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

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Incline and Barr Camp

We had thought about trying some new trails up north a ways on Sunday, but decided with the great weather - and the prediction that it would be leaving town - we might rather enjoy the awesome day closer to home and leave the 3 hours in the car for another weekend.  So we pulled a random one from the hat and decided to hit the Manitou Incline and then head up to Barr Camp.  Some may be shocked by this, but in 20+ years living in the shadow of Pikes Peak, I have had never been to the iconic Barr Camp.  In fact, I have never been on the summit of Pikes Peak.  Kathleen has done both, but not me.  Of course, I have only been on one 14er period, as I have ear troubles that high, but I see this mountain every.day.of.the.year.  Given that it was forecast for sunny skies and 70 in town, what better day to see some new turf.
Manitou Incline looks so innocent from far away
Step and Repeat ... approaching the 68% grade and looking up to the false summit
Kathleen summits with Colorado Springs west side sprawling below

As was expected, the Incline was a freeway - lots and lots of 'traffic' to weave through, which is not easy on 3000 railroad ties going straight up.  I'll try not to rant, but there were a fair amount of inconsiderate folk out Sunday who did not want to move out of the way, which is very annoying.  This was the case coming back down Barr later in the route as well.  Let's be honest here - if you are going to be out on the Incline and/or Barr Trail on a weekend, there are going to be lots of folks out.  A good handful of them will be runners and fast hikers.  If you get your snuff ruffled by having to move aside for traffic to go through, probably not a good place for you.  Just a public service announcement....  Anywho, where was I???  So we made our way up the Incline, not pushing to quite our normal extent as we needed to have a good reserve for the continuing climb to Barr Camp.
Kathleen feeling invincible at the top of the Incline!!!
Shooting over the connector trail to Barr
Lots of stellar views of this rock on Sunday!
Happy Trails indeed - not too shabby for a photo backdrop!
Making our way up to Camp
Up here, the leaves were long gone...
Made it to Barr Camp

We hopped onto Barr Trail from the Incline connector and had just under 4 miles to the camp.  Along this section, there are a couple stretches which are the "flattest" parts of Barr Trail and made for some nice running.  It was shaping up to be a phenomenal day and we were soaking it in, taking tons of pictures, and enjoying the treat that it is to live in the place we call home!  It was probably in the low to mid 50's as we approached Barr Camp, but the intensity of the sun at 10,200' made it quite balmy.  We sat out on the deck for a bit, refueling and chatting with the gracious caretakers.  It was pretty sweet hanging out there and probably won't be the last visit to that deck on a sunny day .....  After fueling up and getting a short rest, it was time for some raging downhill.  Aside from several short climbs on the way down, you are looking at 6.5 miles of mostly decline heading back into Manitou Springs.   Hang on!
Sunny day and feeling good
Looking out from the W's across to the Garden - awesome!
Back down at the Cog Railway Depot - spectacular fall day!
Our 11.25 mile route - quite the gaudy first mile, eh?

The Incline shaves a bit of mileage off the round trip number, but who is really counting miles on this kind of run?  11.25 miles with accumulated gain and subsequent descent of 4100' made for some tired legs (and sore quads!!) by the time we were done.  It was a blast and we had some stellar weather to be out enjoying the lower part of the Pikes Peak Massif.  

Shoes - K Nike LunarFly Trail
S Brooks Cascadia

We were not done with our visit to Manitou Springs, however, as it was time to refuel at Coquette's Bistro & Bakery.  Check out these plates:
Kathleen went for the Fat Frenchie
And I had the Monte Cristo Crepe - plate was not full for long!
Manitou was hopping on this fantastic fall day
Monday, Kathleen enjoyed near record temps out on the road bike touring the hills above our neighborhoods.  She was once again treated to some awesome views on a 25 mile loop with overlooks such as this:
Not bad views for a Monday ride?
Great day for a walk in the park, too!!

Happy Trails!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Garden's Fall Showcase

  Fall color showing off at Garden of the Gods
  Glen Eyrie from far above
  Drop in to Rampart Range Road from upper right - to the left is downhill into Glen Eyrie
  Looking across Cedar Heights from RRR - majestic Pikes Peak looks grand as always
 Rampart Range Road with Mt. Rosa - some aspens still golden in the forest up there
 Labyrinth of trails in the Garden
 Sleeping Giant and Cathedral Rock
 Ute Trail
 Niobrara Trail above the old reservoir
 Side view of Cathedral Rock from Ute Trail
 Awesomeness on display
Parting shot...

Great fall run at the Garden - wanted to get the photos up for some fall colors.  A little over 15 miles and 2600' elevation gain.  Great day - photos tell that!

Double Delight - last rose of the season.  We brought it in to save it from the frost!!

Happy Trails!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Black Hills Visit in Photos

Been fighting photo uploads not working ALL WEEK, so these are behind schedule.  Turned out to be an issue with Firefox 7, so this post is brought to you thanks to Google Chrome.  So you are getting the full dump of photos from our South Dakota trip - if a picture paints a thousand words, here's 32k worth for you! Aren't you glad after that race report that you don't have to read 32 thousand words from us - sheesh!  Hope your browser doesn't explode unloading photos....

 Rode the steam train to Keystone after the race
 Blowing off some steam, so to speak
 Then we went for the first visit to see the "Fellas"
 Great evening view
Monday we walked only - no running - Mickelson Trail
Tuesday - Deerfield Lake Loop - another perfect day, although unseasonably warm
 Kathleen on the Lake loop
 Sweet trail and nice fall colors showing
 Deerfield Lake
 Happy Trails
 Nearing the end of the run up at Deerfield - 15 miles and it was 84 degrees when we finished!
 Wednesday run on the Flume Trail - a National Recreation Trail
 Very scenic trail following an old mining flume 
from Sheridan Lake to Rockerville
 Tunnel that the flume passed through - only about 5 feet tall 
and quite dark at about one hundred feet long - not for the claustrophobic!
Kathleen on Flume Trail
Very sweet trails
Part of the old retaining walls for the flume
Lots of running on trail that was cut out of rock cliff faces
 Pedestrian bridge over the Sheridan Lake outlet

 Sheridan Lake - another beautiful place we ran around
 After the run, off to spend more time at the Shrine of Democracy
 Took about 100 pics of these guys
 HT at MR
 Came back a third time for the evening lighting - very cool
 Never got tired of Mount Rushmore
 Thursday, we ran a short loop at Horsethief Lake 
 Most of the run was in wilderness, and once again, we had the trails to ourselves
 Lots of awesome singletrack to explore here - this area has the potential 
to be a trail runner's paradise - we WILL be back!
 Autumn's golden carpet
 More trails than time (or legs) would allow this visit
Farewell Horsethief Lake - and thanks for the memories Black Hills, SD!
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