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
Related Posts with Thumbnails