Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mount Morrison Rest Day FAIL

Monday was going to be a calm "rest"-day hike at Mt. Morrison (I didn't have time to hike to the top), but then, I made the mistake of wearing my running clothes.

And as it turned out, I did have time to run to the summit.

When I arrived at the Upper South Lot at Red Rocks Amphitheater, I found new signs saying the trail was closed :\

So, I headed down to find the south trailhead, which I'd never used. It's on Titans Road right near the #4 on the map. The only marking is a pole with "no bikes" and "no horses" symbols next to a red dirt trail that goes uphill at about 40 degrees, plus a pull-off long enough for about 4 cars max.

The first section is pretty steep until you get to the ridge. But I was feeling good, and on the more moderate slopes I was already starting to jog.

When you top the ridge you can see west up Bear Creek canyon:

There's a downhill section after the first crest near the telephone poles, and I started jogging down again, and for the first time contemplated running a bit more than I first intended. The higher I got, the better the chances of making the summit and back before dark -- if I ran it.

The whole time I was doing time calculations to see if I had enough daylight, because I didn't have a lamp, and it's easy to underestimate how long it takes to ascend steep terrain.

Looking back down the steep final ascent, and the approach ridge in back:

I ended up going faster than I thought I would, made it to the top in daylight, and made it back down about 15 minutes after sunset.

Distance was 3.67 miles, time 1:29 (moving 1:05), elevation gain/loss 1,958 feet.

No harm done, since I felt pretty good in spite of sore muscles from Sunday's long run. I had no major pain points, and had the energy. I hiked the steeps and jogged anything moderate. It's really rugged and occasionally slippery, so I took my time coming down. Great short, intense run!

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