Deer Creek and Grays and Torreys
Amazing what a day can do, and what a week can do. Two days ago I ran the outer loop of Deer Creek Canyon, the southern most park in the Jefferson County system and one of the best. With a more "southern" feel because of all of the gamble oak, the trails at Deer Creek offer a spectacular ~12 mile loop run with around 2,800' of gain. The colors were just past peak, but still showing well. Earlier this spring I ran the Fear the Deer race, which covers the same trails but adds the two out-and-backs to make it a solid 13 miles. Without the extra mile, I was able to run the loop in 1:43 at a nice MAF pace (or what I believe to be MAF pace since I don't have a heart rate monitor, but basically a nice sustainable cruising speed).
Last week when I ran them, the trail above the big sign was snow packed and slick in spots, but not too bad. This week, it was an entirely different story. From I-70 and up there is now snow. Running up the road to the trailhead was not bad (took me an extra 2 minutes), but from then on it was post holing and breaking trail. Some tracks went up to the big sign, but after that the wind had totally covered the trail with several inches of snow. In many places I was post holing up to me knees and hips. Even up higher it was still a slog breaking trail through several inches to a foot of snow. I ran 10 miles, hiked 3 miles and slid 1 mile. With these conditions it took me 4 hours car to car from Bakersville - +45 minutes slower then in the summer. Now all of that hard work of breaking trail has been covered up with last nights storm.