Friday, April 30, 2010

Aldefer-Three Sisters - Too Short

Time:  34 minutes
Distance: 4.02 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Partly Cloudy & Cool

Squeezed in a quick run between the end of jP's baseball practice and the time I needed to pick up CP.  Fortunately, the practice was just a quarter mile from the lower lot at JeffCo's Aldefer-Three Sisters Open Space.  Jumped on the Ponderosa Trail and did figure 8 through the park on that trail and the Sister's Trail.  

The "Three Sisters" are big rock formations toward the north side of the park. From the top of the Sisters one is treated with great views down into the Bear Creek watershed and west toward Mt. Evans.  Didn't pause much for views today, though.  In and out.  Too rushed, but glad to have gotten in a few trail miles, complete with a few ups.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Georgetown - Capitol Hill - Tempo

Time: 1:46
Distance: 14.96 miles (can't bring myself to round up...)
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Partly Cloudy & Cool

Left the hotel running late to meet Matt A. down on the Mall, where he was playing ultimate. Was planning on doing some tempo work today anyway, but being late made me jump into it straight away with no w/u.

Ran five miles at tempo pace from my Glover Park hotel to the Capitol reflecting pool.  The route was on residential streets for the first two miles (with cars, street crossings and peds), then three miles of bike paths (with a couple of major street crossings) and the gravel paths along the Mall. Made one stop to watch a snippet of another ultimate game to see if I knew anyone playing (I didn't).  I played for a bunch of years in the 1990s on an ultimate club team here in D.C.  The first five miles went like this:  6:10; 5:49; 5:48; 6:14; 5:51.

After that, I ran a circuitous route around Capitol Hill, including a jaunt over by the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium, looking for Matt  No dice. I knew I was late, so I headed over to his place near Lincoln Park and met up with him and CS, just as they were about to have dinner. I was 8.5 miles into the run at this point, which meant it was the perfect time to stop, chat for 45 minutes and have a beer.

Around 9 p.m., I headed out and ran easy back toward the Capitol building, down the Mall, past the Washington Monument, the WWII and Lincoln Memorials, past the Kennedy Center, along the Potomac River, up Rock Creek Parkway and then through Georgetown to get back to my hotel.  For much of the run back I had hunger pangs like I haven't had in ages. I had little but calories on my mind. Strange, since I had a big lunch. Some local pizza and a couple of IPAs took care of that problem!

Average pace for the full run was 7:01.  A whopping 348 feet of elevation gain.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bergen Peak - Meadow View - Troublesome Gulch - Long Run

Time: 3:36
Distance: 21.1 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Cloudy & Cool

Original plan was to do a double up Bergen Peak this morning, but the conditions up high were crappy - like frozen mashed potatoes.  Not fun to run on.  (Although a guy I passed heading up did do a double.)  Still a good amount of snow on the summit trail.  Will be some time before it melts out.  I was surprised how much is lingering up top.  

There was one set of tracks from yesterday on the Too Long Trail. The summit trail was well packed, but the frozen mashed potatoes made for such a lousy running surface, I couldn't bring myself to run it again.  

Instead, I returned to the upper parking lot where I started, refilled my water bottle and grabbed another gel, and ran Meadow View to the rec center, then took Troublesome Gulch down to the water treatment plant and returned back via Lewis Ridge Road into Elk Meadow and took the Sleepy S trail back to the car.

Didn't feel very good today. Eager to be done, by the time 20 miles rolled around.

Felt pretty wrecked the rest of the day.

3,228 feet of elevation gain.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trail/Road Loop - Easy

Time: 1:09
Distance: 9 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Partly Sunny

The sun finally came out around 3 p.m., and so did I. From home, ran an easy Garmin-free run through several local 'hoods, climbed up the Troublesome Gulch Trail and returned via the Painter's Pause Trail in Elk Meadow.  As I was out, everything was melting fast. The seasonal creeks in Elk Meadow were gushing from all the rapid snowmelt.  Pretty cool.

Up early tomorrow a.m. for a couple laps up Bergen Peak. Hopefully, thing up higher melted off too.  We shall see...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Treadmill - Easy Run

Time: 45 minutes
Distance:  6 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Indoors

With a heavy rain falling, an outdoor run simply was not to be. Hit the treadmill at the Buchanan Rec Center on the way home. Did a half-mile w/u around 8:00 pace, then did 25 minutes of the "random" profile at 7:30 and ended with three miles at 6:30 pace to close it out. Felt good to sweat, but felt deprived having to run indoors after the decent weather of late.

