After our cold snap in Denver (20 F!) this week and awakening of Indian summer I am appreciating the few trees that still have their fall color wardrobe. It may be ski season in the mountains but it is warm and dry along the Front Range a little longer.
So as an ode to fall I want to share a recent trail running experience on the Monarch Crest Trail. Monarch Pass, approximately three hours southwest of Denver, was to be our starting point. We arrived late after work on Friday and camped under the moon and stars on an access road at the top of the pass. Aly and I were doing the running while Aly’s husband Josh planned to meet us later on the trail on his mountain bike.
We woke before dawn, quickly packed up and had a cold breakfast before leaving by headlamp down the trail. Our goal was a 60 k / 37 m run to Poncha Springs (red route) in the valley below. Depending on the trail conditions and how we felt we had a few optional routes we could take to shorten the distance (purple routes). Josh left the truck at Poncha Springs and used High Valley Bike Shuttle to return to the pass where he started his ride several hours behind us.
This was a fun run for both of us and my first time on the trail. There are several junctions where decisions were key so Aly’s experience on this trail was very helpful in keeping us on track.
…and enjoyed the warm sun, Colorado blue sky and the aspens sheathed in gold.
We met no other runners but a few groups of mountain bikers passed us all headed to Poncha Springs.
Using the shuttle service, whether runner or rider, reduces transportation logistics inherent with point-to-point trails making it a worthwhile expense. High Valley has three daily runs for a nominal fee of $20 for each rider and their bike. They even rent bikes and can provide beta on the Monarch Crest Trail and other local routes.
Get out and explore the World!