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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What a week!

We had a very special treat for Thanksgiving week - Kathleen's sister Kerrie and her family came to visit from Oregon!  It has been many years since we have been able to spend one of the major holidays with her family as they are all spread out pretty far and travel in the mountains can be precarious at this time of year.  Needless to say, we were very excited to have them come.  Of course, with three nieces in town, it was PLAY TIME!!!  Luckily we have a park around the corner for such frivolities...
 Go Faster!!!  Or not... Does Kathleen look a little green???!!!
 My special little girl!
1, 2, 3 ... GO!
We had a great time on Thursday with turkey and fixin's, lots of good times, and the first round of the Anne of Green Gables marathon .... Wait a minute, how did Kevin and I get hoodwinked on this one???  Blindsided by a 12 year old, a 9 year old, and EVEN the 2 year old got in on hornswoggling their dear old Uncle Steve and their very patient Dad!  Does anyone realize that each one of those 3 stinking DVD's is DOUBLE SIDED?!?!

So Friday was set aside for more touristing (I made that word up...) - they spent the day Wednesday cruising local hotspots while Kathleen and I toiled away at work.  We had The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Ghost Town Museum, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on tap - however, the zoo got cancelled in lieu of the ladies going shopping in the afternoon.  That meant nap time for the little one and football time for Steve and Kevin - finally some peace in the house :-)
 Cliff Dwellings - not the original transportation parked out front.

The new camera did great as this room was super dark inside.  
 Nice spot to build a home
 Some of the original residents..... Lots of educational reading and artifacts throughout the museum

There were many fascinating displays in the museum.  It was quite interesting to read about the original Anasazi residents of these dwellings who ended up leaving the area after a 20+ year drought.  There are interesting notes if you enlarge the photos.
A Horno oven on display - 30 one pound loaves of bread were cooked at a time in the ovens.
We had another fantastic family day on Friday.  Of course, Friday evening was the end of the amazingly long culmination of the aforementioned Green Gable-athon.  Hallelujah!  Saturday morning we visited for a bit with the family before they were on the road for Oregon.  It was a great visit and the little girls cried because they did not want to leave their favorite Auntie - aaah!  After they peeled out of town, we were torn as to what we wanted to do for a workout.  While we ran short both Thursday and Friday, for some reason we were not overly motivated to run.  What ...?  Add to that the fact that Kathleen has been chomping at the bit to get out on the bike  - she feels a bit boxed-in when she does not have her OPTIONS!!!  So we drug out the road bikes, shimmed one of her one shoes (chiropractor's suggestion), and headed out for a ride.
 South Suburban Reservoirs - Stratton Open Space
 Happy "Wheels"?  Enjoying the view of downtown Colorado Springs
Bundled up for a ride!

We were able to get in a nice bike ride, although it was a bit brisk at times, especially the 4.5 mile descent off of Gold Camp Road - in the shady side of the mountain, BRRRR!  We posed for a pic at the top of Gold Camp while warming in the sun for the cold drop back to Highway 24.  On the way down, we saw a gal coming up the road on roller skis.  Kathleen has always been intrigued by the roller skis and I could see the wheels turning in her head.  Oh. No.  We rode 30 miles and were ready to be inside the warm house when finished - those wind chills are a bit stout on the bike!
Sunday we wanted to try out fresh turf for a run.  We picked one of the staples of the Incline Club running routes - Ute Pass Trail to Waldo Canyon and back.  It is close to home and is a lollipop loop that starts at the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs.  The Ute Pass Trail is part of the Ring The Peak Trail network that is being mapped around the perimeter of Pikes Peak.
 Getting started
 Starting up the Ute Pass Trail - lots of climbing to come!
 Original intersection of the Ute Trail and Ute Wagon Trail

The Ute Pass Trail is actually an abandoned road bed that was part of the original Ute Trail used by Ute Indians to travel in to Manitou Springs from Eastern Utah.  The Utes believed that the gods lived underneath Manitou Springs, and that the bubbling in the spring waters was the breath of the gods coming to the surface. 

 Heading up Waldo Canyon

After the long climb on UPT, we dropped down the connector to Highway 24, crossing over the road to the Waldo Canyon trailhead.  From there, it is back on the climb - theme for the day!  While it was completely sunny and blue sky when we started, weather was pushing in so we had to be diligent with our pacing and not lollygag which we are prone to do!!!  Waldo Canyon is a lollipop loop - 2 miles out, 3.5 mile loop around the canyon, and then the 2 back out.  High point for the run was at the top of the loop ~ 8130 feet.

 Running along and then this view opens up - Nice! 
 More Climbing....
  Kathleen enjoys the sun
 Overlook from Waldo to the highway
Heading down from Waldo

We had a great time on Waldo.  After dropping down the last section, it was back across Hwy 24 and then up more hills on UPT before the final descent into Manitou.  If we become serious about mountain running, this route will become a staple of ours as well.  Mostly runnable, with a few hiking spots thrown in for good measure.  The route was a bit over thirteen miles with 3700' accumulated elevation gain.  It was a great fresh route and will be on our favorite list before long!!  Elevation profile is below.  Quite a week - we are tired.  Happy Trails!!!

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