Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday at Keystone

My Sunday run took a group of three to Keystone to run the mountain bike trailz. Mitch, Leaha, and I met at 10:00 to do at least a loop. I knew the trailz could be sloppy and was prepared to bail at one circuit--which as I recalled was about 5 miles.

We took out and I was amazed to find that the trailz were not sloppy at all. Keystone has a lot of rocks especially during the first half if you are running the serpentine loop clockwise. What wasn't rocks was packed sand, with a small stream of runoff water following the trail. Only in a few places were there puddles on the trail, and even fewer places where any mud was squishy. I ended the day with wet feet, but not muddy shoes.

Any drainage no matter how slight had running water. For much of the way, we ran to the sound of a tumbling stream due to such heavy recent rainfall.

 Our first of several water crossings. 

Leaha made it across with one wet foot I think. Mitch just plowed through it. Blue, although being part Lab, was most hesitant. Dad had to pick him u and carry him across. But by the end of the day, Blue decided the water wasn't all that bad and was indeed great for a drink.

 I know the trailz here quite well, but there were a few new ones cut. One had signs taunting the passer-by as to it being too tough. So, of course, we had to add that loop to our journey. It was about a half mile which included a bit of climb and a few rock outcroppings. Nothing to sneeze at.

 This large tree blew over at east 10 years ago and just won't die. Anytime I run through with someone, I have to get a hold-it-up picture. Leaha really put some muscle into it and for a second I thought she might set it upright.

 Blue gets in on the action, but I have to say it didn't look like his heart was in it.

 This power line easement gives a great look over the Arkansas River. There are miles of ATV trails in the river bed and were no doubt muddy. There's also an old railroad bed that resembles a trail, but I am sure it was a long continuous mud hole. We passed on that.

Looking the other way, I always get this picture. We did a loop-de-loop and ran right under the electric tower about a half mile later.

 A small waterfall along the way. There were probably lots of others but I only got this one picture.

We had 4 or 5 water crossings and by the end of the loop, we just waded through. The cold water felt wonderful on our feet.

With the newly added loop that we were dared to run, we ended up with 5.9 miles for the loop. Leaha called it a day, but Mitch, Blue, and I went out for some more mileage. The old asphalt road which is actually the old HWY 51 (and I mean Real old) goes downhill a half mile with a drop of 134 feet. Of course, I wanted the spike on my elevation chart that we'd get on the way back up.

Then we ran up the main highway on the shoulder right into a fierce headwind for 3/10 of a mile to the entrance of Keystone State Park. I knew of a graveled loop that ran through the park. I had run it a few year ago and was under-impressed, but hey--it was mileage.

 A few hundred yards into the park area, I saw a new trail head sign.

This trail started out as gravel and turned into a nice dirt single track. We also crossed a couple of wooden bridges, one of which has a lot of brush and leaves log-jammed under it damming up quite a bit of water. Mitch took it upon himself to correct the problem and found a short stick and started poking around at the plug of branches and waterlogged leaves holding the water back. Well, I jumped in to help and thrust my hand down into the leaves pulling out whatever I could get a grip on. Gradually, a little water started flowing through, and as the water level dropped I could see that there was too much debris wedged into easily remove, so we gave up. after we jogged away, it dawned on me that the dam, as it were could have been built by a beaver, and there could have been one just about t chomp on our hands. Also, there could have been a nest of water moccasins living there.  Oh well. But we'da been famous.

The Ranger Trail took us by this pond, and from there we followed a gravel road out to the main road. Then we found the older boring trail that I had run before, and took it down to the edge of the lake, and followed it back to close to the park office and to the main highway. Mitch had the great idea to plow through to the mountain bike trails we'd run earlier, and he nailed a little bail-out spur that led us right to the trail that took us back to our parking lot. This kept us off the shoulder of what was a busier-than-expected highway

10.5 miles for the day in 3:14, several water crossings, two rain showers, not much mud, and some good times.

And we had 1,217 feet of climb.

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