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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winter is coming ... thankfully not quite yet!!

The clouds lifted overnight, leaving us a very crisp but clear morning and revealing some new snowfall on the Peak. We have had some great fall weather this year which we did not have last year, so we are quite thankful. But we know there is winter on the way - you could feel it in the air this morning. Since the forecast was for more of yesterday's gray skies, we wanted to grab the opportunity for some sun and blue sky while we could and decided to head down to Cheyenne Mountain State Park - our new trail stash we found last week.
There are mountain bike races on the trails here next weekend, so we figured we would get some running in today and go elsewhere next week. It was 50 and windy (making it feel more like 40) when we started but it beats a foot of snow and we were thankful for the chance to get in a long run.
The colors have finally started to change on the south end of town - to the north where we live we have already lost all the leaves on 2 of our 4 large trees! This scene is near the lower end of the park on Zook Loop with a little fall color behind Kathleen. Zook loops away from the main parking area and branches to many other trails.
At the intersection known as the Rock Garden we diverted to the Blackmer Loop and started the climb. We wanted to try a few new trails this visit, so we climbed part of Blackmer to the Boulder Run trail and headed to the north side of the park we had not seen yet. We ran Boulder Run to Racoon Ridge, Bobcat Way, and Soaring Kestrel trails, all of which are partly to mostly finished but still in "raw" form in a few areas. There are a couple large open meadows on Bobcat with views out to NORAD and good sight line to the 'Antenna Farm' on top of Cheyenne Mountain - gotta keep track of all those satellites!
These friendly cactus provide a nice warning to stay on the trail as falling into a patch of these would make for an unpleasant drive home.
Kathleen blazing the trail through fall foliage on the Soaring Kestrel trail. With some of our friends and family experiencing difficult times of late, we never take for granted our opportunities to explore and enjoy the trails and take in a great day!
Near the bottom edge of the park on the Turkey Trot trail, we were being observed by several of these curious critters. We were lucky this guy stayed above board long enough to be photographed. It is good that dogs are prohibited from the trails here as Sage would never leave this area!
Back up onto the Cougar's Shadow trail, Steve enjoys the descent through the pines while weaving between the boulders. The forest and scrub oak areas of the park were mostly sheltered from the wind today which allowed us to be much more comfortable than the wind chill would have felt elsewhere.Kathleen finishing strong toward the bottom of the Medicine Wheel trail, a technical and twisty boulder-filled trail that tests your footwork and gets the heart rate going - gotta keep those knees up! We were able to string together 10 miles of beautiful trail running and finish with the sun shining on us. Within a half hour of arriving home, the clouds had backed in against the foothills and we finished the afternoon gray and cold - we are very thankful for the window of opportunity we had to hit the trails - Good Times!
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