We've gotten about four inches of snow up here over the last 24 hours.  I suspect it will melt fast, as soon as we get a few days of sunshine, but it is a blow after the Tuesday run up Bear Peak in Boulder on nearly snow-free trails (save for a few stretches near the summit).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sanitas Valley + Exploration

Time: 1:27
Distance:  8.63 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool

Another maddeningly busy day at work. Still, managed to sneak out around 4 p.m. for a quick run before heading home. 

Ran up Mapleton Hill to Sanitas Open Space and ran the Dakota Ridge Trail up to its junction with the Sanitas Valley Trail. Ran down the valley trail and picked up the social trail that heads up Sunshine Canyon from the parking lot.  

I remembered seeing another unmarked trail heading up off this unmarked trail on a run last week and decided a little exploration was in order. The this narrow ribbon of dirt headed steeply up for a good bit before leveling off and winding through a few copses of forest. After ten minutes or so, the trail started to head down to a dirt road, but I wasn't read to head down. 

Instead, I went cross-country, marching up a very steep, grassy slope bound for what looked like a trail snaking across the hillside 100 feet above.  Turned out the "trail" was little more than a deer path, but it was enough to keep me moving up. I made my way up to the ridge, which was the ridge separating Sunshine and Boulder Canyons.  The ridge-top featured a very well-defined, good-quality trail.  With Betasso visible not too far west, I headed back east, cresting a few small peaks, and ended up on the Anemone Trail, which begins in the Red Rocks area between Sanitas and Settler's Park.

I was surprised how good the trail was along the ridge.  I've heard there's a way to get from Red Rocks to Betasso on trails.  This must have been part of the way. I'll have to head back and explore more up here.  

After descending to Settler's Park, I returned to the office via Pearl and Spruce Streets, just as the first raindrops of the run started falling.

1,475 feet of elevation gain.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bear Peak - Ups

Time: 1:14
Distance:  4.76 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly sunny and cool

I love the diversity that trail running offers, not just the diversity of scenery, conditions, terrain and surfaces, but also the diversity of focus a run may require. On some runs, when the trail is rolling and smooth, the mind wanders...checking in on how the body is firing...what the wind is doing...what creature is darting from tree to tree.  Other runs require intense focus...what are the next three moves I will make on this steep descent? that rock loose, can I step on it?...should I step over that rock or on it?...where can I place my foot to make that step-up less of a step-up?

Today was one of those intense focus runs. For much of the run, my eyes were on my feet and the 10 meters ahead, and rarely anywhere else. Such is a run up Bear Peak via Fern Canyon.

I tackled this run en route home from a hard, no-time-to-breathe day at work. By the time I found the Cragmore Trailhead, I was ready for a different kind of work and a whole lot of release.  After a quick in-the-car change, I jumped out and set off running up the waterbar-strewn trail that leads up Shanahan Ridge.  I climbed a bit to the Fern Canyon trail and was soon in hyper-focus mode as the trail turned steeply up via a long set of big step-ups. I'd read about Fern being a damn steady climb and it did not disappoint. 

I was feeling good today, with the legs having a surprising amount of pep and no residual fatigue from Sunday's 31 miles (no doubt due to taking Monday off). I was pressed a bit for time, which gave me an incentive to keep up a steady pace. I made it up Fern with no problems and then began the steep, rock-strewn climb up the north shoulder of Bear Peak.

I'd never been up Bear before, and was anxious I wouldn't have time to tag the summit and get back down and home in time to pick up J & C. Summit fever set in as I got closer. I constantly was doing mental math...if it takes me five more minutes to summit, I'll still have 30 minutes to get to the car...and so it went. At last, I saw the summit ahead, complete with three hikers and two dogs (it's Boulder after all) sitting near the summit. I made quick work of the final scrambling to tag the tippity-top in 45:08.. 

I was in such a hurry, I barely took the time to take in the view (shameful!).  With time ticking by, I descended quickly back to the car, returning the way I cam in 29:02.

Fantastic run. Eager to do this one again.

Elevation gain: 2,701

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Buffalo Creek - North Fork 50K Course

Time: 5:13
Distance:  31.14 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly sunny and cool

Knowing I need to start stepping up the time and distance of the long runs, I was in the market for some longer trail runs. Earlier in the week, I had seen one of Tim Long's posts about a run he did in the Buffalo Creek area. Tim's report indicated the trails were snow-free. With the North Fork 50/50K coming up in July, I thought it would be fun to run the 50K course today. It was fun...a lot of fun.

