Monday, November 24, 2014

Quick Access

I had a quick work trip come up at the last minute for Phoenix.  There are direct flights there from Durango, but this one came on so late my only option was the noon flight, and the 1 PM return the next day.  I know Phoenix well and this trip was initially a perfectly executed plan in efficiency.  After picking up my care rental, I was at the trailhead in less than 15 minutes - and that included a stop for water at a gas station.  South Mountain is so close to the airport!     
 Since I had nothing else to do I ran until it got dark and I got in a little over 14 miles.
 I ran up Javeline, Mormon, National, down Corona, then Desert Classic and some other trails to get back to the start.
 This is a semi regular loop here for me as my usual hotel is 5 minutes from the trail head.  I've biked it more than I've run it, but running is so much easier here.
 Phoenix has a gem of a trail network.  When up North I always stay near the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and do the classic Trail 100.  Cool stuff for an out of town visitor who just wants routine on trips like this.
I enjoyed the run, but when I got back to the car I received horrible news as a family pet cat had died.  It was just so surprising, he died in his sleep - an apparent hearty attack and he was not even 7 years old.  A healthy cat and this just came out of nowhere.  I played with him right before I left for the airport, got my flight, car rental and this run and boom.  Sad news.  Merv old buddy you will be missed!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ski Day!

A couple of days late, but I got out for the first runs of the season today.  A bit light cover but enough powder to do the trick!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Keep Moving

Not many adventures beyond the ordinary the last couple of weeks.  I've just been putting in the miles from out the front door, and some of those just long pavement trips.  Cooler temperatures and snow up high came in this weekend, and I've yet to get ready for skiing.  Hoping later on this week.  Here are some random photos from last week. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Almost Around the Town

The great weather continues, but hopefully we will get snow in the high country soon.  Mid 60's on Saturday meant I could do a nice run in and around town in short sleeves.  I woke up at 4AM and was so efficient that I rolled out of the house at 10:30 AM.  Ugh.  I started with a run up Skyline and the full Raider's Ridge.
 I continued through town and over to Smelter Mountain for great views, but my scouting via Google Earth for a route down to HWY 160 prooved to not be successful and I ended up on a two-track following CR 210/211 and then had to take Wildcat Canyon back to town.  This added on time and miles.
 I made it over to Twin Buttes and ran the upper meadon loop and then up to the Buttes and to the road over to Perins.
 Up on Perins I ended up with a bad chafing problem and when it got puffy I knew I was in a bit of trouble.  I called my trusty companions and got a pickup at the Rock Ridge trailhead.
 I felt strong and wanted to continue, thinking I'd use lights as the plan is to do Animas and also Missionary/Haflin.  I ended up with ~29 miles, 5k climbing.  This route should be ~10k and a bit short of 50 miles if and when completed.  
I tried it last year as well and November is a hard time to do this as the 10:30AM start meant I did not have to carry unwanted clothing for the bulk of the day.  Maybe I'll give this a June trial.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Star to Gibbs

I had plans to hit up some races this fall, but the weather here has made any notion of travelling out of town entirely senseless.  The La Platas turned out to be my go to place this last month.  The latest adventure came when I realized i had been near, but not on top of Star Peak.  So I decided to summit there and then continue over to Gibbs for a descent I knew.   It was mostly a bushwhack up Star on the route I chose, with much it requiring all fours going straight up a drainage.  
 Almost there.
 The summit at Star with a no name peak and Gibbs off in the distance.  
 No name, Gibbs is next.
 Gibbs Peak!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Diorite Peak

The warm weather continues and i took advantage of it in the La Platas.  I did a nice 27 mile run up through Tomahawk Mine and Diorite Peak with an adventure over toward Taylor Lake.  Not once did I wear a jacket.  Unbelievable. In town it was mid 70s, and it seemed not much cooler in the mountains.   


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Black Hills

I made a quick trip up to the Dakotas and stayed in Spearfish, SD.  They have some really nice trails available right from town and I found some time to do a bit of running.  The trails were not all that well marked, but I followed some of the Dakota 5-0 MTB course and since the trails straddle Tinton Road it was easy to use that a datum.  
 The terrain reminded me a bit of Flagstaff, but closer to the Campbell Mesa area.  

If ever in the area, check out the trails in Spearfish.  My first time there and I enjoyed the free recreation.  Another evening I got to explore the Lookout Mountain area as it was near the hotel.  No photos but a good bang for the buck as there are some really steep parts for running.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Columbus to Cumberland

I ran up La Plata Canyon and finally ventured into the Columbus Basin.  I had heard good things about the basin and had seen some photos.  There is an abandoned mine in the basin, with this old Fairbanks-Morse Boiler out in the open.    
 In the basin I spotted this little trail heading up Snowstorm Peak so I followed it.  

 I was amazed to see that it went on the eastern slope and from here it looked like it would take me to the backside of Cumberland Pass, or the "notch."  So I followed it.  
 It sure did, and it dropped me out on the bottom of this road.  The trail petered out at a mine vent and then it was a ridiculously steep descent straight down to the road.  What surprised me though was that someone left a climbers rope in place so I used that to climb down.  Once down, I explored a bit, but then ran up to the "notch."  The other side leads to a road that takes you to Kennebec Pass.
Before hitting Kennebec though I made the summit of Cumberland Peak.  
 If you look closely you can see the Colorado Trail from Kennebec below.  Once at Kennebec I contemplated running to Taylor Lake and then take another un-named trail down to La Plata Canyon but it started to snow so I flinched and ran down.  It turned into a light rain and then eventually disappeared once I got back to the start of the canyon.  Big day, 23 miles and tons of climbing.  Good route so close to home as well.  Soon enough I'll be skiing here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gibbs Peak, Part 2

The weather is just perfect right now in Durango.  Mid 70's and nothing but blue skies all week.  It has been difficult working so we decided to take Wednesday off and finish the job up on Gibbs Peak.  Jeni wanted to make the summit also so she came along.
We approached from the east side via La Plata Canyon just past Madden Campground.
 Jeni is a natural at mountaineering.  There was a bit of Class 3 climbing at the top and she handled it very well.  
 Turkey and cranberry sandwiches from Bread in town made for a great lunch at the summit.

The La Platas are a gem to have so close.  I lost my sunglasses on the way down so I had to go back Thursday and I was able to retrieve them.  Twist my arm, make me spend more time there.  ;-)