Today I finally found the trail that took me to the top of the Rampart Range Ridge that we look at everyday. With the weather cooling, I thought it a good day to head up the hill to see what I could find.
In the past, I lost the trail somewhere in the area of the clearing where the geocache "Scouts Secret Stash" is found. Today, I took more time looking around and found clues to the trail that goes from there to the top. I noticed a couple of plastic bag strips on trees. At this point, there was no clear trail but I followed in that direction and looking for rock cairns and more plastic strips. The strips were not very plentiful but got me to where I noticed a very faint trail. The trail took me more south of where I had been looking for trail signs. This was it...finally after several trips up to this point, I topped out and could look over the mountains to the west of the ridge.
Because this trail is very faint, I found it very useful to use the backtrack feature of my GPS. If you have not used this or are not familiar with how this works, I strongly suggest you take the time to get familiar with this. In sections where the trail seemed to disappear, I just needed to refer to the trace on the GPS to be sure I was heading the right way.
One thing about this route. It is tough. The climb is steep so up and down is work. There is a lot of area at the top that looks to be explorable. I think that the old Palmer Trail comes through there and also I hope to get over to the wreck site(s).
In other news, I have been working on a revised template for the trails on farrunner.com. With the new Google Map API, I can put most of the information on a single map, saving some navigating around. I have a few more ideas that I am working on so keep watching for new things. I have also added several new trails.
With Fall and the cool weather, I am looking forward to exploring more trails and getting them onto the website. The new format has been good in this respect, it takes less time to put together the page.
Last weekend, we were up in Silverton to help my daughter in a race. The Silverton 1000 is a new race this year. It is actually a number of races that take place simultaneously. The headline race is the 1000 which is where the runner has to run one mile each of 1000 consecutive hours. Also there were a 6 day race, a 72 hour race, a 48 hour race, and a 24 hour race.
Most multiday events like this take place on a loop course for the sake of logistics. These events have their history going back to the last 18th Century and early 19th Century when "pedestrians" would take bets and compete in multiday events or bet on time to cover distances between distant points (like from Chicago to New York) by foot.
The course here is a one mile loop at Kendell Mt. Ski Area. Unlike typical multiday events, where the course tends to be fairly flat, the course for this one was challenging with a 250+ ascent on the loop. I did a number of loops on the course and it was definately a challenge. Multiply that by 50/100/150/200 times and you have a tough challenge. It is one that would appeal to the ultrarunner who races the mountain trails. But surprisingly, there were a number of entrants who were there just to enjoy the event and log whatever miles they wanted to do.
The effort put into making this a great event was awesome. A large tent provided the start/finish point for the loop. It was big enough for hold all the timing equipment, food, space to setup for each runner and shelter when needed. It was impressive to say the least. The use of chip timing and the display of your progress every loop was great. I remember at my 6-day effort the timing was manual using people to count your laps. Made me nervous that the laps were being counted correctly but the counters did a great job.
I really enjoyed the down home/family atmosphere of the event. A lot of effort went into making this a fun time for everyone there. I expect that this event will grow over time but I hope it maintains it low-key atmosphere. A good place to test yourself if you are just getting into ultrarunning.
Coleen was entered in the 48 hour event and finished with a 105 mile effort to place 1st in the 48 hour and 3rd overall mileage for all events.
With the new API from Google, I have started to think about how to change how I present data on the farrunner.com website. Currently, I have static maps to show a trail in topo, street, terrain, satellite and so forth. I have put out a new style page for the Seven Bridges Trail using a preliminary google map to display some of the trail view types on a single, dynamic map. I hope this can present more data in a concise way than the current methods. Over the next couple of weeks, I plan on refining this page with new techniques. Any comments are appreciated.
Speaking of Seven Bridges, I wandered a bit further south of my normal haunts to check this trail out and it was worth it. There are a number of trails in this area that I hope to check out this fall and get onto the website. I apologize to those who are looking for longer distances, my time commitments have forced me to keep to the shorter trails. For longer distances, there are a lot of trails that can be linked together.
I hope every one enjoyed the summer and are looking forward to fall when the weather is a bit cooler. I find this the best time to hit the trails but watch the higher elevations, weather can change quickly. Several recent deaths in the hiking/climbing community bring home the point that it can be dangerous out there even for the most experienced. Most of the trails that I have mapped for the website are fairly safe but there are a few places where caution should be exercised.
Well it has been a little wetter than usual around here. The other day I cut through Ute Valley Park and found some decent patches of mud. With this in mind, I decided today to check out a couple of Urban Trails. I thought that the Cottonwood Trail and the Homestead Trail looked like a good bet since I could access them from the same parking spot. Since this was a hiking / dog day and a bit warm, I checked out a few miles of each.
The Cottonwood trail will in the future stretch from the Greenway Trail east for many miles. Right now the section from the Greenway Trail is nonexistant. I parked at Cottonwood park and went east about a mile and a half. It is a nice, paved trail that would be great for running with stroller, roller bladeing and general family fun. At the start, the park offers many amenities for family fun. I turned around at Woodmen Rd but the trail continues on from there but will require crossing Woodman and Austin Bluffs.
About 1/4 mile into the Cottonwood Trail section, the Homestead Trail branches off to the right. It is also paved but a little further along, the pavement turns to asphalt in good condition but some cracking is evident. Followed this about a mile where it crosses Austin Bluffs and turned around. The Trail is supposed to go all the way to Academy and Constitution but currently it has a couple of breaks. I plan to explore this one on the bike in the near future.