The day started bright an early with a 4:15 a.m. wake-up call. After the usual routine and 30-minute drive to the trailhead at JeffCo's Pine Valley Ranch, I was out of the truck and running by 5:45 a.m., just as the first hints of light were breaking the sky to the east.

North Fork 50/50K Course Map - Click for a larger version

The trail starts out with an easy 3/10s of a mile of flat running on an old narrow gauge railroad bed. From there, the course heads across the North Fork of the South Platte River, picking up the Buck Gulch trail, and begins a steady climb to gain the the ridge rising far above the river. After about three miles of climbing, I hit the first trail junction and jumped on the Skipper Trail and began a fast descent down along a creek. Soon, I crossed the creek and steadily climbed up to a meadow and the junction with the Homestead Trail. Homestead winds through a beautiful stand of well-spaced ponderosa pines, complete with a carpet of wild grasses, reminiscent of historical conditions for this habitat type.

Sunrise, looking east from the Buck Gulch Trail

Burned ponderosa pine forest, looking west from the Buck Gulch Trail as the sun rises.

Homestead dumped me out on a short stretch of the Miller Gulch Trail and led me to the rollicking downhill of the Gashouse Gulch Trail.  After descending a few miles, Gashouse bears left and soon I was running through the barren remnants of the 1996 Buffalo Creek fire. With odd rock formations sticking up here and there and downed, burned trees laying like so many pick-up sticks, the scene was as beautiful as it was stark.

A stretch through leafless aspen trees descending on the Gashouse Gulch Trail

Gashouse ended at Buffalo Creek Road, which is now closed to cars and runs next to the area's namesake -- Buffalo Creek. After half a mile, the trail heads up again, this time on the Tramway Trail, which climbs a couple of miles to its intersection with the Colorado Trail.  After 3.8 miles on the Colorado Trail, I crossed Forest Service Road 550 right at the run's halfway point - 15.5 miles. 

After the road crossing, it was time for more downhill, this time on the Morrison Creek Trail. This undulating trail led me back down to Buffalo Creek Road, just a bit uphill from where I picked up Tramway a while back. I got back on the Gashouse Gulch Trail for about 100 meters before hanging a right up the Baldy Trail.

Interesting rock outcropping along the Morrison Creek Trail exposed by the 1996 Buffalo Creek fire

I knew Baldy well from previous runs and mountain bike rides in this area. It's a steady two-mile climb to a gorgeous rock outcropping then another mile of running through a plateau of ponderosas. Soon, it was back on the MIller Gulch Trail for 2.2 miles of up-and-down double-track. I really enjoyed this part of the run. I was cruising along at a low-7 pace admiring the forest and the occasional glimpse of distant rock outcroppings.  On this stretch, I came across the first mountain bikers (heck, the first people)  I'd seen all morning...right at about 24 miles.

A nice stand of ponderosa pines along the Miller Gulch Trail

Looking north at the intersection of the Miller Gulch and Homestead Trails

The trail builders knew how to take advantage of natural features on the Homestead Trail

I continued on MIller Gulch to it's second intersection with the Homestead Trail, which would loop me 2.6 miles back to the intersection with the Skipper and Homestead Trails, which I'd been through 4.5 hours prior. Here I picked up my last trail, the Strawberry Gulch Trail, complete with a sign that indicated Pine Valley Ranch was a mere two miles further on.and, I knew, about 1,000 feet lower.

As the trail turned downwards, I found the energy for a late-run surge and I began cruising downhill, passing a string of mountain bikers cranking their way up. I remembered this downhill stretch from previous excursions and was enjoying the effortless downhill cruise. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the last stretch of climbing, but no matter, I had enough bounce left to make quick work of the climb and soon resumed my downhill cruise.

Cruising down Strawberry Gulch with just 1.5 miles to go

Strawberry Gulch soon intersected with the Buck Gulch Trail, where the real part of my run began five hours earlier. From here, it was another half-mile downhill, over the river and back to the parking lot via the Narrow Gauge Trail.

Other than stopping for equipment adjustments, food, picture-taking and bio breaks, I ran the whole thing. The ups on this course are all gentle and completely runnable and there are few rocks. Most all of the trail is either dirt or forgiving fine granite gravel. And, the scenery is gorgeous. This run has a bit of everything: healthy stands of mixed forests, pure stands of ponderosa, some aspen stands, open meadows, a dozen or so creeks with nice riparian areas and, of course, vast patches of fire-scarred land. 

