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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beat the Heat at Rampart Reservoir

 Early morning sun on Rampart Reservoir

Saturday was a photo-less long run day so you will have to visualize for yourself...  Kathleen had to work, so we ran to the top of Mesa Road and she returned home to round out a 9.5 mile morning jaunt and tend to her duties.  I looped through the Garden of the Gods, down Ridge Rd and made a lap around Red Rock Canyon before returning home the same way.  20 miles and glad to be done before the big heat.

Sunday's forecast was for 90's, so we headed up Ute Pass to check on the city's water supply at Rampart Reservoir.  We had to get an early start or else miss out on parking spots at our favorite trailhead.  At 9300' elevation to start, the air is generally at least 10 degrees cooler than it would be at the house at 6800'.  It was an absolutely perfect morning with clear blue skies and mild temperatures - time to get rolling.
 Quiet bay
 Massive granite boulders are numerous along the trail

We like to start at the Rainbow Gulch trailhead and run down to the reservoir.  It means you have to finish with a climb, but it also makes the run a little longer :)  Early on in the run, we saw mostly fisherman down on the shore in various places, a couple runners, a mountain biker, and these folks:
 Kayakers enjoying the quiet morning
 Running some nice forest trails
 Views like this distract along the entire route

As we have said before, this is one of those "trick" runs.  Aside from the raw elevation, this trail has no extended alpine climbs nor does it have abundant technical footing.  However, the constant jaw-dropping views and incessant ups and downs that come with running the the shoreline of a mountain reservoir place a drag on your concentration, and eventually, your energy reserves.  There is a constant struggle to push an even pace - so this is a good mental training run, although the reservoir usually wins the struggle....
 Kathleen cruises the scenic trails
 Once again - views on the right, wait...watch your step...
 Looking out from the dam - the sharp point left of center is Blodgett Peak

Standing on the dam, looking out across the ridge you can see a wee bit of the sprawl that is Colorado Springs.  Here is the odd thing:  it is about a 28 mile drive to get to the trailhead from our houseBlodgett Peak is only about a 3-ish mile hike from our front door.  From Blodgett to the reservoir, as the crow flies, is maybe 3 to 3.5 miles.  So you start wondering, if there was a good route, why not just bust over the hill from home, trudge up to the reservoir, run a lap, then run home???  Hmmm, maybe some time pouring over the Ormes Pikes Peak Atlas map is in order...
 Back around to the inlet - plenty of snowmelt pouring in

After crossing the dam, the west side of the reservoir goes by in a flash as the 2.5 miles or so on that side seem so short compared to the length of the eastern side with the large inlets.  Running through the forest, more and more light peers through, the sound of rushing water tickles the ears, and then you pop out of the trees along the inlet, ready for the climb out to the trailhead.
Stop for a pose

From the footbridge, it is about a mile and a half climb out, starting on sweet singletrack following the inlet.  At the end of the trail, it is back out onto a wider trail (more like a road) that is quite exposed - it was here we noticed just how warm it was becoming, and we were glad to be finishing, not starting as so many were.   The route ends up at 14.25 miles with just under 2400' climb.  It was a bit of a stretch for Kathleen, but she made it.  It was a great run - yet another that is so close to home!  We stopped in Woodland Park for some Starbucks refueling, then stopped on the westside of town to hit Rudy's BBQ for some awesome smoked turkey and green chili stew to repair some tired legs!!!  We were glad to have been up high - we hit 96 degrees in town, only 2 degrees shy of a record high!   Happy Trails!
Satellite view

Shoes - K Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC
S - Montrail Masochist

12 comments:

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a little trail blazing is in order! Great photos, it looks so cool and dry there!

Laura@Run_Eat_Date said...

Stunning pictures and great idea to beat the heat! Looks like this weekend will require the same type of planning...

Christi said...

Your pictures are always so awesome! Congrats on a great run!

T Z said...

Another amazing buncha trailz. Are you saying there is a trail route from your house? How cool that would be.

96 is hot. We hit 106 yesterday. It's supposed to be triple digits for the next several days here. I am just sick thinking about my 50 mile race this weekend.

Brad Poppele said...

Wow that looks like a great place to run! I will have to run that at some point. Too many trails too little time! Thanks for sharing.

Knuckledragger said...

Very nice, as always. Jealous. Thanks though for the photos

ajh said...

Gorgeous gorgeous pics. I love the new header. I am guessing you saw the lovely bull snakes on one of these runs. The Starbucks and chili sound just right.

Jill said...

Very pretty! I should take Brendan down there with his kayak and I can pretend I can run some trails around there! Is there a road that can take you to the res to get the boat in? Well, obviously there is....

I am STOKED K was able to get up to 14.25 miles, that's incredible!!! So happy for her. I tore a rib muscle - go me! So no running here for a few more days :(.

mtnrunner2 said...

Man that sure looks relaxing! Great set of photos and nice trails. I really like the photo at the top, with the bright sun and clouds, etc.

Johann said...

Really beautiful run! It looks so peaceful and must make you feel free. About the shoe modification... the shoes I ran Comrades with when I got the broken toe are not modified at all. Maybe that's what was wrong, I didn't cut the shoes anywhere.:)

funderson said...

You've got it..anytime. Wild Bill is THE Gunnison County trail savant and he hates going where everyone else goes so you've definately got the off-the-beaten-trail hook up...that is when the snow finally melts... :)

Meg said...

I was very interested in how you explained that the views and trails took away from that energy that one usually uses to concentrate on running. I have felt that a lot when I run in a new and beautiful place. It just seems like I'd rather stop and look, rather than run and I always feel really tired after these runs. I thought it was just the elevation...interesting!
That water looked so blue and refreshing.

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