Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday, 10/10/13 South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak

9.8 miles
5,645 vert.

Got out this morning for my first run/summits on open trails post flood.  Was quite happy to learn that Bear and SoBo opened yesterday morning via Fern and Shadow, accessed only by the Shanahan Trails, so I was eager to head over, since I had not yet seen Shadow Canyon.  Put in a moderate effort up Shanahan, South on Mesa, up Shadow to SoBo, across to Bear, down Fern, then back up for another dose of both peaks.  Steady pace today, not really pushing at all, just enjoying the freedom of moving along on open trails, without the worries of the only one new, human initiated post flood threat.

A few random thoughts.

  • I am stoked to be able to legally access Bear and SoBo, this is a huge step.  Although I think it took them a few weeks to long, I am glad those trails are now open, so moving on.
  • Moving on...  onto the still closed trails.  It makes no sense at all to have them still closed.  Shadow Canyon is very rough and eroded post flood and based on OSMP standards for safety and user friendliness, I am a bit surprised they opened it.  I personally do not mind at all though, it was fine before and though different now, a bit more technical, it is fine now.  I prefer technical trail over the buffed wheelchair accessible trails like they created on the new (last year) Green/Bear connector.
  • Regarding Shadow, I am not sure whether it being open now inspires confidence that the much less affected trails on Green and elsewhere will open soon, or if it being open now erodes my confidence that those making the decisions do not really know what they are doing.  Seems as though there is no rational consistency here.
  • Was thinking a bit today, with a chainsaw, some flagging and a pick/shovel, I could re-open Amphitheater/Saddle/Greenman AND Gregory/Ranger in a day, maybe a day and a half tops, by myself (taking into account that I have never performed trail work before).
  • Thinking about comments relayed to me from the OSMP Council meeting last night, I am a bit disturbed by much of what I heard, but two things jumped out at me, that were cycling through my mind today while running.  They say they are not sure what to do with the huge washout on the dirt road the connects Realization Point and the Ranger Cabin that comprises part of the Gregory Ranger route up Green.  Not sure why this is so tough, and again, I am no expert, but it seems very simple.  Route the creek back on it's original path (currently it is flowing through the washout where the road/trail once was) and get the dump trucks of dirt rolling.  No biggie.  OR, they could leave it as is, create a trail on the hillside on the North bank of the washout/creek and have it be foot access to the cabin.  Not sure why it is essential OSMP trucks need to make it there.  They could also re-locate the outhouse to the Realization Point lot, where it could be more conveniently utilized by more people, or just scrap the outhouse altogether.  BUT, that is all no reason to keep it closed to hikers, as it is all easy to bypass.  Another option would be to temporarily use the old, still in tact trail that begins at the top of Gregory Canyon that ends just above the Greenman/Ranger junction, which would avoid damage entirely and enable a complete undamaged route to the top of Green.  This could happen right this minute with no work.
  • One of the Council members last night mentioned that some trails may never re-open because of "fissures".  What are these "fissures"?  Where are we, Hawaii?  Vesuvius?  The San Andreas Fault?  I have no idea where they got this and why they would even embarrass themselves by saying such an ignorant comment.  It sounds as though some of these stiffs have never set foot off of pavement and these are the people representing our best interests?  Quite disturbing.
  • I wish I had the time and skills to help fight the good fight like Buzz and Peter have been doing for so many years.  A huge thanks to them for all they do/have done.  I for one really appreciate it, these guys are heros.


  1. Watching this in case there's a big trail fight down here someday. We seem to have much better folks in charge of the trails though.

    Of course, Boulder will never touch us on the wacko religious nutball scale!

  2. Like the new (maybe not so new) header pic.

    Appreciate the update. I can read what you wrote and almost visualize what it is you are describing very well ... but I guess I need to get up there to assess myself to understand.

    Amazing to think how much Shadow has changed in the last 15 months with the fire washouts and now the flood.

  3. I agree with GZ, I feel like I was there. I was a bit shocked at the damage to Shadow after the fire (due to erosion from lack of vegetation above), so I can only imagine what it must be like now.

    It does seem like their judgment on trail issues is a bit... weird. Do they need some folks with more earth-moving and reinforcement experience, i.e. people like CO Highway or the like?

    After reading reports of OSMP's decisions, I now have these images running through my head of them being run by Colonel Kurtz from a remote cave behind Flagstaff, washing his bald head in a pan of water, engaging in long monologues, and issuing trail repair orders...

    If I had any video editing talent I'd dub OSMP's statements over that video. Heh.

  4. Jeff, funny reference. That movie clip, dubbed over with talk of fissures, running off into new ravines at night (just blindly without a light), aimless climbers not knowing how to negotiate the 2nd Flatiron, tripping over small stones in the trails, trail runners crossing barriers with a war like approach....

    Interesting to hear different opinions on the damage to Shadow after the fire and now floods. I thought about this a good bit yesterday on my run through there. As far as the fire goes, aside from the burnt trees, I found the erosion to the trail and ground to be much less than others have described, almost non-existent in my mind. In fact, I immediately came to really enjoy the burn area, as I find it fascinating to see nature at it's best and worst, watching the renewal, the change and selfishly enjoy the views that were non-existent previously.

    I also enjoy surveying the damage from the flood and how it has affected the landscape in areas where one might have never expected previously and not affect areas where you would be certain there would be damage along with everything in between.

    Tensions are running high and these closures are only exacerbating the damages of the flood. All of us OSMP users are now being affected long term, prolonging the mental anguish from this natural event. Every time we encounter those signs, fences, police tape, it is a slap in the face and a seeming reminder that we are not yet past the floods, when we are all ready to move on.