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

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mountains, Lakes, and Trails!

Not that we don't always have good trails to run, we needed to get a couple of good, longer trail runs in this weekend in order to bolster our endurance for some late summer big runs we are eyeballing.  Saturday morning we targeted Cheyenne Mountain State Park, where we have not run for a few months.  Oddly enough for our alpine desert climate, Saturday dawned cloudy and HUMID, as in 89% humidity when we left for our run.  What?  Is this Mississippi?  Texas?  Nope, Colorado, and boy was it sticky. 
Most of Cheyenne Mountain was in a shroud of thick cloud when we arrived, except for this little point.  The clouds would come and go throughout the morning, however, the humidity decided to stay put and we were dripping sweat the entire run!
Running the Talon Trail
Kathleen on Talon North

We started on the southwest portion of the park and ascended to the Talons - a long climb through some diverse terrain that leads to two loops around the top - Talon North and Talon South.  We ran both and they are quite spectacular trails with great views - East to the prairie and west to some undeveloped land that now belongs to CMSP - future trails are in discussions....
Talon North Summit - thick cloud behind us!
Traversing the Sundance Trail over toward Blackmer loop

After descending off the Talons, we made our way across Sundance and looped around to the bottom of the Blackmer loop.  Time to climb again!  It was really starting to warm up and the thick air was weighing on us, so we decided to stay higher with more trees - good call.
Going Up - ascending the Blackmer Trail

Got up onto Blackmer and found some nice shady trails that were tacky and a bit damp from Friday evening's storms.  That is always a welcome change in this normally dry terrain.  We did an extra loop on Cougar's Shadow, then rolled back across the top of Blackmer before starting the descent toward the trailhead.
Kathleen cruising down the front side of Blackmer
Parting Shot - Still no summit view!

On the way down, we took a detour on the Medicine Wheel trail, one of the more technical in the park.  We figured we would keep our legs (and minds) honest to the very end of the run, testing our eye/foot coordination through and endless maze of boulders.  It was a blast and we finished our run strong but tired.  Very nice day on the trails!

Stats: 15 miles, 3000' elevation gain
Shoes: K - Saucony Guide Trail
S - Asics Trabuco

Sunday morning - cloudy again? Humid again? Yep, so we headed up the pass to Woodland Park and over to Rampart Reservoir.  By the time we were half-way up Ute Pass, we were driving into partly sunny skies - nice!  With the trailhead we use sitting above 9300' and the trail around the reservoir rolling at or above 9000', this run allows for some cooler temperatures in the summer and some good altitude training.
Spillway - and the start of the singletrack
Rushing water, wildflowers, and awesome trail

The trail starts up on Rampart Range Road and drops down immediately along the stream that brings water in off the mountains.  Starting on a dirt road, we soon pick up a nice singletrack and cruise on down to the start of the loop around the reservoir.  Surprisingly, we saw very few people on the trails today - odd but pleasant.
Above shoreline, running through the aspens
First views of Pikes Peak
Quiet Inlet
Kayakers enjoying some open water solitude and Peak views
Happy Trails Duo

Once again today we had great conditions - last night's rains left the trails with a little more grip than normally found here.  With a nice mixture of sun and clouds, cool breezes off the lake, and the soothing sounds of water lapping the shore below us, it was a great day to be running trails (of course, we think every day is a great day to be running trails...).
Almagre Mountain (Baldy) on the left, Pikes Peak on the right
Satellite view of the route

Although accumulated fatigue from back-to-back tough runs was apparent by the end, we had another great day running.  Considering that a short half-hour drive puts us on the trail above 9000' elevation, this is a great little getaway right in our "backyard"!  Hope everyone had a great weekend - Happy Trails!

Stats:  14.5 miles, over 2500' elevation gain
Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - Asics Trabuco


Slomohusky said...

could hear your voice just fine on the video. thanks for sharing these photos. the sunday ones are fantastic. wish i was there!!

T Z said...

Nice B2B. I did a home show over the weekend and my feet are trashed after standing on concrete for so long. I need some serious trail mileage in the worst way. Nice trails you guys tackled. Love the videos too.

Johann said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing another amazing run.

racing dawn said...

beautiful photos! you should make it over to utah sometime we've got some great races & trails here too!

ShutUpandRun said...

Wow - long runs and great elevation gain!!!

You asked where i ran yesterday - I went west from Longmont to the Boulder Rez - all quiet dirt backroads. Really nice run, but could've used a bit more shade.

ajh said...

You must have gotten our humidity. The weather here this weekend was delightful - in the 70s and low humidity. It actually got down to high 30s overnight!

I love running near any water. That second run looks particularly nice.

Maureen said...

How do you do 14.5 miles on trails??

Kyle and I did trails this weekend. We only did 5 miles but it was hard!! The terrain was more sand so it was softer but still! I give you guys credit. We channeled you guys and took some pictures.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

I didn't know CO was ever humid. That's part of the fun of blogs - learning about other places.

The photo with the caption, Happy Trails Duo, is perfect! With the water, trees, boulder, sky - that is a keeper!

It was fun seeing K run by in the video!

Jennifer said...

Ha some humidity in your neck of the woods?! Crazy. I would love to have some of your dry air and a bit of that landscape! Maybe some time in the middle of winter when you are so very tired of the cold and snow you can come and visit MS, I'll show all our flat trails and our lovely winter temps! Cheers! BTW- great pics!

Julie said...

Hi Guys,
This was one of my favorite posts! I love the picture of Kathleen coming around the corner and the one where she is running next to the water:) (So beautiful!) I also am digging the one of Steve running next to the trees! The pictures of the area are amazing...the mountains, clouds, trees, water and flowers...make the area look so peaceful. I always look forward to your weekend run posts! Have a wonderful week:)

Jill said...

Ok, not that pink and green don't coordinate well together, but I miss the matchy-matchy outfits this weekend. And yes, this humidity has been a thorn for awhile - it can definitely go away! I'm still grateful we aren't experiencing Midwest or East Coast humidity but still! I'm not running right now so not enduring the outdoor elements but the gym stationary bike is suffocating. It's making me stronger though, right? Please say right!! Your Sunday run sounds amazing... I may have to take Brendan up there on his kayak! Thanks again for your great weekend run pics and story!! :)

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