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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chatfield State Park

With gas being down another forty cents and a full year's Colorado State Parks pass hanging out on the windshield, it was change of venue time this weekend - heading for some new trails! All the years we have lived on the Front Range, we have never been to Chatfield State Park on the southwest portion of suburban Denver. Until today.
We started our run at the southern tip of Chatfield Reservoir and headed south toward Waterton Canyon. It was an awesome day with sunny skies and 75 degree temps making for trail running bliss.
Heading south, we first passed the Gravel Ponds. We ran past more water today than we do in months of regular trail running, so it was a nice change of scenery. Also, the trails here were mostly flat - don't get to say that too often in Colorado but it was good for the legs to have some different cadence. The only thing that was odd - and a pet peeve when a park charges for trail use - NO trail markers. But we survived with only a couple small detours.
A lot of the trails we ran were surrounding the Chatfield Wetlands - a series of ponds and marsh areas near the Platte River.
Here Steve runs along the Platte River on unnamed trail #3 with splendid fall color for a backdrop. We ran a combination of trail surfaces ranging from open grassland type areas with gravel and deep sand to densely wooded, leaf-covered singletrack that was twisty, narrow, and contained many roots and rocks camouflaged by the fallen leaves. It was very quiet and peaceful in the woods and these trails are probably sheltered nicely from the wind on cool late fall/early spring runs - we'll make a mental note of that.
Kathleen briefly comes out of the forest cover for a quick glimpse of the Platte River. We saw quite a few cyclists in the park but no other runners - odd for such an outstanding day.
Steve crunching through the leaves on one of the forested trails. Today was a great discovery day for us, adding new trails to our list and enjoying a totally different type of trail conditions than we normally run close to home. We had a spectacular run and Good Times as always!
Thanks to the Colorado Masters Running/Racewalking Association for the tip on the route - we ran the 10 mile course (plus some extra) from their November 'Chatfield Five & Dime' trail race. Since we enjoyed ourselves, that race might just show up on our November 15 post!!!

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