For the first time since I got here a week ago, I had both the time and the sunlight to go exploring on a run. Quickly looking at maps, I figured I should go check out the City Creek Canyon Road everyone has been telling me about. I wasn't disappointed.
I knew it was going to take me a few miles just to reach the trailhead. Normally, I dislike driving somewhere to then run and today was no different. Now that I know the whole trail is about 8 miles long, chances are, when the snow has melted and the whole trail is clear, I will drive to the trail, park and do the run. But today I just wanted 12-13 miles so running there was fine. Plus, I wanted to see at least a little of SLC in the daylight. I know of few better ways to get to know a city intimately than running it.
So I took off from my Liberty Park area and headed north. I got a little confused at one point and had to back track to get to City Creek Canyon Road. The sign only said Canyon Road, and I did not want to tempt it. It ends up that I could have stayed on the road I was on (NE Capitol Blvd)and it would have taken me to the same place (City Creek Canyon Road) that Canyon Road did.
However, if I had I would have missed Memory Grove Park. While I did not run amongst the monuments nearly as often as I would have liked in DC, they were always there. I knew one of the things I would miss most about DC would be running in the shadows of these great tributes. Now, Memory Grove Park isn't going to make me forget any of them anytime soon, but it sure is quite a nice little park in and of itself.
At this point I make it to City Creek Canyon. I have been going steadily uphill (including a 45 degree angle hill as I entered "the Aves". I decide I will do about 2 miles from where the trail begins and call it a day. As I climbed and climbed, I occasionally would grab a handful of snow. It is one of the warmer days I have encountered since I have been here (close to 40 degrees at 10 AM or so) and with the bright sunshine overhead, I was a little parched.
Here is where the real beauty begins. I thought about calling some friends but looked down and noticed my cell phone had no reception. That's probably better anyway as my words could not describe how pretty this area was. If it wasn't the elevation gain taking my breath away, it was definitely this Canyon.
I was chasing a guy in the distance and was hoping to catch him before I turned around at the 2 mile marker. (I was quite pleased they have mile markers on this part of the course). I ran into a few people coming back down the hill which meant they had been up earlier than me (which was not hard given this was the first day I have "slept in" in quite some time.) The guy I was tracking down stopped about 100 meters ahead of me. He was standing at the 2nd mile marker. When I got there I greeted him and we exchanged pleasantries. Tommy was originally from Germany but had lived in Utah for quite sometime. I asked is he was heading back down but he told me he was waiting for his girlfriend. Figuring it was a girl I had passed a little ways back I remarked that I felt she would be along soon and headed back down the hill.
As I left the park entrance I decided to try the road which ran above the canyon. Sure enough it led into the Aves and then onto the main city streets. With no detours and much more downhill on the way home, I ran much swifter second half.
I can't wait to explore even more. 12.3 miles and 1:37 minutes later I was home.