With another long run on tap, William and I decided to try and link together a bunch of parks and open space in Jefferson County instead of doing one of the usual loops up in Boulder. Boulder is great - I grew up there and have run those trails forever - but the idea of an adventure run closer to home was appealing. Allisa had mentioned a crazy 100K route that linked up a ton of parks - we were not up for that, but still wanted to do something similar, so we devised a plan and headed out. We parked at the top of the Mathews/Winter trailhead and headed up the Red Rocks trail. At the top of the mesa, we went bushwacking straight up the northeast ridge of Mt. Morrison. This turned out to be a bit of a saga, as the snow was ankle to calf deep the entire way - not more slogging! Near the top, you have to go around a bunch of radio towers with various warnings about radio frequency exposure and FCC guidelines. Finally, at the top of Mt. Morrison we ran down the super fun and fast southeast ridge to Morrison and Bear Creek. A quick run through some urban streets and we were hooked up with the Mt. Falcon trail system. Up that we went - the trail was packed out, but the wind up top was roaring and had us back to a slogging pace. At the top of Falcon, we dropped off the backside and down through the Indian Hills area. Our original plan was to then jump onto the O'Fallon/Lair O'Bear trails which would take us to the small hamlet of Idledale. When we got to the trails, they were totally untracked and our desire to turn this run into a mega epic (it was already turning into a mini epic) quickly convinced us to just cruz down Myers Gulch to the hamlet of Kittredge and then onto the lower Bear Creek trails. Once in Idledale, we had to run a couple miles along the side of the road to get back to Morrison, where we turned and went up through Red Rocks and back along the trails to get to our starting point. The run turned out to be almost exactly 26.2 miles (26 via Google Earth) and 6,477 feet of gain. I was blasted by the end, with William dropping me four or five times. It was a great training run, incorporating some good climbing and a fair amount of real running. As seems to be the usual habit, I took some photos during the first half, but nothing during the second half.
Slogging up Mt. Morrison
Views from the top of Mt. Morrison
Windy madness along the Divide
The meadow at the top of Falcon