Monday, September 10, 2012

Hitting the Hills

I'm behind on my postings, too busy out playing I guess.

Jonny and I went to Hall Ranch last Monday for an easy day of hiking.  Which turned out to be not so much.  We decided to do a loop, up the hiker only trail, down the multi-use trail for a grand total of about 9.4 miles, 3 hours 50 minutes (maybe 3 hours, 35-40 without the stops).  We saw plenty of critters starting with a bull snake right away.

Couldn't get my camera out in enough time to get his head, he went straight down the nearest hole when he spotted us.

Bull Snakes aren't venomous or aggressive and they kill rattlesnakes so I'm all for them.  Jonny insisted this one was 6' long but I say more like 3'-4'.

Then there was this little guy.

Sporting his camo look.

One of these days I'll get a good picture of an Abert Squirrel.  They're shy of people and always take off before I can get my camera turned on.  Sadly in over 20 years of living here this is the best I've got.

Plenty of nice views.

Not exactly an easy rest day but once we got going it was hard to turn around.

Next day it was off to Golden for the Centennial Cone trail.  We accessed it via the new-ish Mayhem Gulch trail which added on another 4.6 miles to the 12.1 mile Centennial Cone trail.

With a name like Mayhem Gulch it has to be good.

The bike course for Nationals is 17.7 miles with 3400' of climbing and this ride was nearly 17 miles according to my cyclometer but only 16.4 according to this guy.  That link shows an elevation map and claims 1621' of climbing.  Perusing the internet gives lot of different elevation claims - 2600', over 5000' - so it's hard to know which one is accurate.  I'd like to believe 2600' but maybe the 1621' is the right one.  So many gizmos out there these days for measuring routes/elevation, hard to know which ones are the most accurate.  Oddly enough it took me the exact same amount of time to complete the trail as it did the guy in the link, 3 hours 50 minutes.

Edited to add:

There's a cool feature on that website linked above that follows a 3-D satellite view of the route.  So cool, especially to see the crazy switchbacks and exposure on Mayhem.  It shows the measured path and it doesn't exactly follow the trail, cuts off quite a few corners so that would explain why my cyclometer measured .6 extra mile.  Also gives me hope that there was a bit more elevation gain than measured.

Despite the name, the Mayhem Gulch trail was not all that difficult.  Nice smooth singletrack at mostly reasonable grades.  There's a lot of exposure though and steep drop-offs so it's not for folks who are scared of heights.  I was surprised by the amount of exposure, steep drop-offs and tight switchbacks on the Centennial Cone trail as well.  Been years since I've done it and I don't remember so much exposure.  Neither trail is technical, just a couple of places I have to walk on Centennial and even Jonny has to walk down those.

Lots of Centennial is really beautiful though, I'd forgotten what a nice trail it is once you get off the exposed stuff.  I was on a mission though, only stopped for one photo op despite all the fabulous scenery and perfect blue skies.

Looks cloudy in the photo but the skies overhead were sunny and blue.

Did this ride on tired legs from the long hike the day before and some general fatigue left over from the hot day at the agility trial the day before.  Felt good about this ride though and getting excited for Nationals.

1 comment:

  1. Great views, oh my! Fun to see the reptiles and the squirrel with those big ears. At least it's recognizable. Thanks for posting all these, always love seeing Colorado.