Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday 8/25 Golden Gate State Park Run

On Sunday I thought I'd sneak off to see some golden aspens at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, and apparently so did a lot of other people. The park was easily 2 to 3 times as busy as usual, even approached via the lesser-used east entrance. Most parking lots were full, and people were parking on the side of the road in areas explicitly signed as "No Parking", sometimes a foot or two into the road! That could seriously cause an accident on narrow mountain roads. It was nuts. 

But I found a more mellow parking area, and embarked on a run from a new starting point. And it was a beautiful, cloudless day.



I enjoyed a little mid-run scramble right off the trail. Took the line in the middle, which was slightly iffy in running shoes, but I lived :)


Red-orange aspen leaves, which are not that common, at least where I run:


After yesterday's climbing, I have to admit this run was hard. My legs were tired, so I walked quite a few uphill stretches. I had some knee tendonitis from the steep hikes the prior day. But I kept it together and it was an enjoyable day overall.

Distance was 11.14 miles, time 2:57:59 (moving 2:42:53), avg. pace 15:59, moving pace 14:37, max pace 6:57 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 1,978 feet.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday 9/24 Flatirons Run/Scramble - Gazebo, Freeway, Etc.

Saturday ramble in the Flatirons. I think this is a photo taken towards the south from the west side of Dinosaur Rock, at which point I was just hiking around:


After some climbers left The Court at the base of Sunnyside Two on Der Zerkle, I did a traverse or two at the base and then climbed about halfway up the ramp, then downclimbed.

Photo recon of the top of Sunnyside Two. Some folks call this easy, but I like to know if I can handle a route before I get on it, especially solo. My main concern is the finish (note the slope angle), i.e. the boulders in the middle, which I'd need to get over, with the drop-off behind me:


I've been passing this slab below Der Zerkle for months now (the shot below was taken from right on the Mallory Cave Trail) and never really felt comfortable with the paucity of holds in the middle section. I finally just went for it and worked it out. The descent off the back is just scrambling down boulders. It's probably high 3rd class, with one relatively harder section in the middle. It doesn't seem to have a name, so maybe "Mini Zerk":


Looking south from the summit of East Gazebo, which has become an easy scramble for me, although beware of broken glass on the holds courtesy of drunken fools:


Climbers on Dinosaur Rock. This seems like sorcery to me:


Coming down Mallory Cave Trail, I got the idea of heading over to the Second Flatiron to climb Freeway, since I can do it in 20-ish minutes. However, I didn't really do the math on how far it was on the Mesa Trail and was in approach shoes, so the run barely got me back to NCAR before dark.

No photos of the Second Flatiron because I was in a hurry.


Distance was 8.46 miles, time 4:17:08 (moving 2:57:07), avg. pace 30:25, moving pace 20:57, max pace 1:28 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 2,901 feet.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday 9/18 Ben Tyler Trail Run

On Sunday I didn't have much energy in the legs from doing several laps on steep rocks on Saturday, but I wanted to get out somewhere nice and see some fall color, and this trail did not disappoint. I jogged the easy uphill sections, but hiked the steeper parts.

This post is basically aspen porn, but this time of year never gets old.



I made it to the top of the Platte River Range, and turned around at 11,600 feet elevation at a wooden post in the middle of a wide open tundra field. On this trail it's ambiguous where the "end" really is. If you follow the trail farther, you're doing a long descent into the enormous South Park valley.

A fun discovery was that I passed the northwest end of the Craig Park trail. Craig Park is the alpine valley that you reach if you take the next trail southeast towards Bailey, i.e. the Brookside Trail, and on a prior run I dabbled near the other end of this trail and enjoyed a brief rest in the valley before heading back down.

I sort of cut it close on this run, and had just enough time to make it back down to the car before dark, and was counting the minutes on my watch as the miles clicked by. Even on this rocky trail I managed the 4th fastest descent time, because I didn't want to be guessing my way down in the dark. Thirty minutes later on the drive home, the forests were pitch black. I was very glad I was not out there relying on my phone for illumination*.

Distance was 11.87 miles, time 3:39:32 (moving 3:26:57), avg. pace 18:29, moving pace 17:26, max pace 7:58 min/mi, elevation gain/loss 3,417 feet.

* Funny, but on the Brookside run up to Craig Park in the fall, I was in the same situation.