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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunny Days

Days like these are why we tolerate the sometimes abusive Colorado winter weather - beautiful sunny skies, with temps in the high 30's to start and that turbo-charged, high altitude UV making it feel nice and "relatively" toasty on the trails.  After running Saturday in the 12 degree early morning air, we headed out (a little later) to Red Rock Canyon Open Space today - one of our many favorites.  Red Rock's trails are generally not going to be horrific on the mud so it was a good bet for a sunny day.

As is generally the case, the eastern side of the park was mostly dry in the open areas, with a bit of snowpack left in the shade or northern exposure sections.  Kathleen is climbing the Red Rock Rim trail, high above the red granite walls that were the heart of the old quarry operations.  The park is far enough west that in many places you can just see Pikes Peak poking up above the foothills.
The western side of Red Rock was another story.  From the northern part of Sand Canyon trail all the way up to the rim on the Mesa trail, we ran mostly on hardpack snow and ice for the whole climb.  Here I am approaching the top of the Roundup trail, carefully navigating the snowy singletrack.  Believe it or not, we saw a brave guy on a cyclocross bike climbing one of these sections - very tricky!
Nice view down the back canyon from the Greenlee trail.  Cut into the hillside in the distance is Lion trail - our next climb!
Kathleen cruises out the snowpack at the bottom of the Roundup trail.  These cold canyon bottoms are easier to run because the cold snow is somewhat tacky on the surface.
Steve absorbing all-natural vitamin D up on the Red Rock Rim.
On top of Lion trail's hogback for the second time and the last climb of the day completed.  Looking out across the park toward the Rampart Range - it was a beautiful day!  Time to roll it in.

Nearing the eastern trailhead on top of the Hogback Rim, trying to avoid the big drop on my left!!  From this shot, you would never know we've had snow.  We could not have asked for a much better late December day for a trail run.  (Well, we could, but we won't get greedy...)  It was nice to be on some good trails and have familiar dirt under foot after some weeks of a lot of snowy runs.  Over half of the 13 mile run was snow-free, which is a bonus that we'll take while it is here!  Weather forecast is for cold, but not white, Christmas day.  More than likely, you will see us out on the trails somewhere - if you do, say Hello.  Happy Trails and Merry Christmas!

Shoes - Asics Trabuco
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