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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indian Summer and Trails

Hope everyone enjoyed that teaser from Thursday - those first couple bone-chilling mornings bring the shock of the impending months of winter home pretty hard.  However, with some nice weather on tap for the weekend and some improvement in Kathleen's running, we had plans to break away from the close confines of Ute Valley.  Saturday morning, we headed up to Spruce Mountain Open Space to take advantage of some blue skies and nice trails.  While it was windy, as always at Spruce and Greenland, it was not snowing sideways AND windy, so we did not complain .... much.
Pikes Peak from afar
Kathleen heads across Spruce Meadows
Enjoying the trail just in front of Spruce Mountain

Luckily we had headwind all the way out Spruce Meadows trail, so in theory we would have tailwind and downhill heading back out - nice!  While the temps were clawing their way up toward the 60 mark, the 25-35 mph winds left the arms raw if uncovered, so the sleeves remained in place the entire run.  Still beats snow.  Or 16 degrees.
Kathleen on the lower flanks of Spruce...
...Followed by Steve
Looking out toward Larkspur and the Continental Divide's snowcaps
HT on Windy Point - camera blew over twice...
Looking off the rim to Greenland Open Space
Textures of Fall

We made our way up onto Spruce Mountain and did the upper loop, then made our way down and headed back across Spruce Meadow.  We were soaking up the awesome day and not really paying heed to the windy conditions.  It was great to be out on the trails, especially with Kathleen running well!  We made it back to the Spruce trailhead - 9 Miles Pain Free for Kathleen, longest such endeavor in well over 2 months!  I was itching for a bit more, so I proceeded down the road and over to Greenland Open Space for some extra miles.

Standing guard over "Norman" (remember City Slickers?)
D&RG making frequent coal runs, Spruce Mountain  in background

I was not sure when I got into Greenland if I would be ambitious or not.  A full loop on Kipps would put me over 18, but after the 2.5 mile start straight into the wind, I took the shorter loop and finished with 15.  It was such a great run - we just wanted to lounge in the sun and continue soaking in the brilliance of the day!

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC

A "Garden" variety run
Aspen-framed splendor!
The Big View

Although we were being cautious about the condition of Kathleen's legs, weather again lured us away from home to run.  We headed down to Garden of the Gods Sunday morning to get in a sun drenched cruise through the labyrinth of trails that weave their way through the magnificent spires.  It was a repeat performance on blue sky and sun, minus the gale force winds.  Excellent!
The Kissing Camels
Kathleen on Palmer Trail
Some daring folk perched on Sentinel Rock
Cruising down from the Siamese Twins
Someone is getting her legs back...
Trails with a view - Nice!!!
Up, up, up onto Niobrara trail
Parting shot - the Valley View

It is certainly hard to beat a run in the Garden of the Gods - unless of course it is the second long run in a row PAIN FREE.  Kathleen peeled off at 8 miles - in her words, "content in being patient and not greedy with increasing the mileage too quickly".  She was comfortable the whole time, which made me wear a huge smile on my last loop!  I celebrated by meandering through another 4 mile circuit and we were "forced" to celebrate at Starbucks afterward.  WooHoo!  Not certain at this point as to the length of Indian Summer's visit, but we have extended an open welcome for any length it desires to stay with us - "we'll leave the light on"!!!  Happy Trails for sure!

Shoes - K Asics Trabuco
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC


mtnrunner2 said...

Looks like some good times.

Ever since I heard of the Greenland trail race I've been meaning to run down there, and I didn't know about adjoining Spruce Mountain, which looks really nice.

I think I rushed Garden of the Gods one day on my way home from the Barr Trail, and only saw the main area (the paved trails). Obviously I need to check that out too, there's a lot more there.

Average A said...

Great runs for you both -- hope the weather sticks around a bit longer!

Enjoy your week!

Jennifer said...

What great runs! Your little Indian summer served you well, maybe you'll get a few more? Best of all so happy to hear Kathleen is doing better!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to hear you are getting back in your groove girl! I thought you guys might have been in the Garden this weekend... kept my eyes peeled for ya, but one day we will "run" into each other... Nice long runs Steve.... so when are you going to be putting in an ultra??? :) You know you would nail it!

GZ said...

Glad to hear the K of Happytrails is on the mend.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Pretty nice weather, great pictures, but best of all - Kathleen getting in two good runs!!!

Jill said...

So happy K is getting the springs back in the legs, what a huge relief! Garden of the Gods reminds me of that race I did this past summer - seems like eternity.

Loving the weather, minus the winds (which are aggravating my allergies)...can't beat trick-or-treating last night with barely a jacket!

Ace said...

Excellent to see Mrs. HT running and feeling good!

You did of course jinx the Indian Summer, it was snowing on my commute this morning... :)

ajh said...

Great news about the continued pain free runs for K! Love all the pics! I had to go to Burlington tonight and saw several bike commuters. I was really gawking to see how they were dressed. I don't see anyone commuting near me but I saw several people this morning and evening. I need to find some wool liners or something better for my hands. This week is nuts with appointments and parent conferences so may not happen yet. Enjoy that Indian Summer!

Meg said...

I enjoyed the "textures of fall" but actually, every photograph is full of texture... amazing. Hooray for good health!

Slomohusky said...

Glad it sounds like Kathleen is feeling better. Nice shots again. Yes, City Slickers is past Fav.

Julie said...

Yay for Kathleen....nine miles pain free:) This is great news! I am loving your gorgeous pictures...especially the ones with the Aspen trees and kissing Camels. Your running route is so scenic and peaceful. Steve, you look great in that green color...your shirt just pops out of the pictures:)

Take care Colorado friends!

Johann said...

Fantastic runs and photos! Really beautiful. And the train...yes, I'm a bit of a train geek. Trainspotting while running is a huge bonus to me.

KwaZulu Natal is on the East Coast of South Africa. The race will start about 630km (390.6 miles) South East of Johannesburg.

Glenn Jones said...

Another beautiful run. Thakns for sharing the pictures. I'm really itching to get back out on the trails. Patience Glenn. Patience....

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