Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, 10/11/09 Green Mountain

All day, the sky was grey and dismal looking with the temperature hovering right around freezing and I waffled several times during the day whether or not I wanted to go run. However, when I left work, the sun was shining in Longmont and it seemed as though the poor weather was finally starting to clear and I decided to go for it. My enthusiasm was short lived though, as I drove into Boulder, it was evident that the clouds were holding a tight grip on the foothills.

At the Gregory trailhead, I debated bagging the idea as it seemed colder than the 30 degrees on the car thermometer indicated, but I made the effort to change clothes and make the drive, I should at least go for a short while. Sierra and I headed up the Gregory Canyon trail and I was questioning my judgment on whether or not I should have opted for my studded shoes, but as I ascended, the icy trail slowly transitioned to very nice snowpack.

I had to do the usual tugging and towing of the dog through the leash required section of trail, as she has to sniff, sniff and sniff some more. This drives me nuts when I am trying to run, as I have to stand there and wait (not so)patiently. Once off leash, she can repeatedly sniff and catch up as I jog casually and periodically wait to be sure she is on track.

Once past the Ranger Cabin, Sierra decided she had gotten in enough sniffing and was sticking to my heels very well and even running 10 feet ahead at times. Traction was good and I felt great, so I upped the pace a bit just to test her. She surprisingly maintained her focus all the way to the top and we arrived there in 41:28, despite all the goofing around early on. I may have even set a PR (or came very close) from the cabin to the summit, but don’t have a split to confirm.

The real shocker of the day however was the change in weather as we approached the 4-way junction near the West side of the summit. Seemingly in an instant, we went from being engulfed in cold, dense gloomy clouds to brilliant sunshine, 50+ degree temps and melted out trail. We spent a good 10 minutes hanging out on the summit rock taking in the views of the surrounding peaks, while watching the thick blanket of clouds just below drifting over ridge tops and pulsing through valleys. I have been lucky enough to witness this several times over the years, but never has it been so beautiful or welcome.

Reluctantly, we started down, taking it easy at first on the steep rocky section, then really opening up the throttle all the way down to Gregory Canyon. This section was super fun in the snow, as traction was good and the snow smoothed out some of the roughness. Sierra was having a blast as she bounded next to me, stride for stride as I whooped and hollered, we were in complete sync and fed off one another’s enthusiasm as the snowy trail passed quickly underfoot.

Once into Gregory Canyon however, the trail became a bit treacherous as the ice became more packed and solid. I slipped and slid a bit, but was able to keep it upright by going much slower. We arrived back at the TH 25:20 after leaving the summit. This was certainly one of the best runs I have had in a long time.

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