If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cheyenne Cañon and Stratton Open Space

We decided to run Cheyenne Cañon today starting from Starsmore Discovery Center. Right behind the center is the entrance to the Columbine trailhead pictured above. It was another bright Colorado day and the forecast was for our first day in the 80's so far and we were looking forward to it after our COLD winter and spring!

The Columbine trail climbs briskly along the stream and above Cañon Drive for almost 2 miles until the cutoff trail that we use to catch Gold Camp Road. Shortly after starting we saw a small bear cross the stream and scamper up into the brush before I could get the camera on him. He was not at all interested in posing for us - go figure! Columbine rises steadily, at times sustaining grades above 15% and averages a solid 10% for the first 2 miles.

After climbing to the intersection with Gold Camp Road, there is a short tunnel to run through, and then a mellow dirt road cruise (and a short paved section) to the upper trailhead for The Chutes. As the name implies, Chutes is a bermed, curvy downhill that is a blast to mountain bike down and not too shabby to run either. Awaiting you at the base of Chutes is Stratton Open Space, another of Colorado Springs fine park areas. It is a mixture of small open meadows and coniferous forest and is quite a beautiful park.

K running the Upper Meadows Loop.

S running near the end of the Chamberlain trail. We ended up with about 9 miles, but starting with a climb like Columbine in the legs, that is plenty for us. As is usually the case, we ended our run with a smile on our face and good times etched in our memory banks!

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