Black Toes

Trail running, running, and hiking in Colorado's Front Range.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Adventure is bad planning...

Since it was so warm yesterday, I decided to do some trail running. I thought that since much of White Ranch faces the east, most of my run would be pretty nice, if not a little bit muddy in parts. Plus, many of the locals out here are a pretty hardy lot, so if anything the trails would be pretty packed down.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It was supposed to be a pretty laid back 75 minute run. The run started out nicely enough, but it should have been a warning to me when I was the only person at the trail head. I kept going, and most of the first mile and a half were pretty nice - packed snow and a little bit of mud, but nothing too bad. So, as usual, I turned off Belcher Hill and headed out to do the Longhorn/Shorthorn/Longhorn trail.

That's where the adventure began.

I was wearing shorts, because it was fairly warm. If I were to do it all over again, I would wear them again. I think I would have worn my gaiters, and taken my snowshoes and poles along for the ride, too. For the first part, it was pretty nice - packed down snow. The farther in I went, in fact, all the way to the top of the hill at 8000 ft, I was breaking trail. Not even a freaking animal broke trail there! No lion/deer/mouse/rabbit tracks - total virgin powder!

Which made for difficult running, particularly when you're doing a technical section that climbs for a long time, and you're trying to run in nearly a foot of deep untouched powder. At one point - for nearly the last mile of climbing, I decided that running was just diminishin my returns. I switched over to a quick hike and thought:

"Crap - my wife is going to be pissed at me! I'm going to be an hour late"

Luckily, she wasn't - although I had to promise not to do White Ranch again after a snow storm like this. What was an 8 mi (usually ~85 minute) run ended up taking one hour and 44 minutes. Not bad considering the depth of the powder and the fact that running uphill in some spots was like trying to drive a rear-wheel Yugo up a steep, snowy, dirt road.

The views were pretty nice:

Here's what some of the less deep sections of powder looked like:


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