Stopped off on the way home from work at the new(ish) west trailhead off Highway 93 at JeffCo's North Table Mountain Open Space to take the body for a test drive.
Distance: 6 miles
Weather: Sunny and warm (!!)
The hip/back/gluteus medius thing was a bit better today, so I packed the running gear before heading off to the Boulder office early this morning. Squeezed in a quick hour-long jaunt on North Table Mountain in Golden.
Ran from the relatively new west trailhead off Highway 93. The run begins with a steep climb up a service road to the mesa top. From there, I headed southeast, with the wind howling out of the west, following an old two-track which led me to a break in a cliff band. It didn't feel right, but I descended anyway, thinking a trail might continue east along the grassy flank of the mountain. Bad choice. The trail switchbacked down to a parking lot on land owned by the Access Fund Foundation, a land trust set up by the Access Fund to protect key climbing areas.
This 29-acre parcel on the south side of North Table Mountain is known as the Golden Cliffs Preserve. Here's a bit of beta on this nice little chunk of private (but open to the public) land surrounded by open space on three sides (from here):
1995 Golden Cliffs Preserve, Colorado Working with a major donor, the AFLF was able to acquire and subsequently protect 29 acres of important open space on the south slopes of the North Table Mountain mesa, just north of the City of Golden, Colorado. The landowner had become concerned with liability at this highly popular area. This complex, long term protection project involved three separate parcel donations, subsequent annexation of a portion of the property, extensive public planning and approvals including rezoning of the property, and eventual trailhead infrastructure construction. The result was the creation of the Golden Cliffs Preserve, a crucial open space preservation project. The Preserve abuts City of Golden Open Space to the west and Jefferson County Open Space to the north, which collectively provides a network of trails interconnecting the broad open lands of North Table Mountain. Perhaps best know as on one of most popular rock climbing destinations along the Front Range, the Preserve is visited by more than 30,000 climbing enthusiasts, hikers and nature viewers annually. The Access Fund invests a substantial amount of money into parking, kiosk and signs, trail improvements, and has a vault toilet installed. The AFLF maintains long term ownership and stewardship of the Golden Cliffs and provides open public access.
I was up for some more vertical, so I went down to the lot, glanced at the trailhead sign and headed back up to the mesa top and retraced my steps back to the service road I ran up initially. From there, I headed east and north on a couple other trails, eventually dropping down the north side and picked up the North Table Mountain Loop trail that cuts through the meadow on the mountain's west side.
That trail led me back to the parking lot, right at six miles.
My back felt solid, but the gluteus muscles were still barking at me, as is my left iliac crest area, but things definitely were much improved from Saturday's sufferfest. Five hours post-run, things feel better than they did pre-run. Reason for optimism? We'll see.
Headed tomorrow a.m. for a repeat visit to Sara (chiro/ART/massage) over at Nick's Pro Fitness.
1,143 feet o' elevation gain.