Sunday, April 8, 2012

TTR Esperero Ventana Loop

I've run Esperero trail before (not the whole thing - only to Cathedral Rock junction), but I've never done the traverse from Esperero to Ventana Canyon trail. This is a pretty popular trail as it ascends to "The Window", a natural rock formation on the front range of the Catalina Mountains.

Only 5 'hardy souls' showed up at Sabino Canyon for the run. Many thought that doing this run 2 weeks out from Zane Grey was not a good idea. 2 weeks to taper is perfect and with the climbing, it was a great last training run. Dallas was up for the challenge, so we showed up for a new adventure.

The views heading up Esperero are always picturesque.

The 'Twin Spires'

Esperero trail is pretty steep, but starts getting very steep after Bridal Veil falls. It is ridiculously steep at parts leading to the topout at about 7,250 feet.

After topping out, the trail starts a steep descent downward. Shortly thereafter, the 'Window' appears.

We reviewed the map, making sure we knew how far ahead our connector trail was - Ventana Canyon.

We continued the steep descent - so steep, that I got down on my hands and bottom and 'crab crawled' down. Too much loose scree and I didn't want an uncontrolled slide off the mountain!

I don't know if I'd do this trail again - the dowhill on Ventana is so steep that running is fairly impossible for long periods. There were a few really runnable spots, though.

A wonky cactus!

The Window was cool and this part of the Catalinas was very beautiful.

An awesome cairn!

Desert cactus are starting to bloom

After reaching Ventana TH, we had to run almost 3 miles back on road to return to Sabino Canyon, which is where we started. David, our run director, and his wife were there to give us cold water and food before we hit the last stretch.

Total distance: 18.5 miles
Elevation gain: ~ 5,200 feet
Time: 5:57

I'm pretty slow on that super rocky descent.

Time to taper for Zane Grey! It is 2 less than weeks away. I have not been doing much running mid-week. Mostly doing the stepmill since my shins have been so tweaky. I am not as ready as I'd like to be for ZG, but I will do my best on it. I've been doing a lot of climbing runs and with my 56 miler at OP, I'm hoping my muscles have some memory of the training.

I am looking forward to getting past ZG, taking a break from running for 3 weeks or so, and slowly working my mileage back up to a good base for the summer. We are planning a Grand Canyon R2R2R in October. Always some new adventure in our back pocket.

No comments: