#60HikesDenverChallenge – Boulder: Walden Ponds

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(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Denver Edition.” You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #5 – Boulder – Walden Ponds
Completed: 1/22/17 | Mode: Running!
Location: Boulder, about 75th and Jay Rd
Distance: 2.5 miles
Difficulty:  Easy, peasy
Surface: Hard packed dirt
Exposure: Lots of shade

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My Experience:
After driving through peaceful, organic farming land, I got to a lot of old warehouses,  buildings that just looked abandoned, and actually abandoned buildings. I was thinking there is no way that a nice trail listed in this book would be out here. Sure enough, one block later, there was Walden Ponds trailhead. If you can’t tell already, this wasn’t one of my favorites. What used to be gravel pits have filled with water over the years and with it, a lot of wildlife. All I saw was a lot of ducks and other birds. Although there were some beautiful views, I couldn’t get over the smell of the nearby water treatment plant. Did I paint a good enough picture for you?

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You can see all the buildings on the other side of the pond, one of which is the water treatment plant.

Pros:
-Beautiful view to one side
-Flat, shady and lots of different loop options.
-A lot of wildlife

Cons:
-Smelly, literally
-Crowded
-Bird watchers (I felt kind of bad blazing through with the sound of my running)

Tips:
-Don’t go to this trail 😉
-In all seriousness, this would be a great family trail because there is pamphlet that points out all the wildlife.

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Overall:
I’m not quite sure why this trail is in the book. I can’t tell if the book was written for people from out of town or people living in Denver. Either way, it could have been left out. Sure, there’s a pretty view of the mountains, but there’s just as beautiful landscape at much better trails. If you’re nearby and want to get in a loop run, go here. If you’re far, or from out of town, it’s not worth the drive.

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#60HikesDenverChallenge – Evergreen: Evergreen Lake

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(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Denver Edition.” You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #20 – Evergreen: Evergreen Lake
Completed: 1/11/17 | Mode: Walk (with Ben)
Location: Evergreen – Evergreen Pkwy and Bear Creek Rd
Distance: 1.28 (This is in the book. Part of the trail was closed the day we did it. We ended up doing a double out and back getting in about 2 miles total.)
Difficulty: Super easy (although, very icy this time of year)
Surface: Hard packed Dirt
Exposure: Half in shade

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My Experience:
After dragging the sick boyfriend off of the couch, we made our way to Evergreen Lake. I promise I’m not mean, I was just trying to get him moving and get some fresh air! Evergreen Lake was perfect and a short hike around a beautiful frozen lake is just what the doctor ordered. We didn’t get to do the exact trail from the book (a 1.2-mile loop) because the part by the road was closed (I’m guessing this is due to snow fall and the plows covering the trail). We ended up doing a double out and back. The best part of this trail was the beautiful “waterfall” of the water cascading out of the dam. We weren’t expecting it as it as we came around the corner.

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Pros:
-Flat
-Partly shady
-Beautiful surrounding area

Cons:
-Short

Tips:
-Bring the ice skates (or rent them); there’s a fun outdoor ice rink in the winter!
-The trail can get icy in the winter where the sun doesn’t shine

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Overall:
I really liked our outing at the lake, it was a nice way to get out of the house. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way here just to get a run in. I would take people from out-of-town here to get a great glimpse at mountain living without driving too far.

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#60HikesDenverChallenge – Red Rocks: Trading Post Trail

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(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles Denver Edition.” You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

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Trail #28 – Red Rocks: Trading Post Trail
Completed: 1/8/17 | Mode: Run/Hike
Location: Morrison – Approx. HW 8 & C-470 (northwest of here by the Red Rocks Amphitheater)
Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Surface: Single track, hard packed dirt with some big rocks
Exposure: Minimal shade

My Experience:
After a few days of being stuck inside due to bad snow storms, it was finally time to get outside. Intent on going snowboarding, my plans changed when the boyfriend came down with the flu. I didn’t want to go alone nor leave him by himself for too long, so I opted to try a trail from the book. It was a  sunny winter day (my favorite type of winter day) and the two layers I chose to run in seemed to be too much. Not having exercised much in the past week I opted to just doing the loop once and that turned out to be enough due to the condition of the trail and the direction I chose to run. (The trail is a loop and the book describes going counter clock wise while I chose the opposite and ended up with more uphill than down hill).

