Work has been pretty stressful for the last two months, and coaching my daughter's soccer team this fall has eaten up most of the available free time in my schedule. So when I got word at 6:55am on Saturday that our soccer game was canceled, I grabbed my gear and headed for the hills. I needed some real solitude to unwind and my gracious wife said these fantastic words as I stepped out the door, "Honey, take your time and just enjoy yourself. Don't worry about us."
My destination was the best kept secret on the Front Range. Indian Creek. I haven't been back there for a year and half, and that's crazy when you see how amazing the running is. I don't understand why it's not more popular.
What I didn't tell my wife, was that my "under the radar" plan was to go on a bear hunt. I know that area is known for lots of bear crawling around and this time of year is perfect since they're actively on the prowl for food before the long winters nap. I've never seen a bear in the wild, so I planned to run with my camera in hand and capture a shot - hopefully at a safe distance.
I started in Roxborough State Park heading up the Carpenter Peak trail before veering off on the Elk Valley trail. Eventually that connects to the Indian Creek trail and the true fun begins.
|Thursday's snow left a cushy, unspoiled blanket of white.|
|I think I woke this guy up.|
|He didn't budge while I ran by. Probably too cold to move.|
|There are very few open expansive views on these trails. For the most part you are running in the forest 90% of the time. Perfect if you ask me.|
|Not much melting had occurred, so it was 3-4" of snow everywhere. This kind of running is exactly what I was looking for.|
|Every so often, my large noggin would knock a branch like above and snow would pour down my neck or in my face. Exhilarating!|
|I had planned to run a few more miles back there, but I came to several sections like this and had difficulty sticking with the trail. I decided it would be a smart move to make my way back to Roxborough.|
|Sadly, I couldn't find a bear. This baby track was the most excited wildlife encounter outside of spooking countless deer.|
|As I ran the Roxborough Connector trail, I started getting bummed the run was coming to a close. Time to slow down and goof off with the camera.|
|I don't usually get too artsy with my pictures, but this is what happens when I start procrastinating.|
|I encountered my first people of the day on top of Carpenter Peak.|
I can't tell you how thankful I am for the opportunity to run in such beautiful places that usher in the peace and solitude that I need. Sure it gets eery being deep into a place that redefines what quiet means and where your footprints are the only ones those trails will see for days - or weeks. And sure it stinks when its over, but as I've learned each time I head out the door - there's always another day to run.