Monday, October 18, 2010

Fowler - Eldorado Canyon - Walker Ranch

Great late afternoon run complete with vibrant fall colors and a bit of drizzle...all on some of the best trails in the area.

Time: 1:57
Distance: 11 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cloudy and Cool

Originally planned to do this run first thing in the morning -- even went so far as to drive to the trailhead -- but realized at the last second that I had work commitments early enough that a morning run of this length wasn't in the cards. A little adaptive management resulted in a late afternoon return to the Fowler Trailhead, just east of Eldorado Springs.

Set off jogging up a dirt road, gazing at the beautiful colors of the grasslands to the east and the forests to the west. After a mile-and-a-half, the road joins up with an old narrow gauge railroad grade, the remnants of a two-mile effort in the early 1880s by the Denver, Utah and Pacific Railroad to link South Boulder Creek, presumably, to the rail lines serving the mines and towns to the west. The trail goes through a couple of deep, narrow cuts through rock before emerging at two miles on the road road through Eldorado Springs State Park. 

I ran up the park road and hopped onto the Eldorado Springs Trail and started climbing. After a day off yesterday to give my achin' toe some time to heal up, I was feeling solid. I ran a modest, but steady pace up to the overlook above South Boulder Creek and Walker Ranch. I paused here a while to soak in the views and revel in the stillness.

WIth the low cloud cover, even the expansive views to the west felt compressed, as if everything were within reach. As I stood there, the only sounds I heard were the steady roar of South Boulder Creek making its way down the canyon and a lone sparrow calling from a patch of nearby brush. One of those moments...

With a bit more time for fun and plenty of energy yet to expend, I bounded down the switchbacks into the eastern edge of Boulder County's Walker Ranch Open Space.  I made a quick stop at the creek's edge before turning tail and  retracing my steps back to the truck.

Really felt good this whole run...physically and mentally. Eldorado Canyon is one of those majestic places, and the trail leading over to Walker Ranch is superb...just pure singletrack bliss. Even the light drizzle the last four miles or so was welcome, a sign that something was just clicking today.

Elevation gain: 2,292 feet.

1 comment:

  1. Cool. I haven't been over to all of those new trails west of Dowdy Draw yet.

    I'm glad to know the Eldorado to Walker Ranch trail is nice. I think it's also hiker/horse only on that particular section, which I like.