yeahs!” exchanged on the way up Handies Peak.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Handies Peak

The American Basin side of Handies Peak is one of Hardrock’s iconic views.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Engineer Pass sunset

On the way up to Engineer Pass, runners kept reminding others, “Look right,” and, “Look back!” With views like this, you can understand why!

2023 Hardrock 100 - Engineer Pass

A runner nears the top of Engineer Pass during a spectacularly interminable sunset.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Oh Point

A runner and their pacer greet day’s end on Oh! Point.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Into Telluride

Descending to Telluride with a day and a night and 70-plus miles behind me.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Grant-Swamp Pass for Blixt Road

Looking down the Blixt Road from just below Oscars Pass toward Grant-Swamp Pass.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Grant-Swamp Pass closeup

Grant-Swamp Pass coming into better view.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Oscars Pass

Looking back at Oscars Pass from the climb up Swamp Gulch.

2023 Hardrock 100 - Island Lake

I’m always shocked at just how blue Island Lake is.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.