Friday, October 19, 2012

Conundrum Hot Springs - Experiencing the Aspen Fall Colors

I recently spent the weekend in Aspen, CO taking part in some fantastic runs. My timing happened to coincide with the peak of the fall colors in the Roaring Fork valley. As one may guess, the town of Aspen and the surrounding area is littered with huge groves of aspen trees that turn bright golden yellow during the fall. Over the weekend, I was able to run the Golden Leaf Half Marathon and take a nice run to Conundrum Hot Springs.

The Golden Leaf Half Marathon begins at the base of the Snowmass Village ski resort, and after climbing up the ski runs within the resort, traverses across single track trails to the town of Aspen. The only slight deterrent to the amazing views of the fall colors was the slight haze of smoke from the fires in Wyoming and Idaho, but this was a minimal bother. The race itself was an excellent event and is one that I'll make a priority to try to run in the future - hopefully improving on a somewhat "flat" performance, yet still enjoyable experience, this year.

Saturday night I camped at the Conundrum Creek trailhead and waited until full light in the morning to begin my run up the trail. I didn't want to miss out on any of the views I knew would be in store for me. The run up and down the ~9 mile trail to Conundrum Hot Springs was absolutely spectacular with the fall colors. The second highlight of the run in addition to the fall colors was breaking up the running with a nice long soak in the hot springs at the head of the valley with a number of people who had backpacked in for the weekend. The weather was perfect for this sort of activity, and the warm water worked well to relieve some of the soreness in my legs from the prior day's race.

In lieu of attempting to narrarate the details of my run up Conundrum Creek, I'll let the photos speak for themselves. I've decided this is one of those runs that will go on my "must repeat as soon as possible" list.

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