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

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some NEW Stash

So for quite some time, we have been scoping out some trails higher up the Gold Camp/Cheyenne Canon area to add to our running repertoire and we started exploring today. Believe it or not, some of this area has only recently come out from the snow and from what we hear, up on top of Jones Park and Frosty Park, there is still some snow running to be had. I'll pass on that...
So the plan was to drive up Gold Camp Road to the Cap'n Jacks trailhead and start our run with a mellow climb on Gold Camp to the Buckhorn trail. Gold Camp Road is part of the old mining corridor from Cripple Creek to Colorado Springs. There are several tunnels on Gold Camp and we would be using two of them to complete our route today. Tunnel #1, with two cyclists coming through, was just a few hundred feet from the trailhead.
Standing at the top of Cheyenne Canon right past the first tunnel. Our run started a bit over 7200' elevation, so it was a fair amount higher than many of our frequent routes. If you run the Columbine trail up from the Cheyenne Canon visitor's center, you can pop out here after already climbing 1200' - we skipped that today.
Coming out of Tunnel #2, we had a bit of sunshine. It was short lived though, as the monsoon pattern rolled in by mid-morning.
Spoon Falls, right above Helen Hunt Falls, has a nice trickle going over it right now.
Hope the legs are loose now - the start of the Buckhorn Trail and the climbing begins in earnest. From here there is a push of over 800' vertical in a bit over a mile - get the lactic acid moving through those muscles!!!
Kathleen takes a deep breath as she gets ready for the climb.
After the Buckhorn trail tops out, there are a bunch of rolling hills and quite a few whoop-de-doo sections from the mountain bikes and motorcycles - forgot to mention these are full multi-use trails, so keep the ears peeled for motos!
From the top of Buckhorn, Gold Camp road is seen cutting through the hillside as it continues south and west.
There are fantastic panoramic views from atop these trails - Gold Camp continues to climb into the mountains far off in the distance as Kathleen prepares for the roller coaster ride off of Buckhorn to the junction with Cap'n Jacks.
Looking down from Cap'n Jacks to one of the tunnels far below.
Steve climbing out one of the last grunts on Cap'n Jacks trail before the descent to the trailhead. This trail is a series of rollers, more down than up, but still has a few steep punches that really drag on the legs. (They are MUCH easier to roll on a mountain bike, or moto if you're so inclined...) There are also some really cool 10 - 15' high bermed chutes that are almost like a decomposed granite bobsled run - lots of fun, especially when we have had the rains we had this week. Usually the granite is somewhat like running on ball bearings marinated in 10w40 but after a rain, the traction is sweet!
Kathleen is flying down the trail headed for the finish. It was a good day for her to test the recovery and it seems to be good so far - Yeah! The Gold Camp - Buckhorn - Cap'n Jacks loop is about 7.5 miles with 2400' vertical gain - a nice hard workout and we already have some ideas to add to the length (and climb!) That was a good, hard run to get the gunk pushed out of Kathleen's lungs.
I went out for an extra, mellower loop after we hit the trailhead in order to extend the mileage a bit. On the way back to the trailhead, I stopped inside the tunnel for a photo - the flash created a weird glow that was kind of cool. I finished up with about 11 miles and 2800' climbing. It was a great run and opened some expansive new area for us to explore - right on! Hope everyone is well - Happy Trails this week!

Shoes - K Montrail Odyssey
S - Asics Gel Trabuco


T Z said...

Ok, we need a hydration pack review. I use a Camelback Rogue, but only on long runs with no water supply. Other times, I am a 24 oz insulated bottle guy. Dana has her chops set on one of the Nathan packs. It looks like you guys could offer pros and cons on both. How is the Nathan? Which CB does K use?

HappyTrails said...

OK - here's the short scoop on packs:

K has the CB Charm, which she used on her road bike. It just so happens that it works well for running, so it made the switch. 50 oz bladder, small amount of storage, compression cord for jacket, low profile.

S uses the Nathan HPL 008. It is really stable for running, has a 50 oz bladder, minimal storage, nice pockets on front - one for gels, one for the Nikon. Two cons: their bite valve is poor, switch over to a CB big bite valve immediately. Also, no bungee for a jacket. Minor issues.

Neither of us likes to carry stuff while running, so handhelds are for short, no camera runs ONLY. We don't really use bottles on bike either.

If we start going long, I'll switch to the Nathan HPL 020 w/ 70 oz and K will "inherit" the 008.

Cynical Dirt Doll said...

Great shots and write up as usual.. it's so great to see Kathleen back on the trails looking good!!
Do you guys know where you'll be running on June 10th? I'm flying in in the morning and would love to hook up with you guys if you're running that evening. I'll be huffing and puffing and super slow due to altitude but I'd love to trot along behind!

HappyTrails said...

Colleen -
That will be great! We will be working until 5:30 and 6 but we can meet for a quick run where ever you would like to go while in town. We work central so we generally head over to Palmer Park after work or G of G, closer to home. But we can go anywhere. Maybe we can both sneak out of our offices a bit early that day. Bring your dad! Just let us know what you'd like to do. It will be fun!

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