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Pros:
-BEAUTIFUL!
-A great place to really experience Colorado
-Easy trail overall, but has some good, gradual climbs
-Easy access to other trails
-Easy access to Red Rocks Amphitheater (where you can do some stairs and other great workouts)
-Facilites nearby

Cons:
-Crowded (even on a winter day)
-Tourist destination (adding to the above con)

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Tips:
-This is a great one during the winter since it sees a lot of sun.
-If you’re looking for more mileage, do this twice (or more), switching directions for more of a challenge.
-Side note tip: If you haven’t been to a concert at Red Rocks, you NEED to

Overall:
I had a great, beautiful run even though I ran into a lot of people (some rude) that didn’t know trail etiquette. This is a popular trail for families and people from out-of-town. If you’re a local and are seeking a trail run, avoid this area and choose one of the other great nearby trails (like Mathew/Winters or Dino Ridge). If you’re trying to show some visitors from out-of-town some great Colorado sites (or are from out-of-town yourself), bring them here and walk this trail!

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Ragnar Trail Relay – Unique to Everyone

 

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For the past three years, I have gotten the opportunity to run the Ragnar Trail Relay in Snowmass, CO. All three years have been with 3W Races. The first year as an ambassador, the second year and both an ambassador and employee, and this year as an employee. 

I am a BIG fan of Ragnar Relays. I have loved and enjoyed every year in different ways. This race is a great event, well put together and good way to combine all the reasons I enjoy running! 

Below is my take on the relay, in a general sense. I plan on following up with this year’s post race recap.

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What is Ragnar Trail Relay?

It all ends when I finally get home, I examine myself, taking note of what I’ve done to my body and mind.

I am very tried, about to fall asleep.

I’m dirty, literally covered, head to toe with dirt.

I smell like a high school locker room.

My muscles are sore.

I have a few blisters spread out on my feet.

There’s chafing in places only my boyfriend sees.

I’m sunburnt in various spots, showing where I can’t reach.

My hair is coated in grease, staying in a pony-tail without a hair-tie.

My eyes are dry, my head hurts, and my ears are plugged.

But I feel accomplished.

It all started at 4am the morning before. In about 28 hours, I ran close to 15 miles between three separate runs. I climbed a total of 2,295 feet up a mountain, only to come back down, three different times. I slept less than 8 hours in total and tried to remember to eat when I needed to.

If you read the fine print, I tortured myself for almost two days straight and I called it FUN.

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I have made new friends and strengthened current ones. I watched the sun set then come back up again, all while sitting besides a giant bonfire. I ran 3.5 miles catching up with a friend of mine, four miles with just the light of my headlamp and the stars above, and 6.8 miles in the heat of the day, all while being distracted by tall, snow-capped peaks.

That is what my Ragnar Trail Relay was.

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Running is different to everyone. Some enjoy the roads and others like the trails. Some get thrills from the long run and others just run a few miles each time. Some appreciate company on the journey while others prefer to chase the miles alone. Most of us are a mix of all of these. No matter what type of runner you are, you can find your place at a Ragnar Relay.

My experience with Ragnar Relay has been three years in the making. Every time I join a team and start hitting the trails with seven other team members, I have a new experience. That’s what makes this race series unique. It may be the same three trails every year, but each year you can create new memories and experiences.

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The first year, I was chased by a sage grouse that I coined “The Velociraptor.” In year two, I desperately searched for some dry clothes to warm up in between runs. This year, my third year, I chased the sun and got to finally see the views from the red loop. I was also the last runner and was joined by my team to run through the arch at the end of my last leg. Each year has been made more and more memories.

The brilliant thing about Ragnar Trail Relay is they provide you with the essentials: Trails, music, good vibes, nutritious food, games, good products, a great host, and a campground. From that, each individual experience is unique; from person to person, team to team and year to year.

So I ask you….

What will your Ragnar Trail Relay be?

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Quote on the back of the medals when you put all eight together:

“We believe that being a Ragnarian is about more than being a runner, that misery loves company, that happiness is “only real when it’s shared”, that there is a badass inside all of us, that everyone deserves to be cheered at the finish line, that dirt in your teeth boosts the immune system, that what happens in the village, stays in the village, that adventure can only be found if you are looking for it, and that a little sleep deprivation is a small price to pay to watch the sun rise with our friends. Together we ran Ragnar trail. Together we can accomplish anything. We are Ragnarians.”

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Ragnar Relays

3W Races