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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunday Fun Day in the Garden

 Postcard Perfect Day at the Garden of the Gods

So how do you follow up the day after doing the infamous Incline???  Gingerly, for one.  Kathleen and her sick friends will paint this as the ultimate joy fest (don't fall for their ploy!) that you can't live without doing on a regular basis.  If you want the truth, it hurts...for days...  Sunday we decided to take our mashed quads over to the Garden of the Gods for some good trail running.  We woke to a gray blanket of cloudcover and upper 40's temps - what?  The Weather Liars Channel said it was to stay all day, so we were not in much of any hurry to get moving.   Then the clouds started to peel open and we knew we better get rolling.  Sure enough, by the time we got to the Garden - BAM - full sun and warming up rapidly.  Nothing like sun, blue skies, and this scenery to get you rolling on the trails!!!
 On the way up, stopped by my favorite withered tree

I have been getting some great mileage out of the trails we picked up while doing part of the Ponderous Posterior back in January especially during the long runs.  This would be Kathleen's second pass on some of them so it was pretty "new" for her.  We departed the Palmer trail out of the Garden and headed up onto the ridge into Pike National Forest land.
 Kathleen on the way UP!
 The desert is alive - finally

The climb out to gain the ridge is quite stout and the humidity left from the early clouds was pouring off of us in sheets.  The ridge we were climbing is also exposed from sunrise and sheltered from the breeze, so it was baking pretty good at this point.  After gaining the ridge, we ran the contour north to the water tower above Queen's Canyon and dropped out onto Rampart Range Road. 
 Cruising down RRR - enjoying the long descent!

Rampart provides a nice long descent after the harsh climb, and is also noticeably cooler than the front side was.  After approximately 3 miles, we popped back out into the Garden and ran around near the Trading Post.  We intended to run a newer cut of trail up and over to the Scotsman, however, the initial climb had a really long horse train headed up.  The stable folks from the Garden aren't too keen on letting you pass them, and riding behind a dozen or so 1000-lb walking crap factories on a hot day is a no no :)  So we cut over to the Siamese Twins trail and looped around to cut back onto the trails to the south before the horse train got there.
 Stunning landscape to run in - what is keeping you from running here...?
Temporarily Green - the valley vista

We made our way around the outer loop and headed back up to the visitor's center trailhead.  Kathleen called it a day here after a great 10 mile trail run - feeling good, too, I might add!  I topped off the water in my pack and decided against my laziness my better judgment  to run back through the park, and up Flying W before heading home for the day.  The legs were fairly toasty after 16 miles and it was time to be done.  Another great day running in some hard to beat locations.  I know, we have it rough.  But someone has to do it ....  Happy Trails!!!

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - Saucony Progrid Peregrine
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