Both trails work are in urban setting, some open green space helps to make it feel like a trail. Nice for times when the dirt trails are muddy. I will need to check out their conditions in winter to see how they would fair for bad days.
Recent changes to my life will hopefully give me more time to spend on my blog and website. After deciding that 40 hours per week in a part time job was a bit much, I found a real part time job that leaves my with weekends free.
Based on this new found time, the past 2 weekends have taken me to the "Monument Preserver" and "Fox Run Regional Park".
I am not sure of the status of the Monument Preserve. My web research leads me to believe it is an evolving area in the town of Monument. There are no real maps or signage but there is a well developed series of trails that would appeal to moderate hikers and families. I observed the trail head when I did the Mt Herman Loop last year so decided to take some time and explore this area. The trailhead was on the way to the trailhead for Mt Herman. I will be documenting this more on the website as time permits.
The other area I recently explored was Fox Run Regional Park. I have been there before but not to explore the trails. I was expecting gentle rolling hills but not sure of how long a trail. To my surprise, it was a little more rolling that I had envisioned but all in all a reasonable trail for hiking, running, biking. Included is a pavilion and picnic area where family can play. My initial impression was that the loop was all uphill but even if this IS Colorado, that is not the case. I went the counter clockwise direction from the small trailhead at Baptist Rd and Roller Coaster. There is good signage to help in finding the way around. Only a couple of steeper hills on the course so it should be a good run and ride course. Again I will be documenting this as time permits.
The thing I like about these two courses is that they have trees so for summer, this is a plus to avoid the direct sun.
Well, looks like we skipped spring and went directly to summer. Weather has warmed up considerably and most of the trails are quite dry. It will probably take a little while to wear down the ruts created during the wet times but it is time to head out.
I noted in the farrunner forum that the trails around "hole in the wall" have been blocked and posted with no trespassing signs. No indication why or who. I am researching but if anyone has any additional info, please post in the form or comment here at the blog.
Picked up a new GPS the other day at REI because of the sale but was a little disappointed. My Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305 have served well and are easy to use. I bought the GPSMAP 60CSx which is highly rated but for the uses I have here, did not really work well.
The major complaints I have are
1. When you turn it on, it starts collecting data unliked the 205/305 where it starts when you push the start/stop button. Did not see in the manual any way to turn it on/off other that the power switch.
2. It does not come with any high quality maps and the default map is not very detailed. A $125 optional map seems a bit much for a high end device. There are some open source options that can be loaded. I knew it did not come with the map software but was disappointed with the default maps.
3. The computer interface was spotty. It would not sync with TC (garmin's training center software) and interfacing to sports track required downloading Garmins Communicator API plugin.
4. The downloaded tracks were "strange". There were a bunch of small (3-10 sec) tracks along with the main track. Not sure why there were there. I do not think I turned the unit on/off a couple of times at the end of my test hike.
5. The provided software is MapSource does not play well with Windows 7. After loading tracks from the device and then tying to save them in the default directory, it has permission issues which implies to me that it did not setup the directory permissions for Vista/Win7 which is probably because it came out before Windows was released.
The unit was accurate and collected data during the hike while attached at my side via the provided clip. For many, it may serve fine. For my use where I want to be able to define the start and end point of the journey for adding to the website, it was not that user friendly. I may be that my objections because of lack of understanding but I did not see anything in the manual that would clear up my views of how it works.
The 60CSx is on sale because it is being replaced by the 62 series units. These still lack good maps in the unit.
It seems like we have had a lot of false starts for spring this year. Just when you might think that the weather has turned, another snowstorm hits us at the knees. But have faith. The bears seem to think it is spring. I had one pass within 50ft of me a couple days ago and he looked like a well fed 400 lbs. Fortunately he was more interested in some trash (potential food) than me and chose to ignore me as he passed.
Been busy carrying the flowers in and out of the house every day in an effort to keep them alive and blooming.....Think Spring!
I should be ready to start searching out new trails as it looks like most of the trails have shed their moisture and are not a muddy mess.
A few days late but let me wish you a Happy New Year for 2010.
I hope that among your resolutions, you have one "to spend more time hiking, running and biking.
It is always difficult at this time of the year to get enthused about going out into the cold and/or dark for that workout. One glimmer of hope is that the days are getting longer again so you may gain a little more light on those workouts. I have been blessed to be able to chose my workout times so that I can get the most daylight. Temperature and snow...that is a different story.
Running trails under these conditions require a little more planning than when it is nice and sunny. The trails seem to have a bit more snow and ice on them than in past years. Depending on the trails that you choose, you might want to consider some sort of traction device such as yaktracks or similar product to help you to feel more stable and comfortable while on the trails.
I have tried several types of traction control and in the next couple of posts, will share my opinion about the pros and cons of the various devices available.
Dedicated to Trail Running, Hiking, and Biking in the Colorado Springs and surrounding area. I will also comment at times on running and more specifically ultra-running when I have something I am interested in.
I am a long time runner with a passion for trails. I have been running marathons and ultra marathons for 30+ years. Age has crept up so I have scaled back my races but I still try to hit the trails almost every day. I have started mapping local trails on my website http://farrunner.com so people can see what is available in the Colorado Springs Area.