The fire, while devastating, created a whole new type of beauty. It opened up views that once were obscured by overly-thick stands of forests. Bizarre-shaped, erratic rock outcroppings, once hidden in deep forests, now stand exposed like sentinels watching out over vast stretches of exposed hillsides.

Together, it all adds up to a great place to run. The July North Fork 50/50K should be a very fun, and fast, race. I've given some thought to entering it, but decided I'd wait and see how the San Juan Solstice 50 the month before goes. 

4,252 feet of elevation gain.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Elk Meadow - Meadow View Loop

Time: 47 minutes
Distance: 5.31 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cloudy and cool

Easy a.m. jog from home to Elk Meadow Open Space  Ran a loop that included Painter's Pause, Founders' Trail, Meadow View and a social trail down the gulch back to our neighborhood. Five or six other runners on the trail this morning taking advantage of the perfect running temperature - a bit more sun, though, would have been appreciated.

Planning on heading over to the Buffalo Creek/Pine Valley Ranch area early tomorrow to run the North Fork 50 50K course. If anyone's interested in running all or part of it, I'm aiming to hit the Pine Valley Ranch trailhead around 6 a.m.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Elk Meadow - 12x400

Time: 1:06
Distance: 8 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & warm

A bit o' the speedwork today. Couldn't bear a stint at the track with the trails drying out, so I decided to try something different. 

I did a 2.4 mile w/u running from home down Quarterhorse Road and around the Elk Meadow dog park. Once I hit the upper lot at Elk Meadow and got on the park's trails, I started doing on the Meadow View and Painter's Pause Trails a series of 400-meter surges with two-tenths of a mile jogs in between. I ran the surges on whatever terrain the trails threw at me (uphills, downhills, snow, mud, etc...).  The 12 400s went like this:  1:39; 1:50; 1:43; 1:39; 1:40; 1:26; 1:25; 1:22; 1:18; 1:54; 1:25; and 1:34. The average pace for the 400s had a high of 7:38 and a low of 5:23. I never went all out, just ran them "comfortably hard."

This was a pretty entertaining workout. The variable terrain was certainly a heck of a lot more challenging (and scenic!) than a track. Plus, the surface is, of course, a lot less jarring and much more in line with what I'll experience in any race I run.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mt. Sanitas - Frontside Loop

Time: 1:13
Distance: 7 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & warm

Easy pace run from work to Mt. Sanitas. Ran up to the Sanitas summit via the Hogback and East Side Trails and returned down the west side on the Mt. Santias Trail. Pace was easy, but steady. Felt strong the whole way out and back.  Beautiful day. Lot's of people on the trail.

I can't remember the last time I went up Sanitas via the east side. It was a nice change. Was thinking on the way down how much I don't like running down either side of Sanitas on the maintained  trails. I much prefer the route down I ran yesterday. It's much less technical, with no big step-downs and is, thus, substantially more runnable, and less crowded.

Must remember to charge the GPS watch. Was back to low tech for today's run.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Work - Mt. Sanitas Loop

Time: 1:34
Distance: 10 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & windy

Tempo pace/effort run was the plan for the day. With the sun out and temps in the 60s, not even the fierce spring Chinook wind gusts could serve as any kind of excuse for not getting out for a good, hard run. 

Ran tempo pace/effort from the office, up Mapleton Hill to the Mt. Sanitas trailhead. Paused at the picnic shelter to retie my shoes (the laces on the Brooks Cascadias will not stay tied without some serious double-knotting), then hit the lap button on the watch and began working my way up the seemingly endless collection of steps and step-ups that is the Mt. Sanitas Trail. I was feeling pretty good today, so I pushed it a bit, running everything I could and doing the hand-on-knee presses when I was relegated to speed hiking the biggest step-ups. Hit the summit a short while later gasping and feeling alive. Didn't know until I got back to the office and downloaded the Garmin data that I PR'd today's ascent with an 18:04, besting my previous PR of 19:51.

From the summit, I headed north and picked up the social trail that descends southwest to a turn-out a couple of miles up Sunshine Canyon from the Sanitas picnic shelter.  From the turn-out, I ran a couple hundred meters uphill to Granite Drive and ran this dirt road down to Timber Trail and its intersection with Sunshine Canyon Road. Fifty meters downhill, I picked up another social trail that parallels Sunshine and leads back to the parking lot across from the Sanitas picnic shelter. From the lot, I headed up and over the hump to Settlers Park and Eben G. Fine Park and ran the paved Boulder Creek Trail to Naropa and took 23rd Street back to the office at Folsom and Spruce.  

