Saturday, December 04, 2004

Running the scar

Woke up this morning with no real plans; checked my email and saw a post from my good friend, Jose asking where I planned on running this morning. He said he would check his email at 0700 to see my answer. Well, I called my girlfriend, Rebekka and asked if she would like to go run at Glen Eyrie with Jose at 0830. Sure thing. Emailed Jose and proceeded to get ready. Called Jose at 0730, since he hadn't responded to my email, his wife Cynthia answers in a sleepy voice. After greetings she hands the phone to Jose, coming out of a dead sleep. Well, long story short we met at Glen Eyrie shortly after 0830.

Glen Eyrie is a christian retreat just north of the Garden of the Gods, immediately west of Colorado Springs. Set in a box canyon it sports a grand castle, and several cabins and condos to give christians the opportunity to reflect on God's bounty and the beauty of creation (I suppose). Until a few short years ago they blocked access to some of the great trails leading into Queen's Canyon, Glenview Canyon, and even up along the edge of the canyons to the "scar" and beyond into the Pike National Forest. They now allow access to these trails if you sign a liability waiver at the entrance. This is wonderful. They are to be commended for this community service.

I sure wish more property holders would be so enlightened. I have travelled and lived all over the world and Americans are the worst I've seen for their steadfast insistence on strict limiting of access to private property. In Europe for instance, people are free to go just about anywhere so long as they don't trample crops in a field. The country roads and lanes are open for hiking or ambling about. One feels much more free as a result, and one doesn't notice the dense population as much either.

The trail rose steeply out of the box canyon, through fantastic red rock and limestone formations. It really is a wonder living here in Colorado Springs. There are so many beautiful trails to run so close in to town. Our destination this morning was "the scar". After a mile or so we turned off at a signpost for the "Overlook", referring to viewpoint high above Queen's Canyon. Jose said "I can tell we're almost done climbing because I can see blue sky". I didn't want to burst his bubble, but I knew we had a lot more climbing to go.

The trail leads into a road that switchbacks ever higher along the edge of Queen's Canyon. A couple months ago Rebekka and I ran up here, but from a different entrypoint. On that run we came upon the herd of 20 or so Bighorn Sheep that make the "Scar" their home. The story goes, some years ago they were being transported from one habitat to another, but something happened along the way (either the vehicles broke down, or there was a winter storm, I don't recall), but for whatever reason they were let out here and here they have remained ever since, prospering. On that day, a couple months ago, Rebekka and I kept going past the high point on the "scar" road, finding a trail that I had searched for without result on several other runs. The trail continues along the ridge, eventually reaching a mountain top of around 9,000 feet ele., then circles back down Douglas Creek and into the Flying W Ranch.

Today we stopped at the high point and turned back.

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