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

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Give Thanks and Run Trails!

Started off the Thanksgiving long weekend right by heading out to dinner Wednesday night with wonderful, long-time friends we don't get to see often enough.  Lots of laughs and good times, as always.  Geared up Thanksgiving Day and headed to Greenland Open Space, this time departing from the upper trailhead at Palmer Lake.  Sunny skies and temps in the 50's were perfect for a nice trail run on turkey day.  For many years now, we always start off our Thanksgiving day with a run or ride - it is a tradition for us.

Kathleen lacing up for a run!

Getting our dose of train activity - had two go by while we were out.

We had hoped for some dryness on the trails as Greenland is pretty open, but we had no such luck.  At least the trails here have a lot of sand, so the mud does not cake up on the shoes very much.  As you can see off on the far hill, there is still some snow that needs to melt.  Kathleen is nearing the top of the Kipps Loop climb. 

Picking my way through the melting snow/mud transitions on Kipps Loop.

These big fellas are from the Mile High Bison Ranch, which borders Greenland Open Space.  Steak anyone?

Kathleen is cruising back toward Palmer Lake on the Greenland Trail.  In the distance is another of our favorites, Spruce Mountain Open Space, however its trails were untouchable under the current conditions.  Though muddy most of our route, we still got in 10.5 miles, had an awesome day for a run, and headed home to get cleaned up for dinner with family.  We ate with Steve's sister and family, and his younger brother, all of whom live in Colorado Springs.  It was great to get together and be thankful for all our blessings, including dear family, friends, and good health!


Black Friday dawned and we did what we always do - anything to avoid SHOPPING!  The color we were looking for was more azure, and the sky was painted with it - bingo!  Now, people will drive hundreds of miles, elbow their way through lines at malls, even sleep overnight in parking lots - just to buy junk that will end up in their attic 6 months from now.  Not us.  With unseasonably warm temps ahead of an impending weekend snow storm, it was trail time!!!

Last weekend, we ran something new in Pueblo.  This weekend, we went for more familiar terrain there - sweet desert singletrack on the south shore at Pueblo Reservoir.  Unlike our trails that cannot currently shake the freeze/melt/mud pattern, the narrow twisty trails at the reservoir were in perfect form.  We started at the Red Gate trailhead and jumped onto Cuatro Cinco - which Kathleen is running above.

With the temperature eventually reaching 70 before we finished, it was another unreal running day - who would trade this for an elbow-jockey duel in the aisles of Walley World or Best Buy?  Pass.  We connected over to the Outer Limits (seen above) for some nice cliff-hugging trail along one of many inlets of the reservoir.  Way, way out there you can just see the white cap of Pikes Peak.

Last weekend, we turned around on our out-and-back about 100 feet or so below the dam.  Here is today's view from far above the water on Pedro's Point, looking out to the dam - Nice!

Kathleen is topping out on one of many cliffs overlooking the water.

Looking out from the Pedro's Point trail to the marina - water is down a bit, as evidenced by the large sand bars.  While recreation is big here, a lot of people rely on this reservoir for their water supply and the dry fall has it a bit lower than it was on our last visit.

Powering up the Rock Canyon trail - camera makes it look pretty flat, however, it is about 8% grade behind me.  This is a tricky climb, covered in loose rock plates and left over volcanic flow that makes for less-than uniform footing.  It is a great way to finish the run by draining what's left in the tank on the climb out to the ridge.

Not much else to say - great day, another great run!  We were able to do a nice 13.5 mile loop on some fantastic desert trails.  **Almost forgot to mention - set an SKCR for the route today too - running faster is good!  We're thankful - Happy Trails!

Shoes - Asics Trabuco
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