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

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