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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fun in the Sun!

We have had at least a solid month of the most phenomenal weather (as if it is not always great...) and aside from needing some rain, we will take all of it we can get!  We had our hopes up to run Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy Saturday morning to test out Kathleen's running progress, however, when we got there the trail was closed for a 24 Hour mountain bike race.  Plan B - we headed back home and ran at Ute Valley Park, which is always a good backup plan!
View across park to Pikes Peak
Kathleen running bottom of the valley

It was another splendid fall day along with summer like 80 degree temps.  We were able to get in about 9 miles at Ute and loop back to the house.  Kathleen decided to break off there and nurse her ailing legs in hopes of a shot at a longer run Sunday.  I headed across to the Foothills Trail and up for a short extra loop in Pike National Forest.
Starting to show some fall on Foothills
Next weekend, expect more orange and yellow..

Ended the day with 12 miles and both feeling really good.  We got a late start with the trail confusion, so we were a little sapped from the 80's at the finish of the run.  But fall is here, and we'll stockpile all the warmth we can!

Stats - 12 miles, 1600' elevation gain
Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - Asics Trabuco

Limbaugh Canyon Run on a Spectacular Day!
Trail 715 with Mt Herman in the background

We were hoping to get in a run today with a bit of fall color starting to show, and we hit the jackpot by heading to Monument to run the Limbaugh Canyon Loop that we first ran back in August.  We got out quite a bit earlier today, but it was already warming up.  Welcome back summer!  We ran a loop through the Fire Center and connected over to Trail 715, which is the backbone of the route.  Won't need a whole lot of description for the run as the photos pretty much tell the story.  If you want to see more after seeing the pics, you might be interested in this link.
Climbing 715
A little group photo-op
Why run pavement???
Bucolic countryside south of Mt Herman - Love Colorado!
The trail heading up Bear Creek drainage

Since we knew all the turns for the route this time around, we were able to just concentrate on the trail and the beautiful mountain we were running around.  The above photo is about 1 mile below the Mt Herman road crossing and was our first taste of changing Aspens for the year.  There is something serene about their quaking leaves and the soft crunch of a leaf-blanketed trail that makes running in the fall endearing.
Opening from the forest to Mt Herman road
Signature fall colors in Colorado - Aspens & Blue Sky!
Wanna get away???

For those who live in the east and upper midwest, I know the plethora of colors you get in the fall - I grew up back there.  However, there is something about the dry mountain air, dizzying elevation, azure blue sky, and rich golden aspen trees that really make the fall here.  What it lacks in colorful variety, it makes up for in mountain grandeur!!!
Trail 715 - Limbaugh Canyon
Kathleen running Limbaugh - Awesome Day!
Wildlife encounter #1 - Smooth Green Snake

Not nearly the size or intimidation factor of a bull snake or rattlesnake, but this smooth green snake might be the most colorful snake we have seen.  He was almost moving too fast to get a good pic!
Coming out of Limbaugh Canyon...
... to this View!  Inspiration Point, overlooking Palmer Lake, CO
Kathleen passing the sandstone spire on Red Tail
Wildlife Encounter #2 - Hello Yogi!

So we're finishing off a nice run, heading back down through the Fire Center and I round the trail nearing the pond to this sight.  After regaining consciousness (!!) I carefully extracted the camera and started taking pics.  As soon as he (how can you tell?) saw that I was not going to continue toward him, he just sat down in the trail and watched me.  This is ~ 100 feet away.
Hey ... how's it going tasty human???
Finally distracted by some horses

So we have seen bears before on the run, but never one this large.  This was a very large, very magnificent animal.  He seemed very mellow, and honestly, I think he just wanted a dip in the pond.  It was already in the mid 80's by now and that is ONE.HEAVY.COAT he has on!  Pretty cool to see animals like this close up.  He took off into the brush shortly after this photo as a group of 5 horse riders approached.

We had a great 14 mile run - this is really just an all around awesome loop, especially with the fall color and wildlife excitement!  Hope everyone has a great week and let us know if you would like to try this one out - we'll be glad to go along!  Happy Trails...

Stats - 14 miles, 2700' elevation gain
Shoes - K Asics Trabuco
S Pearl Izumi SyncroSeek XC


Laura@Run_Eat_Date said...

Yogi is beautiful. And big. Glad to hear he was mellow...as always, beautiful pics!

T Z said...

Handsome bear!! Supposedly we have black bears in SE Oklahoma. I'd love to see one. We need to plan another colo trip. Probably will next year.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

That is one cute, huge bear! You guys have all the fun! Glad you both got some running in!

Slomohusky said...

Wow! I think I will stick with the bears I see running the Disneyland HM. Although it really is beautiful thing. Liked the snake as well. How many different snakes do you have up there?

