Very nice evening out-and-back run from Bear Creek to the summit of Elephant Butte, which included a newly discovered stretch of (shhhhhhhhhh) secret trail.
Distance: 7.76 miles
Weather: Cloudy & warm
Busy day at the grindstone but managed to finally get out for a few miles in the early evening. I was keen to hit some dirt somewhere other than Elk Meadow, so I drove a few miles over to Upper Bear Creek Road and parked in a dirt lot by the Evergreen Golf Course (owned by the City of Denver).
With Maya running beside me, I ran over the bridge over Bear Creek (Maya opted for the more direct, through-the-creek route) and started the climb up the Dedisee Trail to Alderfer-Three Sisters. After a couple miles, the Dedisee Trail intersects with the Hidden Fawn Trail. As I approached that intersection, I started wondering if there was a way to skate around the north side of the Sisters rock formations.
Near the intersection I saw a faint trail heading northwest and decided to check it out. With Maya leading the way, the faint track turned into a fully-evident trail. And, sure enough, it led around the rock formation and intersected with an old fire/logging road just southeast of the intersection with the Bearberry Trail in the old Blair Ranch parcel. Perfect.
From there, I ran the Mountain Muhly horseshoe to its apex on the west side of the park. Here, I picked up a cairned social trail that I knew would lead to the well-maintained, but unofficial, trail up Elephant Butte on Denver Mountain Parks land.
Hit the highpoint on the Butte's summit in 49:05. Paused for a few minutes to soak in the views of Mt. Evans and let Maya catch her breath. We soon were headed back down, retracing our steps back to the truck (with dog pauses at Buffalo Creek and Bear Creek for water breaks).
1,503 feet o' elevation gain from creek to summit, 1,723 feet on the day.
Solid run. Felt pretty good the whole way. Body cooperated, with only mild discomfort. Progress.
Yesterday was an easy Meadow View Loop dog jog at Elk Meadow from the house. 5.63 miles in 52 minutes with 730 feet o' elevation gain.