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

Monday, June 8, 2009

More fun in Cheyenne Canon

Saturday BIG Run in Cheyenne Canon

We had planned on running in Boulder Saturday with TL, but unfortunately a knee problem has been nagging him since Sage Burner 50K. We certainly hope it is a quick recovery and we'll be heading up to Boulder to log some miles with him soon!
It was a wonderful sunny day (finally), so we took off for Cheyenne Canon to check out a few more trails and add to our loop potential there. We warmed up on the climb up Gold Camp and then turned off onto the Buckhorn trail, which Kathleen is running above. This is a very steep trail in sections and has the typical decomposed granite (read: gravel) surface that most of the trails below Pikes Peak have.
After reaching the top of Buckhorn, we continued climbing up Jones Park trail, rising steadily above Bear Creek Canyon. This is a view from one of the ridges on Jones Park, looking up Bear Creek Canyon, where we would soon be running.
The views from the top of Jones Park were amazing, 2700' above Colorado Springs at this point. We have had such a mild, wet start to summer and everything is amazingly green right now.
From that point, we started the descent into the Bear Creek drainage and crossed the creek to make the long descent on Bear Creek trail. This was all new territory for us and we were having a blast (OK - after recovering from the first 2000 feet of climb!!!) On the other side of this bridge, Jones Park begins it's climb again, but we took the turn downhill on Bear Creek. This is a much more rustic trail - lots of loose rocks and very tight foliage at the top. Whereas Jones Park and Cap'n Jacks are open to motorcycle travel, this is unmotorized only.
Cruising down Bear Creek and having a blast!
We had to stop for a group photo at one of the bridges - it was an awesome day and we really like these new trails we are discovering.
After descending a bit on Bear Creek, you emerge from the trees to one of those "Ah Hah!" vistas that take your breath away. The canyon opens up and before you know it, you are running the southern wall almost 400 feet above the rushing creek. This shot is looking back to the falls, about the lower third and center of photo - we had just run above them and out around the left side of the photo.
Running along the ridge high above the creek, with unbelievable views of the canyon below! Bear Creek was quite a steep descent and we lost all of our climb and more before landing on the High Drive, a very steep road that filters traffic one-way out of the canyon. In order to complete our loop, we had to go back UP High Drive!
We made it!! It was incredible to have Kathleen back out on a hard run like this - she was really running well and this is one tough loop. One of the nice things about building up our endurance is that it has opened up some more difficult terrain for us to explore than we would have ever tried in the past. Sweet! Now it was just a bit more climb on Cap'n Jacks trail, then mostly downhill to the trailhead.
Here is Kathleen in one of the monster, bobsled-like chutes that you encounter on the descent of Cap'n Jacks. You don't "ride" the berms as much on foot but it is still a blast to run through them.
We had a really fun day on the trails. This was possibly one of the harder runs we have done, with a bit over 4000' feet of climb in 11.5 miles - it was also a ton of fun and some good mountain running! ...And there are still miles and miles ABOVE where we ran today still waiting to be explored...

Shoes-Asics Trabuco

Another Great run at Falcon Trail

Since Kathleen missed out last weekend (and we were a little tired from Saturday!), we headed over to the Air Force Academy to play on the Falcon Trail. While not an easy run, we have done it enough times to manage our run very well even if a bit fatigued.
First of all, it was another unbelievable blue sky day again on Sunday. It had been a long time since we had great weekend weather but we certainly had it again today. Here Kathleen is cruising along the climb up toward the community center...
... and again along the creek, enjoying the beautiful day! Once again we had a lot of serenity on the trails - not crowded at all, especially given the fantastic weather. We tried to get a video to show some of the great scenery but we need a little practice with that!!! (Although it would make for some good comedy...) Maybe next week.
Steve climbing the ridge up toward the Stanley Canyon trailhead. It was picture perfect and the views on the backside ascent are really cool. The legs were a bit weary from yesterday's climbs but we actually felt pretty good out on the trail.
Rounding a steep switchback, overlooking the visitor's center - are we there yet?!?! We finished up the run with 13 miles and an awesome day enjoying the trails and sunshine. Hope everyone has a great week - Happy Trails!

Shoes - K Montrail Odyssey
S-Asics Trabuco
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