Thursday, March 4, 2010

Green Mountain & More - Uphill

Time: 1:44
Distance: 9:01 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and fair

Upon landing in Denver after an early morning flight from D.C., I was inspired by the blue sky, bright sun and warm weather. So, I headed from DIA to Boulder for a run up Green Mountain. I had a vague idea of adding something onto the usual up-to-the-summit-and-back-down routine, but wasn't sure what to do.

So, with a pair of microspikes in hand, I ran from the Chautauqua parking lot over to Gregory Canyon and began the ascent taking the Gregory - Ranger route. Snow conditions were decent -- a little slushy, but not bad. Ran steady the whole way up and tagged the summit in 41:38. Didn't feel great, but managed to take a few seconds off my PR.

Splits: Trailhead to Green Mountain Lodge (1.32 miles, 978 feet of elevation gain):  18:31; Lodge  to West Ridge Trail junction (1.16 miles, 1,134 feet of elevation gain): 19:29; junction to summit (.18 miles, 273 feet of elevation gain): 3:38.

After a minute or two to catch my breath and take in the views, I returned down the stair steps and ran the West Ridge Trail down (and up) to Flagstaff Road. I had hopes of jumping on the Long Canyon trail, but when I got to the trailhead, I didn't see an obvious packed-out trail from the parking area, so I continued down the road a few miles and eventually jumped on the Flagstaff Trail. I followed Flagstaff to a spur trail at a climbing area and descended down to Gregory Canyon for the return to my car.

A glorious day, to be sure. It was interesting to see some people out running shirtless, and others in full winter gear hiking on the packed trails with trekking poles. Always interesting to see how different people react to the pre-spring temps.

Although I carried the microspikes the whole run, I never needed them since I didn't descend via the usual routes. There was plenty of dry shoulder on Flagstaff Road and the Flagstaff trail was nearly snow-free (although there was a little mud here and there).

3,646 feet of elevation gain.

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