We started off the day with a return visit to Arches NP to see Delicate Arch - I'd been there during my trip last February but Teresa didn't get to see it on Monday as it was getting late and the sky was no longer blue. Wow - equally worthwhile second time around! We scrambled all the way around the far side to get some excellent views with nothing but blue sky in the background...
Ended up spending way longer out there than we'd planned so it was well past check-out time but the hotel folks were very pleasant - they knew us by now as our 1 night stay turned into 2 and then 3! Before getting on the road for Durango we indulged in a scrumptious brunch at the Eklectic Cafe. The drive here took just over 3hrs including a stop enroute in Cortez (for a Haagen Daz lunch). We debated stopping in Mesa Verde NP but decided we'd were a little NP'd out at this stage and had seen pretty spectacular 13th century ruins in Canyon de Chelly so we were good on the culture side of things.
Arrived in Durango a little before 5pm to be told 'no vacanies' at hotel after hotel due to a motorcycle rally in town this week! Shucks - didn't exactly plan that well. But thankfully we found a place a short walk from town center after some more searching. As we'd driven through town we were delighted to see so many cute stores, neat looking restaurants and coffee shops. And lots of bookshops. This would definitely be a place to wander about for a morning. Teresa was going to do some exploring while I went for a run so we made plans to meet up downtown for dinner later.
I set off expecting to run for an hour through some neighborhoods. But before long I found myself on a road named 'Mount View Ave' that seemed to be heading straight up into the hills. After about 5 minutes I spotted what looked like a trail and then a sign for 'Durango Mountain Park'. Super! What an unexpected treat. But it got better. I ran through a maze of gravel/earthen hilly trails for about 10 minutes and then found myself ascending a pretty steep climb behind 2 guys. They seemed to know where they were going so I figured I'd follow them. That lasted all of 2 minutes as I overtook them and saw there was only one trail and it was going all the way to the top. 10 minutes later I was atop a 7,484 peak!! So much for an easy 6 mile run. I'd just climbed almost 1000ft in 30 minutes. Does this mean Steve was correct in his prediction of me not being able to avoid a tough workout?? Maybe not, my calves ached but it was short. The run down was kinda rough but fun!
What a delight to happen upon such beautiful trail. I only wish I had more time in this area. I think the San Juan Solstice race in June will be added to the calendar! Looking forward to exploring the town a little more in the morning. We had a delicious pasta dinner at Guido's accompanied by a nice Italian red. I was going to abstain for the 2 weeks before the race but that seemed altogther too much like hard work.
End of post.