Last Saturday (8/25) we hiked the Pass Trail to the lower parts of Engineer Mountain, north of Durango. A seriously great trail, with great bang for your buck.
The out-of-staters (my brother and his girlfriend) kept a good pace; I would not have hiked any faster by myself.
The trail is popular and was crowded, but pleasantly so. There were a few families up there with kids on mountain bikes, and I suspected I was seeing the future of professional mountain biking. These 8-10 year olds (?) had bike-handling skills as good as mine, even if they weren't as powerful.
That's Engineer in the background:
We had reason to question how high on the mountain to go, since there was light rain, then graupel/hail fell on us intermittently. Skies above were largely gray and ugly.
A local who had done this "countless times" told us to head to the summit. Dude, have you had your hair stand up from static electricity on a mountain, or had lightning strike a few hundred feet away? Not good. You don't want to tell people that.
So, we stopped our upward progress at the little rock shelter above the steep talus climb, and just enjoyed being on a high mountainside in the San Juans, and watched the rain play over the nearby ridges.
It was fun running off the steep lower ridge of Engineer, with the rain making the soil very grippy. That elicited "show-off!" comments from the peanut gallery, but that's just how I roll in the mountains.
I may have mentioned this, but there are at least two activities in particular that I've done a lot and sometimes do very differently from others: snow driving and trail running. It's not recklessness (I'm pretty cautious in general), I just know what I can do relative to the conditions. With snow, if it's compact, cold and white, it's pretty safe, and if it's gray (or newly fallen on pavement) it could be wet and treacherous. With trails, if it's compact dirt and rock it's secure, but if there is dry sand and small pebbles it can be treacherous.
A gentle rain was falling as we descended, lighting up the forest with that bright green that only comes with recent precipitation.
Distance was 6.51 miles, time 3:06 (moving 2:15), elevation gain/loss 1,890 feet, avg. pace 28:38 (moving 20:51), and best pace 6:48.