Monday, October 3, 2016

Trail Run with Colorful (and Welcome) Distractions

 My dear husband took the kids Sunday morning so I could go for a trail run. I wanted to check out the Timber Creek-South Fork Baker loop (about 5.5 miles) and see the fall colors before a winter storm arrives in the next couple of days.  I started off on the relatively flat section of the trail, with fall colors around me.

As I climbed up into Timber Creek, the yellows became more brilliant. Although I was trying to run faster than the last time I had run the trail, I had already decided I was going to take photos with my phone whenever I wanted, no matter if that made my time slower. I couldn't really remember my earlier time anyway, so that took a lot of pressure off.

Some of the leaves were off already at the higher elevations.

To my great surprise, I saw people on the trail! I passed these two--what a fun feeling it is to pass someone on the trail, even if I was basically just walking fast because I'm not fast enough to run up switchbacks. I also saw nine backpackers coming down this trail, and two backpackers later, for a total 13 people!

I really liked the sections of trails where leaves covered the winding path. Plus it was a little flatter here, which is always a nice change on a trail that gains and loses 1,800 feet in 5.5 miles.

The meadow at the top was as glorious as I was imagining. The fast-moving clouds allowed for dramatic vistas, including the backside of Wheeler Peak and Jeff Davis.

I veered off the trail for a bit and found these cool aspen trees. I especially like the symmetry.

Sunlight illuminated the top of Pyramid Peak and the aspen grove on the far side of the meadow.

Looking north, there were more great colors.

I had to try for a selfie, you know, to prove I was there. It was really windy in the meadow.

I headed down along South Fork Baker Creek, seeing the colors turn in the riparian veg, too.

The colors were even better on the South Fork Baker side, with so many leaves blanketing the trail.

Yep, this really is the way!

When I came out to the lower meadow, I saw some backpackers enjoying the view and soaking up the sun.

I said a quick hi and kept running.

Till I stopped to take more photos!

Most of the color is due to the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) leaves, but willows and skunkbush also provided a nice splash of color.
It was a fun run/walk and I was happy to finish in under two hours. Maybe sometime I'll find where I wrote down my earlier times and see how I did. But even if I didn't, it was a great excuse to get outside and enjoy part of our beautiful world.

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