Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Trail Running

A slight calf strain and more persistent achilles injury has kept my holiday running down. It has been a frustrating few weeks and I've taken to walks with the dogs before gradually easing myself back into some slow jogging. I had hoped to clock about 200 miles in December but I'll now be lucky to reach 75.

Since my last run around Wonderland I've managed to get out 7 times, although nothing was particularly strenuous until a trip to Sourdough yesterday with Otto and around Marshall Mesa with Livvy today. Today was the 16th consecutive day below zero, so it has been a cold snap and the snow on December 24th (8 inches at home) was very welcome.

Rabbit Mountain December 22nd

This is always a nice, short trip fairly close to home. I took both Livvy and Otto for a pre-holiday walk before the snow came.

The Indian Peaks with Meeker and Longs Peak on the right

Livvy and Otto on the west loop of the Eagle Trail
Annual Borzoi Walk, Denver, CO December 23rd

We heard of this event by pure chance. Although Borzoi are a very rare breed, there are a few owners in the area, and each year they meet in Denver for a short walk through town. With Otto and Harvey being a bit unpredictable with other dogs we decided to take Livvy and Lilah. This usually isn't my kind of event, but it turned out to be quite good. We also met Livvy's brother - he turned out to be much bigger than her, although I'd bet on her running endurance every time over any other dog.
Lilah and Olivia in Denver
Livvy in the foreground with her brother at the top

Boulder Valley Ranch, December 25th

It was good to get out of the house on Christmas Day, but with the temperature in single digits it was very cold. BVR is a great place from which to view the foothills and although the snow was quite deep in places the trails were fairly well trodden.

Livvy at Boulder Valley Ranch

Lilah in a rare off-leash moment

Otto, off trail to avoid a bunch of aggressive dogs

Green Mountain, December 29th

I've run Green Mountain so many times I've lost count. However, the route via the Amphitheater to Saddle Rock and then the Ranger trail is my favorite.

Early morning sun on the Flatirons

At the top of the Saddle Rock trail

Livvy on the summit of Green Mountain

I love my Kahtoola microspikes

Sourdough Loop, December 30th

I took Otto on this higher level trail system. I knew the snow would be deep above 9,000 feet but thought that cross-country skiers and snow shoe walkers would have packed it down a little. It was a beautiful day with some great views of the high mountains to the west. The first two miles of this route were along the snow-packed road that leads to Beaver reservoir and we started to climb as we headed south from the Beaver Creek trailhead below.

Otto at Beaver Creek

We reached the ridge at 9,200 feet and the trail was great. But then, at the point where the ski trail bisects the route our onward trail was not broken at all and Otto and I began short-striding through 2-3 feet deep snow until we reached the Beaver Bog trailhead.

Just after the point where the broken trail ended - a half mile of deep snow to Beaver Bog

For the next 1.5 miles we climbed steadily passed the junction with the Wapiti Ski Trail and I decided to take the trail spur directly to the South St Vrain trail. This was really hard going. The trail was not broken and we encountered some deep snow. Otto had a hard time jumping through the drifts but he had a lot of fun. I kept having to pick clumps of ice from his paws.

The views west to the mountains were spectacular

In the deep snow just before the South St Vrain trail junction

At the junction with the South St Vrain trail
After the long, slow section of deep snow we made rapid progress back to the car.

Marshall Mesa, December 31st

I risked a slightly longer run on this last outing in 2012. Hard packed snow on this lower level trail would mean less strain on my calf and achilles. I set off with Livvy at a brisk pace. I was wearing my spikes and these worked well when the trail became icy.

Initial section of the Marshall Mesa
Light flurries of snow were falling from the heavy cloud cover although the sun penetrated through in places. It was a comfortable temperature in the shelter of the lower trail, but I got very cold as I headed to the Foothills Vista trailhead.
At the top of the Marshall Mesa at the intersection with Community Ditch
Descending Dowdy Draw with Eldorado Canyon ahead
It's even cold for a dog. Livvy with iced hair around her muzzle.  It was 20F
Brooding weather in the late afternoon. I was very cold at this point and pushing hard back to the car
Happy New Year to everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment