I'd run all segments of this trail before separately, but never the whole thing from end to end, until this run. It's tough. Significant drops into Clear Creek canyon, and ups and downs all the way.
Descending to Beaver Brook, with the hills getting higher around me:
Climbing up from Beaver Brook on the west end of the trail is the toughest part of the route, especially heading east, where the slope often slows me to a hike. It's "only" 1,200 feet, but it seems to go on forever.
Hey look, a riderless horse wandering around on the trail! Perfectly logical.
Actually three horses, with a couple of hikers behind them, who had nothing to do with the horses. A hiker was walking right behind the last one, and I mentioned that might not be a good idea. The horses were in the public open space grazing.
Trail is at lower left:
The east end of the trail has some precarious ledges and one-rock scrambles. Good fun.
On the way up to the east end of the trail, I was focused on climbing without slowing down much. Hiked the rocks, but ran what I could. I was winded by the time I reached the road and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center at around 9.2 miles and 2:20. I ran the trail in this direction (starting on the west end) so I could fill up the bottles half way. I ate some Clif Bloks as I walked back to the trailhead, and I headed back down.
Hey look, cows in the woods:
A couple of times I heard noise in the forest that got my attention, and it just turned out to be a cow.
At this point the sun was low enough that large parts of the trail were now in shadow, and it was noticeably cooler. Time for the arm sleeves. As long as I kept running, that was good enough, and the occasional spots of sunlight helped.
This is heading west on the last major descent, down to Beaver Brook:
I saw a bright white ball in the woods, and when I realized it was a puffball mushroom, I had to go down and take a picture. That's a pretty good-sized specimen:
The final 900-foot ascent is a bit of a kick in the teeth, but the slope is gentle and runnable, except for a couple of spots. One of them is the final bit up to the parking lot. With 1/2 mile to go, I noticed I was at 4:50, so I ground it out to stay under 5:00.
Distance was 19.35 miles, time 4:57 (moving 4:12), elevation gain/loss 5,094 feet, avg. pace 15:24 (moving 13:03), and best pace ~7:30.