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

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Brick and some New Trails!

Headed out for one of our regular routes Saturday morning as Kathleen had to get to work.  We got out early and headed over to the top of Mesa Rd overlooking the Garden of the Gods, before turning around and retracing our steps.  We included the little side trip on the Blair Bridge Open Space trail both directions for a little variety.  It was an awesome morning, smoke-free once again, and, after some lingering cloud cover Friday night, quite humid by our standards - over 50% until around noon! 
Running up from the landmark Blair Bridge
Kathleen on the bike path at the top of Mesa Rd - Nice view into Queen's Canyon in the background
From the Mesa overlook - a little skirt of clouds in front of the Peak
At the top of Blair Bridge OS - quite the landscape behind us!

We were happy to get in a nice 10 miler for a pre-work run and had a great time enjoying the much cooler than average summer morning.  

Shoes - Saucony Progrid Mirage

I have been generally running more distance after Kathleen heads out, but didn't feel like running any more.  Don't know if it's general malaise or thought maybe I picked up a bug in Iowa - dang Midwesterner's ;-)  So instead of calling it a day, I hopped on this:
The trusty steed

I rolled out on the road bike, forgetting that it is much easier to under dress for running.  The 58 degrees caused me to stop at the first intersection and pull the arm sleeves out of the Camelbak (yes, I wear one on the ROAD BIKE too!!)  I did a nice loop around Fillmore, Mesa Rd, and then looped around the Garden Roads before climbing over Flying W and heading in for the day.  Twenty miles on the bike, which made for a nice brick workout and helped knock off the rust from whatever had me dragging!  Ended up being a nice day.

Shoes - Northwave Revolution - My "Other" favorite Italian bike shoe

New Trails at Mueller State Park
Kathleen at the Rock Pond trailhead, aka #5 - starting out the day

We took a little drive just over half an hour from home to Mueller State Park today to try out the trails.  Many years ago, we did some backcountry skiing in Mueller but had never been there to run.  We may have mountain biked there once, but mostly we have seen the trails under a blanket of snow.  We had a large outer loop in mind to get in some mileage goals, however that would change when we hit the entrance gate this morning.  The ranger informed us that the northern trails were all closed for Elk calving.  What?  It was like the Griswolds hitting Wally World with an empty parking lot.  "Sorry sir, the trails you want to run are closed.  The ELK out front should have told you so..."  So we had to improvise a bit and head out on totally unfamiliar trails.  All the trail markers have only numerical markings, so we would highly recommend a map if you go.  The trails are mostly wide and non-technical, though there is some singletrack, and for the most part, the surface is decomposed granite.  There is also a lot of steep terrain, so bring your "good legs" when you venture out for a run.
Rock Pond trail was lined with fantastic aspen stands
Brook Pond - a slight detour off of Rock Pond trail
Kathleen cruises past Rock Pond

The main road and visitor's center area all sit on a spine/ ridge that runs through the park.  So most of the trails start downhill and then climb sharply back up to that ridge.  (Something to remember as you do loops here!)  After passing Rock Pond, we took a new trail - #15 which the ranger called Rock Creek - that is not on any of the maps yet.  It is a steep climb out following the creek up many small waterfalls and is a nice narrow singletrack. 
Log foot bridge on trail 25

At the top of the climb, we jumped on 25, the Geer Pond loop and soon came to the namesake pond:
Geer Pond
Osborn Homestead - in a little disrepair

After skirting Geer Pond, we were treated to a very steep climb for quite some time until we reached Osborn Homestead - trail 27.  A quick drop down to the ruins of the Osborn family's living quarters leads to a nice open meadow.
Boardwalk through the marsh in the meadow

Trail 27 is mostly grassy and winds around open meadows and back onto another pretty good climb to the Black Bear loop (13).  Black Bear starts with a very steep descent into a forested area and drops out at the remains of the Nobel Cabin - and the start of trail 30, the Nobel Cabin Trail.  Guess what?  It climbs steeply back out to the 13 trail, and then continues upward, regaining the ridge to near where the road travels through the park.
Kathleen on Nobel Cabin trail
Revenuer's Ridge Trail (#1)