Jennifer said...

Great pictures and so happy to see Kathleen back on her feet again. Gosh that is a big bear! Have a great week!

HappyTrails said...

Hey Slomo -

10 to 12 from what I gather, but most commonly we see the garters, bull snakes (which some also call Gopher snakes), and prairie rattlers. Only the rattlers are venomous in Colorado - 4 types.

Johann said...

Fun in the sun says it all. Great pictures as always! Now a bear is something I won’t see on my runs. That is beautiful! It feels so weird, my trail season is during our winter and my summer is mainly road running and races.

GZ said...

Awesome header photo and HOLY CROW on the bear. And a green snake. This is a regular shoot em up site (with a camera)!

chris mcpeake said...

fantastic pics!!

Jill said...

I've never seen a green snake like that before...he's kinda cute, in a snake way. I've only seen a bear once and it freaked me out so much!! When I did the CO relay, I was so nervous I was going to encounter one in the middle of the night all by my lonesome - I was literally having anxiety. All was good, thankfully - never play chicken with a black bear! Glad you guys had a great weekend - and so glad Kathleen's feeling better running. Twas in the mid 90's here yesterday and record high with high 90's today. I'm not sure it's fall. Yet.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

Now that's an adventure. He does look like a friendly bear, but glad he was distracted by the horses. Love the blue sky of the west. So pretty!

Julie said...

Hi there,
What a fun post filled with tons of great pictures! WOW! Check out the bear! What are you supposed to do when you come face to face with a bear?

The path of rocks looks so challenging and I would be lucky enough not to break something attempting to get over them:) Nice job! Oh, I love Aspen trees...there is something about them that brings me back to my childhood. Our pasture was full of them and I think that they are so pretty!

Have a great week!

ajh said...

Wow! What kind of bear is that? He looked huge. Love all the photos but the bear ones are pretty special. I love your new header! That rocky trail looks very tricky!

Ace said...

Bears oh my! That fellow has been eating well. I second the positive opinion on the new header! Me likey.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha :)))) LOVE the BEAR!! I came across a big pile of bear poop a few days ago on a trail at the Ranch heading into the Garden... but, didn't see the bear... I think I'd rather see the bear :)) That looks like a sweet run... I ran for 4 hours in the grueling heat on Sunday... I am so ready for the cool crisp Fall!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha :)))) LOVE the BEAR!! I came across a big pile of bear poop a few days ago on a trail at the Ranch heading into the Garden... but, didn't see the bear... I think I'd rather see the bear :)) That looks like a sweet run... I ran for 4 hours in the grueling heat on Sunday... I am so ready for the cool crisp Fall!

Slomohusky said...

Hey Happy Trails - regarding NB 1064's. I liked them when I tried them on. They felt closer to my beloved 1062's than the 1063's. The Nimbus just seemed to fit like a glove so to speak. Lots of cushion in all the right places at least walking in them. Will see running. My stomach is still keeping me benched tonight. Maybe tomorrow AM? BTW - great new title pix!

Glenn Jones said...

Very cool photos as usual. I loved the bear photo. I suspect that theyare busy trying to add weight for the winter ahead.

Can't wait for the fall colors photos. We've already had the first snow of the season in the Sierra Nevada...

Meg said...

Ok, that was one BIG bear. I don't know what I'd do if I had come up upon one...scream???
I love your new header photo, the colors are crystal clean and you two look so happy.
Happy RUnning this week!

ajh said...

Love the new header!
I looked up studded bike tires as soon as I read your comment. I guess I better see how tough I am in the rain first!

Pinkcorker (Renee) said...

Awesome! That green snake was cool and the bear sighting - wow.
Nice header pic - I like that one a lot.

Slomohusky said...

Hey STEVE and Kathleen - been awhile!! Miss ya. I need my Colorado FALL running pix fix. Everything okay?

chris mcpeake said...

damn sorry didnt want to cause a coffee accident

Slomohusky said...

take care guys. have you in my prayers.

ajh said...

Okay Steve - more biking questions. It may not get as cold where you are. Well it doesn't but I am not sure how cold it gets. How do you keep toes warm on a bike in the colder weather? I know they make boots or something but is there a cheaper way? I have actually bought one of those bike bags and rear mounts but it isn't on my bike yet. And what about ears - with regard to warmth? When I go to work it is pretty early and already pretty cold. And of course soon there will be the whole dark thing. This may not last long but I am exploring ideas. I also have to get an xray on my heel next week and the horrible s-----y word was mentioned. I am trying not to freak out but that is the worst case scenerio. Oops spelled that wrong! I don't want to be laid up doing nothing. The biking is keeping me sane. Tomorrow we are driving north to explore an old rails trail. Can't wait!

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