This was a great run. I loved this loop. The combination of surfaces (asphalt, concrete, gravel roads, rock, dirt), elevation profiles (flat, gentle incline, serious ups, serious downs, gentle descents) and paces (tempo, uphill slog, downhill glide and rolling joy) was like a running buffet -- it's all there and you get to pick and choose, taking only what you want. While the Sanitas ascent was, of course, strenuous, the full run felt effortless, as if the legs were on autopilot...just going.  What's more, it was pure joy. My favorite part was the section of social trail along Sunshine. It's rolling and narrow. My favorite kind of trail to run.

2,312 feet of elevation gain. Average pace for the run (w/u, c/d, Sanitas, tempo) was 9:28.  I'll have to make this a regular route.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mt. Falcon , Red Rocks, Hogback - Long Run

Time: 3:25
Distance: 20.52 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Average
Weather: Sunny & warm

If you had to pay to run, would you? I would, and today I did.

With JP travelling for work this weekend, my options were to take the weekend off, or find a babysitter to watch JP and CP while I got in a long run. The Babysitter Gods were smiling this weekend, and I was able to get out for a reasonably long run this morning under sunny skies and 70+ degree temps. It cost me a few bucks, but it was money well spent!  And, I got out early enough to still have the afternoon to goof around with JP and CP.

Due to time considerations and lingering snow in the higher elevations, I opted for some Front Range trails. I started just outside of Morrison by C-470 and began running west toward town.  I remembered a trail I had seen last summer on the southeast side of the hogback. I found it again, complete with a sign that helpfully read "Trail."

The trail was actually a set of stairs heading steeply up. Assuming the trail would take me up to a trail along the top of the Hogback, I headed up. The trail, instead, dead-ended at some climbing spots. Figuring there had to be a trail up top, I did some class II climbing to get up and around some big slabs and made my way to the top of the hogback. Alas, no trail. Despite having thoughts of "when you're in a hole, stop digging" running through my mind, I pressed on. Surely there must be a trail somewhere. Public land this close to the Metro area is too precious. Alas, twas not to be. After scrambling for 25 minutes (the first mile clocked in at 26 minutes), I decided to cut my losses and started down-climbing the west side. My destination was Mt. Falcon Open Space, which I could see from my now-lofty vantage point. The challenge was that there's a quarter-mile of private land between the public land and the road I needed to be on. So, I ran south, figuring I could find a sneak to get to the road. After a couple of miles of running along old cow tracks, I hit a dirt service road and made my way out. I never jumped a fence, but the gate I had to hop to get to a public dirt road indicated I was traipsing across someone's ranch, at least for a bit of the way.

The hogback outside Morrison from Mt. Falcon Open Space. I climbed up the left side.

Well, now I know...there's no trails along that section of the hogback.  So, onto Mt. Falcon.

I ran a steady pace up 3.8 miles up the mountain on the Castle Trail, hitting the shelter in 30 minutes and the upper parking lot in 43 minutes. On the upper reaches of the trail, I ran into Donnie, a guy I ran with for several miles at the Moab 50K. He was out getting in some miles in preparation for the Collegiate Peaks 50 and the SJ50. He was running with another guy out prepping for Western States.

Looking west on the upper section of the Castle Trail in Mt. Falcon Open Space

After turning around and heading back down, I made my way over to Red Rocks and ran a series of trails through the big red rocks to the amphitheater. The joint was hopping, with many people out sightseeing, exercising and taking in the views. I ran up the stairs to the top and continued on running a series of roads and trails, making my way over again to the the hogback, this time several miles north of where I started. 

Red Rocks Amphitheater 

I picked up a trail across from Red Rocks, climbed to the top of the hogback (there is a trail along this section!) and then down to Alameda Parkway, which is now closed to cars west of C-470. Now on pavement, I pushed the pace a bit at the end to polish off the last two miles (7:25; 6:52).

3,813 feet of total elevation gain for the day..