Upon gaining the ridge contour, you drop in on what was arguably the premier trail we ran today - #1 ~ Revenuer's Ridge Trail.  This sweet singletrack runs the contours near, or just below, the roadway back through the park to the visitor's center.  It alternates between vast open meadows and densely treed forest areas and was simply a blast to run.
Video from Revenuer's
Kathleen at the top of an awesome meadow!
Top of the School Pond trail (#2)

We rolled back through the visitor's center parking area at 11.5 miles and 2300' of climbing, and Kathleen was ready to be done - pleased, but done.  She followed me over to the trailhead for a group photo and did a bit of walking to let her legs wind down some.  From there I took the 2 over to the 21 - Aspen Trail.  This was a bad move, but how would I have known...?  As expected, I took an extended descent past the School pond loop on Aspen, but when I thought I hit bottom, I got a "surprise".  The next two miles consisted of a series of short, steep hills - straight up then right back down, gradually gaining back up to the ridge.  A couple were 20+% on both sides, so I would most likely not run this one again, especially nearing 15 miles into a run.  Oh, and I was almost trampled by a cow elk that was running faster than I ever could.  I was beginning to think elk sounded good for dinner...
Finally back on top of the world - great view of the distant peaks!

Second visit to Revenuer's Ridge

After rolling back through the staging area for some needed liquids, I had contemplated heading across the road to run the Elk Meadows area.  However, I wasn't real keen on "elk" today, and Revenuer's Ridge sweet ribbon of singletrack was beckoning me for a second run.  So I caved in and ran it again!!!  Ended the run with right at 20 miles and around 3900' climbing.  Hope you enjoyed the tour of Mueller - we sure did!  At elevations between 9000 and 10,000 feet, this is also a nice reprieve from the summer heat in Colorado Springs and some good altitude training close to home.  Happy Trails!

Shoes - Montrail Mountain Masochist


Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

I am not sure I have done this before - but thanks so much for ALL the hard work you put into your blog. great writing and all the pictures and videos. you can tell you like what you do in life - running that is. I am sure the blogging as well. Glad to see K looking so healthy on the trails. Again another great post and thanks for all the visuals!!! congrats on a weekend of long runs and cycling!

mtnrunner2 said...

Holy cow those are some pretty trails. What a great place to run.

T Z said...

WOW. What a treat. You have found another gem of a trail. You lucky dogs! :-)

Jill said...

WOW!! Then new trail sounds awesome...maybe one day by the end of the summer I could tackle that, it'd great to get beyond my little flat trails over at CC Park. Truly amazing pictures!

Funny to see your pic of PP and how there's little snow on it yet when we were riding yesterday and saw PP (from the top of Mt.Everest :)) it looked like it was still sporting lots of it. It's all melting quickly though - I hear the white water rafting is crazy right now. Hum...now that's something I haven't seen you do....

Christi said...

Wow what great pix! I must go check that out!

Johann said...

Great that you could run on some new trails! The photos are beautiful as always. Soon I’ll be back on the trails with some awesome races lined up still this year. Have a good week!

Knuckledragger said...

Great photos of Mueller Park - proving yet again that we live in an awesome place. Good to see you avoided Elk on the menu.

ajh said...

I love the picture of Kathleen near Rock Pond. Sounds like a very full weekend. Glad you didn't get hit by an elk. Where is the picture of it?

Meg said...

K, you're looking strong and happy...especially the pix with Steve. You two are a true team, like peanut butter and jelly. I just love it.
I noticed Steve's bike is a Giant. I have a Giant mountain bike but is that a good brand? I'm always trying to remember why we picked that brand, we bought it years and years ago.
Gorgeous early summer pictures, I've totally enjoyed the seasons out your way this year. Thanks for sharing. It's "sunny" here, just like it was last season :) .

Glenn Jones said...

Wow. I need to get to the mountains (the real ones) soon. Beautiful!

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