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
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