Distance: 19.67 miles
Effort: Easy, Long
Weather: A Bit Chilly, Sunny
Did the long run on Saturday again, this time due to an out-of-town trip scheduled to begin tomorrow. Started at the park-and-ride lot just north of the Genesee Exit bridge off I-70. Since the trails around here are snow-covered and/or muddy, I figured a little wandering around the Lookout Mountain community was in order.
The area I refer to as Lookout Mountain is the vast collection of cabins, cottages, 70s houses and McMansions cloistered between I-70 to the south and Golden to the north.
From the park-and-ride, I headed north into the Mt. Vernon Country Club neighborhood and wound around a collection of dirt roads leading to older houses, some with dramatic views down into Clear Creek Canyon and the Beaver Brook watershed. I then headed down to Lookout Mountain Road and followed that and another off-shoot up to Jeffco's Boettcher Mansion and Lookout Mountain Nature Center. Paused at the nature center to refill my water bottle and use the facilities.
I then headed downhill looking for a neighborhood I knew border JeffCo's Apex Open Space. After a few wrong turns, ending at peoples' driveways, I finally found a promising road, complete with a sign that said "Private Road," but included a picture of a hiker and an equestrian. I figured that meant I could enter this small gated subdivision. Sure enough, there was an official JeffCo access trail down this road.
Now in Apex, I made my way up the Pick-and-Sledge trail and then dropped down the northeast face of the foothills following the trail down to the main canyon trail. Just past the little amusement park at the base of Apex, I jumped on Highway 93 and ran up to its intersection with Highway 40 and I-70. With darkness, once again fast approaching, I began the long climb up Hwy 40, which pretty much parallels I-70, to Lookout Mountain Road. I hung a right, then re-entered the Mt. Vernon Country Club property and followed that road back to the high point and descended back to my car. My car, I must admit, was a very welcome sight after that long, end-of-the-run climb.
I'm thinking my next long run is going to be down in Denver on something flat. I was pretty wrecked by the end of this run. Reminds me that I have a long way to go before I'm ready to tackle the Red Hot 50K in Moab in February.