With the high mountains shut down due to a weather system moving through, we decided to stay home and get some chores done this weekend. Funny thing is, I sometimes forget how great we have it in our own backyard. After laboring in the vegetable garden, Chad and I escaped for our first big(ger) trail run of the spring. Since the Fruita Fat Tire Festival was going on this weekend and we wanted to avoid the crowds, Chad and I decided on the Ute Canyon trail in the Colorado National Monument. An out and back from the Wildwood trailhead is 15 miles. Too much for us early season, so we decided to set up a car shuttle and run down Ute Canyon from Rimrock Drive. Throw in the Corkscrew trail too and its a nice 8 mile run in one of the most beautiful canyons in our backyard.
Dropping off the rim was somewhat reminiscent of the Grand Canyon run we did last fall, though as Chad reminded me, about a 10th of the distance, elevation and pain. Sure enough the descent was over quickly. Once in the canyon we found the trees still bare but some indian paintbrush already poking through and water flowing in the canyon bottom.
For several miles we followed rolling singletrack through the sagebrush, until reaching the Corkscrew. Aptly named we followed the rocky trail through tight switchbacks down to the Wildwood trailhead. A short but sweet season opener. And the vegetable garden looks good too!