Did my standard "Park Loop" training run today. The run begins at my home (elevation 7600 ft.) in Estes Park and heads northwest via Wonderview Avenue, US 34, and Fall River Road to the Fall River Gateway entrance to RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park). It continues on into the park, through Horseshoe Park, where the road sweeps around to the southeast, and climbs on up to Deer Ridge Junction (elevation 8920 ft.). From this junction, my route continues in a southeasterly direction as it descends down US 36 towards the southern Beaver Meadows entrance to RMNP. It descends out of RMNP following Moraine Avenue into Estes Park and swings back north up Big Horn Drive to my house. Occasionally I will reverse the direction to keep things interesting.
For a couple of months now most of my running has consisted of this fifteen mile loop done twice a week. The trails up in Rocky Mountain National Park have too much deep snow to make running them practical, so this road loop from my house has become my default winter training run. It has beautiful mountain scenery with opportunities to see elk, deer, and big horn sheep. The first half of this loop (in either direction) is uphill and into the prevailing winds. The second, glorious, half is all downhill with the wind at your back! Here are some pictures and a video of the scenery/weather from today's run.
It was really nice to run today with mild temps in the mid-twenties and an absence of the howling winds which have plagued many of my runs over the past couple of months!