Friday, April 9, 2010

Elk Meadow - Super Loop

Time: 1:01
Distance: 7.3 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & cool

Up early to get in a run before JP headed out for five days of travel. Ran from home, through the hood, up to the upper lot at Elk Meadow, Meadow View Trail to the north end social trail, then back to the lower lot via Painter's Pause. Most of the trail was in good shape, save for the section in the trees along the meadow's edge on the east side of Bergen Peak. A few more days of warm teams and we should be back in least on this lower trail.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Green Mountain - Ups

Time: 1:07
Distance: 5.38 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Average
Weather: Sunny & cool, but glorious

Hit the hill early this week. I started up the Gregory Canyon trail just a hair before seven a.m. The trail was almost totally clear of snow/ice until the downhill stretch just before the creek crossing downstream from the ranger cottage. As I ran this section, I was thinking about how nice it is that I'll be able to get to know this trail in a whole different way, once all the snow and ice is melted off. There will be new patterns to run through rock gardens, bigger step-ups (no packed snow to make them seems smaller) and no slippage to send unwanted waves of fatigue through the legs.

From the ranger cottage to the top, it was all ice/snow. Fortunately, there was just a bit of crusty snow on top of the ice to allow provide a bit of traction.


Ranger cottage:17:56
4-way: 37:48
Summit: 41:12

I soon need to find a minute in each of first two sections. It's time.

Hit the summit at almost the same moment Tony arrived from the Ampi-Saddle-Green route. I was breathing hard, hands on my knees. He, well, wasn't. After a few minutes chatting atop the summit rock, gazing at the crystal clear views of the Indian Peaks, I was off back the way I came. Ran past another runner, who I think was Kraig - didn't get a change to introduce myself. Down in a relaxed (no traction devices today) 26 minutes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Washington Park - Mile Repeats

Time: 1:02
Distance: 7.25 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly sunny & cold

Spent the day in Denver at a meeting at the Botanical Gardens. An hour and half break between the meeting and a group dinner was just enough time to squeeze in the day's speedwork.

I headed over to Wash Park, did a two-mile w/u and then did 3x1 mile (5:55; 5:55; 5:58) with 800 meter breaks (8:50; 8:07 pace) and a one-mile c/d at 7:32.

After a quick wipe down at a gas station en route downtown, I met back up with the meeting crew for a fabulous meal at the Vesta Dipping Grill in LoDo. The veggie samosas and tofu steak were amazing. Best meal I've had in months.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Evergreen Mountain - Long Run

Time: 3:09
Distance: 19.1 miles
Effort: Easy/Long
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly sunny & cool

Looking out our window across the hills and dales of Evergreen, Evergreen Mountain occupies a prominent place in our viewshed. It's a rounded, north-facing mountain with a rocky bald spot, bright with April snow, that makes for a familiar hump three miles to the south.

Today's plan was to run from home to the top of Evergreen Mountain, with a few interesting stops along the way.

From the house, I ran through a local neighborhood, then jumped on the People's Path, a paved sidewalk that parallels Evergreen Parkway. I followed this a couple of miles to Dedisse Park, a Denver Mountain Park on the north side of Upper Bear Creek Road. A dirt road snakes through park and dead ends at a final picnic spot. Here a nice single track winds down the south-facing hill to Upper Bear Creek Road. Across the road, the Dedisse Trail winds its way uphill, around the Evergreen Golf Course and into JeffCo's Aldefer-Three Sisters Open Space Park. 

Once in Three Sisters, I ran to the trail high point in the park, just below the Three Sisters, which are prominent rock outcroppings looming up above Bear Creek (there's a Brother, too, but it's across Buffalo Park Road in the Evergreen Mountain open space park). After a few more miles in Three Sisters, I made a pit stop at the upper parking lot and then headed across Buffalo Park Road and around the meadow in front of Evergreen Mountain.

To this point, the trail had been virtually snow free.  Once in the trees of Evergreen Mountain, however, it was all packed snow. I took the trail up the west side of the mountain and made quick work of the switchbacks up to the intersection with the two-mile summit lollipop out-and-back. On the south side of the large, rounded summit, one is treated to an amazing view of Mt. Evans and its surrounding peaks. I paused here for a few moments of mountain-gazing before returning to the main intersection and heading down the east side trail and back into Three Sisters.

I returned on the Dedisse Trail, ran up Upper Bear Creek Road to the Lakehouse and into downtown Evergreen to refill my water bottle at good ol' Beau Jo's Pizza. For the final stretch home, I did the big climb on Douglas Park Road and wound through Hiwan Hills and back home.

Beautiful afternoon. Whetted my appetite for more snow-free trails!