2011 RUNNING & TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
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   REVISITING COLORADO TRAIL SEGMENT 10

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5

 
"The mountains are calling and I must go."
~ John Muir
 
 

This is a section of the Colorado Trail (CT) on Sugarloaf Mountain that I've run and hiked numerous times since 1998.

The first couple of miles of the CT from the Timberline Lake trailhead to Hagerman Road are on the LT100 Run course. At that point outbound runners are directed up Sugarloaf Mountain on Hagerman Road to a jeep road that leads them to the Powerline, a wide dirt track which descends steeply to CO 300 and the Leadville Fish Hatchery.

I followed the CT, not the race course. It crosses Hagerman Road, ascends Sugarloaf Mountain rather steeply on single-track, and intersects the jeep road just before the Powerline begins its descent. Then the CT continues south toward Mt. Massive.

I remained on the CT this whole hike, turning around about half a mile past the jeep road and retracing my steps back to the truck for a total distance of seven miles.


The CT crosses several large and small creeks in this section.

All the photos in this entry are from my hike this morning.

UP 'N AT 'EM

It was a chilly 47 F. when we got up about 7:30 AM, but clear and sunny. Temperatures in town reached the upper 60s as more puffy white clouds formed in the afternoon. We could see storms in the distance to the east and south; we didnít get any rain at our campsite.

Another perfect August day in Leadville!


Cody loved getting in all these creeks today.

Jim cycled the Mineral Belt Trail again this morning for a total distance of about 12 miles to and from our camper. He enjoyed his ride and reported seeing very few other trail users.

(I'll show photos from the Mineral Belt Trail in a few days. Jim rarely carries a camera with him on rides; the pictures you'll see from the MBT will be ones I take.)

The drive from Leadville to the Timberline Lake trailhead is very scenic as it follows the western shoreline of Turquoise Lake. I took this picture as I was driving to the trail this morning along narrow, winding Forest Road 105 toward Mayqueen:

At the end of this entry is another "windshield shot" I took on the way back to town after my hike. Note how many clouds have moved in several hours later -- typical in the Rocky Mountains in the summer.

I parked at the Timberline Lake trailhead and hiked south on CT Seg. 10 for 3Ĺ miles. Outbound ranged from ~ 10,000 feet elevation to ~ 11,000 feet. Inbound was mostly downhill.

Cody had plenty to drink in fast-moving streams like Glacier and Bush creeks between the trailhead and Hagerman Road. Three larger creeks have bridges on them, thankfully. There were two smaller streams on the section between Hagerman Road and the dirt track on top of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Above and below:  another pretty creek and the bridge over it

The first section I hiked is used in the LT100 run and Iíve been on it many times. Itís still as rocky as ever. The second section, the tangent between Hagerman Rd. and the jeep road, is much steeper but less rocky.

There were more flowers in the second section, which has more sun. Both sections had quite a bit of shade, though.


Columbine


Wild geranium

Oh Ė and there are dandelions blooming, too!

I saw five hikers, two runners, three dogs, and a bunch of cyclists. The cyclists were only on Hagerman Road and the Powerline, not the CT.

One of the hikers, whoís been section-hiking CT Seg. 6-10 this week, told me that one day a large group of cyclists in an organized event passed him; theyíre doing the whole CT this week. I told Jim about it when I got home. I'd be willing to crew for him if he ever wants to cycle parts of it or the whole 485-mile trail from Denver to Durango.


The CT continues south after crossing the jeep road on Sugarloaf Mtn.


Looking down at the Powerline track (below arrow) from the CT


Scenic trail as I head back toward the jeep road; see the power lines just above the clouds?

Seven miles took me 2:45 hours, including talking with that hiker and later with our running friend Bill Heldenbrand at the Powerline.

I saw Bill running on the course as I approached the jeep road on my return. He's had to be very careful in that area recently because of all the LT100 cyclists training on the Powerline. It's a very steep grade with lots of loose dirt and rocks. He fell while running down the Powerline yesterday and he's got plenty of company -- runners and cyclists often slide and fall there.


Three cyclists head for the Powerline.

This afternoon Marge Hickman showed us bruises she got when she fell off her bike while training on that treacherous slope one day this week. Sheís doing the Leadwoman series of races this year -- one of very few women over 60 who are brave and strong enough to even attempt this bike race.

Go, girl!!! Marge is not only a previous female winner of the LT100 Run, she's also the woman with the most finishes over the years.

    

    

Those last five pictures illustrate the beauty and solitude of this segment of the Colorado Trail. I love it.

NEW SHOPS IN TOWN

After lunch Jim and I drove downtown to see the new LT100 store. The old store/office is now just the office for Lifetime Fitness, which bought out the race series from Ken Chlouber and Merilee O'Neal last year.


Elephant's head and asters

Marge is working part time at the new LT100 store. There are a bunch of part- and full-time employees here this summer for the five races.

It was good to see Marge (and her husband Mike, who popped in for a couple minutes with his grandkids and son). This is her first time doing the bike race and boy, has she got some funny training stories! Marge lives near Leadville so she's got a leg up, so to speak, on the competition.


Indian paintbrush

We also visited the new bike shop in town. Itís near Billís Bike Shop, which has closed. Billís had running, hiking, and other outdoor stuff, too. The new store is primarily bike related and doesnít have near as much merchandise that we're interested in as Bill's did.

Jim's eyeing a new bike shirt at the LT100 store, which has lower prices on bike clothes with the race logo on them. He's been wearing neon-colored technical and cotton shirts from ultra runs when riding (me, too, even though I have a couple "real" cycling shirts). Our bright yellow, orange, and green running shirts have good visibility for cycling.


View of Turquoise Lake and mountains on the way back to town after my hike.

This was another relaxing day in Leadville. I'm trying my best for a few days to ignore what's going on in the real world.

Next entry: a nostalgic hike to Hope Pass, another trail that's very familiar

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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© 2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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