Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekend Running

A nice, solid weekend of running featuring a three-hour tour around Roxborough State Park (and snow) and a cruise on the roads of north Evergreen (and snow).

Saturday - Roxborough State Park

Time: 3:02
Distance: 15.4 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Average
Weather: Gray and cold

As Jaime Y., Woody A., Scott J. and I gathered in the parking lot at the Sharptail Ridge trailhead, I glanced over at the snow-covered trail heading up past a picnic pavilion into the rolling grasslands and beyond and noticed that there was not a single set of tracks on it.

Yep, we'd be be breaking trail on the four-mile stretch of double track through this chunk of Douglas County Open Space land adjacent to Roxborough State Park.  Little did we realize at the time, but we'd be breaking trail for all but maybe 10 minutes of the next three hours of winter trail running.

For the first four miles of mostly uphill slogging, we took turns running in each other's footsteps, seeking the path of least resistance through the five or so inches of crusty snow until we entered Roxborough.

Trail sign at the junction of old County Road 5 and the Sharptail and Swallowtail Trails.

Once in Roxborough, the snow got deeper and the trail got steeper in spots as we climbed and descended on an old roadbed, veering into the Pike National Forest for a bit before reentering the park and joining up with the Powerline Trail. Through here we hit our deepest snow, in some places about 10 inches deep.

How long do I have to stand around before my feet get cold?
Jaime heads back into the park on the aptly-named Powerline Trail.
From Powerline, we hung a right and climbed up the the run's highpoint, Carpenter Peak at 7,160 feet.

Jaime scouts the skies for elusive snowy wood ducks.
Try to look natural, Scott.
Soaking up the views down in Roxborough State Park and the plains beyond.
After spending a few minutes taking in the views, we headed down the Carpenter Peak trail to the red rock formations below.

Scott J. runs through the Gambel oak descending from Carpenter Peak
The boys regroup back on old County Road 5
The Jaimes cruise back up to the Sharptail Ridge Trail junction
After the descent from Carpenter Peak, we had a short climb back up to the junction with the Sharptail Ridge Trail. Other than one short climb just after the turn-off, it was all pretty much a downhill cruise to the cars.

Jaime Y. makes the return trip look easy.
Scott J. speeding toward the trailhead and, perhaps, the day's first bit of sun.
Sunday - North Evergreen Snowy Road Run

Time: Watch battery died
Distance: 11.3 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Average
Weather: Snowing and cold (5 degrees)

Late afternoon/early evening run from home to a friends house in Soda Creek where we'd left a car the night before. Took the scenic route through the Hiwan, The Ridge and Soda Creek subdivisions.  Ran the last couple of miles in the dark, including a good bit on a totally unplowed road with six inches of new snow on it. Ran in the one set of tire tracks available.


  1. Looks like a fantastic run, Jim. Those photos are great. I run that area quite a bit and can't wait to get back up there - though it will be a while after this latest round of storms. You guys timed it just right.

  2. I ran up there from the Indian Creek Trailhead back in October. Loved the Swallowtail Trail. Lots to explore there. Easy to put together 50K of trail love with almost no overlap. Can't wait for warm temps and dry trails!

  3. Wow -- small world! So I sought your blog today to ask you a question (after chatting with Aaron K. on this morning's run, during which your name came up), and realized that you were on of the guys finishing this run at Sharptail last week... I was the guy heading out alone just as you guys were finishing! Thanks for putting some footprints out there for me to follow :)

    So about that question -- I'm trying to finagle my way into Red Hot and Aaron mentioned you had registered but won't be running... so I simply (and shamelessly) want to see if I can somehow weasel my way in through your unused entry. I'll likely ride down with Dakota Jones to spectate if I can't get in, but I'm going to see if the RD will make for me an exception.

    Anywho -- I wish we could have formally met out there on the trail -- hopefully I'll run into you again some time.

    -Brendan (