Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Queens Canyon Run and Swim
Waterfall in Queens Canyon (Dorothy Falls)
This past Saturday we had another great CRUD long run/adventure. Probabably a bit more of the latter this week but that is why I run on trails. We started in Manitou Springs and ran north through the Garden of the Gods. On the north border of GoG, there is a trail that goes up towards Glenn Eyrie Castle (an easy way to find this trail is to look for the No Trespassing Sign on the Barbed Wire Fence!). After a mile or so, you pop out at the Glen Eyrie Castle. It smelled like breakfast was being served as we scooted quickly past the castle and into the bottom of Queens Canyon.
Note for my more responsible readers: You can actually get permission to do this outing by signing up online and getting a permit. I believe they allow users with permits to go up Queens Canyon Mondays - Thursdays. You can then drive into Glenn Eyrie and start from the Castle.
The creek running through the canyon is known as Camp Creek. The bottom mile has a dam and a water pipe that diverts some of the water to COS utilities. Only this bottom section is private; the waterfall, upper canyon, and punch bowls are all in the Pike National Forest so you can also do this outing legally if you came from above (Rampart Range Rd).
Me and the Waterfall
The waterfall above marks the beginning of the real fun. After scrambling up a steep scree hill on the right side of the waterfall, you come out in a much narrower canyon with steep walls on either side.
Narrow spot in the Canyon
Not exactly the Virgin River Narrows but pretty cool for Colorado Springs. As you continue higher, you encounter a series of Punch Bowls, which depending on the season and amount of rain, can be quite deep.
Looking down at the Punch Bowls
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
At this point, we realized that there was a good chance of ending up in the drink. It was about 55 degrees (air!) and the water was probably 35 degrees.
Tara right before here unplanned swim
Tara decided to take off her shoes to get a better monkey grip on the slick rocks. This ended up being a bad idea as she not only slid into the deepest punch bowl, but cut her heel bad enough to need a few stitches after the run. In true CRUD fashion, however, she finished the run back to Manitou and then did the stitches herself.
I join the Polar Bear Club
I took a dive into the deepest bowl also and found it to be quite refreshing! At this point, we split up with Rick and the Karate Dork (below) heading further up the canyon till they popped out on Rampart Range Rd. near the newly closed (about time!) shooting range.
The Karate Dork on Rampart Range Rd
However you get in there, Queens Canyon and the Punch Bowls are a must-see for any fun-loving trail runner.