Monday, January 16, 2012

Deer Creek Canyon - MLK Day

After struggling with a bit of motivation this past week, I took the opportunity with a day off to do a little trail running. I went up to Deer Creek Canyon to get some views and some vertical (1900 feet)! The run was gorgeous, but the trails are in dicey shape. I really needed my YakTrax for about one-third of this run. But the rest of the trails were just fine and I feared the dry, hard packed surfaces would cause them to snap. I certainly didn't want to stop and take them off every half mile. So, I went without them. The downhill was the worst. Normally I try to make up some time running downhill, but it was impossible without risking a major wipe out. I still had a great time -- but just had to settle for a little slower pace.

Here is the run in photos:

Running up the Meadowlark Trail I stopped to take this photo of Southern Jefferson County (Chatfield is in the distance).

Here is a view up the Plymouth Creek Trail as I continued to ascend. You can see that the trail here was mostly snow packed. About one-third of the trail was snow packed, one-third was ice, and one-third was dry dirt or mud. I really only needed YakTrax for the ice portions.

Another shot of Southern Jeffco from the Plymouth Mountain Trail. I love how it is from "darkness into the light" -- sort of the theme for the day. The only winter running gear that I wore was a long sleeve shirt -- I stupidly forgot my trail jacket -- and I was plenty warm for the most part. My hands were a touch cold at the end.

This was the kind of descent that was nasty because of the ice. The worst part was that the it also slopped to the downhill side (duh!), so the thought of falling down the side of the mountain was a bit freaky!

Another photo of the snow packed conditions on the Homesteader Trail. Fortunately the snow was packed nicely and there was no worry about post holing or even rocks on the trail.

This has always been one of my favorite spots in Deer Creek Canyon (along the Homesteader Trail). I absolutely love how this trail winds down into the forest and all the green in the background. I could have stood there and stared for an hour. Maybe that's just because I was tired...

Here is an example of the dirt packed trail. This was great to run on. My new Brooks PureGrit trail shoes are made for this kind of terrain. They have super soft rubber that grips dirt and rocks nicely. I suppose they helped a bit on snow and ice as well.

At the end of the Red Mesa Loop, my final loop, there was a fallen tree across the trail. Of course I hurdled it at 9 miles per hour (yeah right!). Cool photo and a cool way to end. Somewhere along this trail I ran into a group of hikers that were of European descent, they gave the way to me and then started clapping. Not sure if they were applauding my effort or teasing me :)
The only thing left to do after that was survive the 2 mile decent on a sheet of ice!

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