Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Up and Up

Friday and Saturday I took advantage of bringing Valerie to work at the cart on Pearl Street to do a couple of runs from downtown Boulder. My plan Friday was to run to Chautauqua Park and from there take the Mesa Trail to Bear Canyon to circumnavigate Green Mountain. I'd run on on the trails I planned to take, but never in this sequence. I liked the route because it would be an uphill grade of about 6% for about seven miles before a steeper descent back to town. Once in Bear Canyon, about 4.75 miles out, I started to hear a lot of close thunder and the clouds were quickly darkening overhead. I had to decide, and quickly, whether to continue around or return the way I had come; to me this was a case where "when in doubt go uphill". Maybe there wasn't any doubt; I turned around and headed back. I felt the edge of the storm was pushing right behind me most of the way back. It should have been; most storms during our monsoon season seem to track to the northeast and my return trip was due north. At one vantage point I was able to see that the storm had taken a turn and moved out to the southeast toward Denver. By the time I was back to Pearl Street the sky over my planned return route was entirely blue. I would most likely make the same decision; live to run another day...which I did yesterday.

Again, I dropped Valerie off at Pearl Street and armed with about 60 ounces of water I took off toward Ebin G. Fine Park mostly along the Boulder Creek Path. Near the park there is what would appear to just be a dirt alley but it is the access to the Viewpoint Trail which connects up to the Flagstaff Trail which would take me to the summit of Flagstaff Mountain. There are enough switchback on this trail to make the entire route runnable except for a short stretch near the top where it just makes sense to hike for a couple of minutes. The trail crosses the road that has its own switchbacks winding its way up the face of the mountain. Flagstaff is actually a rather small mountain rising to 6872 feet above sea level which is about 1500 feet above the park where I started the ascent. Anywhere else in the Rockies it probably wouldn't even be named, but being right on the western edge of town and a popular and convenient destination for some great views of the area it certainly makes sense that it have a name.

The weather held out for me on this run. The deluge, two of them actually, came a little later on in the day. I generally prefer to run in the afternoons, but given the weather pattern we're in I expect I'll be venturing out more in the mornings.

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