After the dismal and catastrophic rains a couple of weeks ago, recent sunny days have been a welcome break. And the past weekend was simply spectacular fall weather: sun, blue skies, utter bliss.
Saturday was my second trip to Staunton State Park. The first time, I ran the east side trails, and this time, I ran the west side including the Elk Falls area. This is the Staunton Ranch trail, which is part dirt, part forest road:
Pikes Peak to the southeast:
I took the Scout Line trail, which is hiker-only, rugged, and winds up the high ridgelines south of Staunton Ranch trail. The views of rock outcroppings were great, and the trail system passes around many of those outcroppings.
Eventually the trails descend to Elk Ponds, with somewhat clear green water and trout darting around. It's not exactly alpine, and there's a small cabin that was closed, but it's remote enough to keep the traffic low.
A pretty forest road leads up about a mile to an overlook for Elk Falls.
Then it was back past the ponds and up the Bugling Elk trail (i.e. forest road).
When I got to the rock climbing access trail, I turned around and ran back up Marmot Passage on a section I had missed coming over the ridge. I wanted to finish running every section of trail on this side of the park.
A guy I kept passing asked if I was running laps. Heh. The three of them had a whole sled team's worth of Huskies on leashes, which were really focused and super-well-behaved. If I were going to get a canine running companion, I'd consider a sled dog.
The dark forest sections were pretty chilly, and boy, was I glad to get out into the sun again. I decided to time the finish of my run so there would still be sunshine on the hills, just so I could enjoy a last bit of warmth.
Hey chipmunk! The Chip Meister. The Chipster. Chipi-changa. Chipotle. The Chipinator. Chip 'n Dip. Chipaaaay! Chiiiip!
Yeah, I actually say that stuff to chipmunks when I'm running alone in the woods, to amuse myself.
I would have linked to a YouTube video of Rob Schneider on Saturday Night Live as the Copy Guy -- from whom I borrowed that schtick -- but the brain-dead, litigious, horse-and-buggy-riding, 90-something morons in corporate entertainment can't figure out how to make money off the Internet, so every video has been banned and I can't find a link any more. Would it be so effing hard to charge $0.99 for a video link and make some money? You f*****g idiots. THANKS FOR RUINING MY BLOG.
(Hmm, did I just post that out loud?)
This is an old mining structure in the woods:
Distance was 17.25 miles, time 4:59 (moving 3:25), elevation gain/loss 2,728 feet, avg. pace 17:22 (moving 11:55), and best pace 7:16.
I've been having some lower leg tendonitis lately, including Achilles and peroneal tendon issues and plantar fasciitis. I am definitely pushing the overuse envelope a little. However, I just kept the stride soft on this run and it went OK. I've managed to keep running and still keep it under control.