Friday, July 3, 2009
Hurricane Canyon and Lake Manitou
We had a great CRUD long run today, exploring some fairly off-beat trails on the flank of Pikes Peak. As nice as Barr trail is, there are literally hundreds of miles of better trails on the mountain where you don't have to pick your way around oxygen-deprived tourists with ski poles. Anyway, today's route started in downtown Manitou and headed up Williams Canyon, my favorite canyon in the area. The wet spring and recent (yesterday) rains made for nice lush surroundings and we were all soaked well before the creek crossing later in the morning.
Williams Canyon (next 2 photos):
We took a connector trail up to Waldo Canyon and then ran Waldo to the trailhead on Highway 24, getting in a bit of speed work crossing the road with its 55 MPH traffic (think Frogger).
Longs Ranch Road has a similar grade and surface to the Powerlines climb during the LT100, though it is hard to simulate the 75 miles on your legs at that point during the 100 miler. As steep as it is, if you've ever "run" this dirt road in hip deep snow, the dirt is a welcome relief.
Longs Ranch Rd (next 2 photos):
Longs Ranch Road tops out around 9000 feet where several trails branch off. You can go down through the Manitou Experimental Forest to No Name Creek, take a trail over through Eagles Nest to the top of the Incline, take Bob's Road over to Barr Trail, or take a nice overgrown single track trail through Hurricane Canyon to the French Creek drainage at the base of the Manitou Lake dam, which was our route today.
Hurricane Canyon (next 3 photos):
Lots of Elk scat and wildflowers along with plenty of fallen trees since this is not a highly used trail. From the dam, we scooted down trail 638 to the 7.8 mile sign on Barr trail, and then back down Barr Trail which was teeming with people on this holiday day.
Route Specifics: 4:38 total time. 21.27 miles and 9000 feet of altitude gain. That amount of gain seems too much to me, but that is what Steve's GPS said. I'm guessing more like 6000 ft gain.
As for me - I'm finally feeling like a real runner again and not holding up the group on these long days. Next weekend is the Leadville Trail marathon where I'll be running with my Dad; we did this in 2007 and this year he hopes to break 5Hrs.