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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A little new scenery (and some familiar!)

Been a bit since a post here but we're still running!  When we got back from the desert a couple weeks back, we took a mountain bike ride one day and then headed out to Limbaugh Canyon for a sweet loop we have done a couple times.  Only we forgot how brutally steep the climb was on Trail 715 - especially on tired legs from those fantastic runs in Fruita!!!  Not really sure what to think of Limbaugh - anyone know what the "secret" is there, feel free to fill us in.  Those two runs from the fall are the MOST SEARCHED posts ever since we started blogging.  What's up with that?  Must be the Bermuda Triangle of the mountains or something...

Anyhoo, the last two weeks have been the part of Spring that everyone savors in Colorado - RainSnowFogSleetHailWind - a very annoying weather pattern.  Last weekend we had two long runs in rain/drizzle conditions and cold, so we were not in the "sharing" mode.  You can thank us.  Had some life stuff thrown in with it too and cleared that, so it was time for some good weather in time for the weekend and back to good runs. 
Out early enough to run with the moon!

Kathleen had to work today, so we were out pretty early to get some good miles for her pre-work.  Since we had nice weather and an early jump, we decided to get in some exploration.  For a while the "Scar" has been on our docket for a little exploring.  You have seen it in our pics before - the long, flat scar that was formerly Queen's Canyon Quarry and is now reclaimed.  Technically, the road up onto the scar belongs to The Navigators.  However, it is used a great deal by local hikers and runners.  There is a nice flock of bighorns that live up there - steep canyons are their deal, you know.
Heading into the canyon - Scar is in the distance still
Up onto the mining road now - Tiny Kathleen in a Big Canyon!!!
Fascinating rocks and meadows on the way up
Just a little farther...
Looking down on Glen Eyrie
Posing with the Canyon's mascot

We climbed for a while to the bighorn statue and had to head back down so Kathleen could get to work.  We will certainly be back to check out the rest of the Scar in the near future.  The climb is manageable and the scenery is certainly not what we expected once we got back in there.  There is supposed to be a trail off the far end of the scar that heads all the way over to the old plane wreckage that sits behind Blodgett Peak, as well as a trail that heads up to Palmer Reservoir.  Exploration awaits...
Cruising the descent
Down through the canyon
Some great scenery

After dropping out of Queen's, Kathleen headed off for the climb back over Flying W to home, and I rolled into the Garden of the Gods to continue the run.  It was starting to warm nicely by now, a welcome change from the last couple weeks!  Soon after hitting the Dakota trail on the front of the Garden, I ran into Jonathan & Tammy running their "backyard" trails - funny we don't bump into them more often.  Chatted a bit and was surprised to find out that they have not been running the scar as Jonathan was almost ticketed last time up because they are in the midst of a study on the bighorns - Ooops...  Might explain our solitude up there!  Good to see them again - they are racing on some sweet trails down at the Sage Burner in Gunnison next weekend - good luck!!
Still one of my faves - Siamese Twins
  Pikes Peak - crowned with clouds most of the day

I rolled through the Garden with my intent to run some things reverse of normal route - heading UP Rampart Range Road to the water tank, then descending the singletrack that is usually a laborious grunt from the Garden side.  This was the first run up RRR and, while quite manageable, it is still a task and requires some concentration on the pacing.  It is just under three miles to the tank, where you leave RRR, climb a goat path past one of the city water tanks, and gain the ridge high above the Garden and south of Queen's Canyon.
Top of the Scar, just past the hill in the forground

It was interesting to look out from this vantage point to the scar, seemingly forever away, when I had just been on it 90 minutes earlier.  It was not until on the ridgeline that I noticed that distinct singletrack across the hillside - need to find out about that too!
On the ridge, looking out at Cedar Heights - those poor folk have horrible views, eh???
Took this video while running across the ridge to the drop in for the Garden.  Hope it is not too shaky -the wind was gusty up there, so no commentary during the vid either.  This is about 800' feet or so above the Garden, so you get some pretty nice views.  Rolled out through the middle of the park, which was by now packed with people on such a great day.  Made my way up and over Flying W and home, rolling into the casa with just shy of 21 miles and 3800' of climbing.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.  Kathleen had rolled in a while back with 11 miles, which is also great for a morning run before heading off to work.  Hope all is well and might be back tomorrow with some more fun stuff.  Happy Trails!

Shoes - Saucony ProGrid Mirage
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