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In the realm of true mountain running

They say time heals all wounds and it has been twelve days since the Imogene Pass Run. Any muscular discomfort and lingering memories of how very difficult it is to breathe while running at over 13,000 feet is all gone (forgotten).

A group of Pagosa runners participated in the 37th annual Imogene Pass Run: Roger Jensen (first in his age group with a time of 3:25:57), Jurgen Montgomery (third in his age group with a time of 2:49:38), Pat O’Brien (3:14:53), Clint Alley (3:52:14), John Barry III (4:04:37), Stephanie Jones (4:34:41), Nancy Murri (4:39:29), Monica Montoya Alley (4:41:35), Beth Jones (4:51:51), Suzette Cass (4:53:32), Kerry Blackley (5:30:57) and Rita Jensen who ran a fast first half and had a great time. They all got through the steep ascent and gutted out the even steeper descent. They even managed a smile at the finish line.

There are few greater emotional feelings than finishing a tough race. And there are few worse physical feelings than finishing a tough race. And so they all have their goals for next year at the finish line in Telluride. It’s a dual aim for better times and even better feelings. They will do what they know how to do: run steady, heads up, enjoying the ambience and just keep going. Another finish line comes into focus.

Through the years, participants in the Imogene Pass Run have encountered a variety of weather conditions. Starting out in Ouray at 7,800 feet, the 17.1-mile race summits at 13,114 feet and then descends into Telluride at 8,745 feet. In good-weather years, the challenge of the traverse is rewarded by unsurpassed vistas and in the bad-weather years, the wind, fog, rain and/or snow along the course make a successful arrival in Telluride a virtual rite of passage into the realm of true mountain running.

Highlands project

As many of you are aware, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District will soon be decommissioning the Highlands Sewer Lagoons facility located approximately five miles north of U.S. 160 on North Pagosa Boulevard.

These are the treatment lagoons that primarily service the Lake Hatcher Park and Highlands Estates subdivisions. The new sewer line that is being installed parallel to North Pagosa Boulevard will now pipe the sewage directly to the Vista Treatment Plant. PAWSD will be reclaiming the Highlands facility next year, which sits on three properties totaling approximately six acres, filling in the lagoons, grading the properties and revegetating the land.

Last week at the PAWSD Board of Directors meeting, the PLPOA requested that PAWSD consider the possibility of leasing one of those properties to the PLPOA for the purpose of developing a National Forest access trailhead and parking amenity.

The PAWSD board agreed to this proposal, granting a six-year recreational lease to the PLPOA for that purpose. Those three properties are in the Martinez Mountain Estates I subdivision and are located directly adjacent to the National Forest. The trail systems in the Turkey Springs area of the forest are becoming more and more popular and having another forest access location that will include parking, trailhead signs, a short segment of trail to the forest, a new forest gate and maybe a picnic area will certainly be a benefit for area residents.

The decommissioning will likely take place next summer and the parking and trailhead facility should be built sometime late next summer or early fall 2011.

The PLPOA is exploring additional parking and trailhead locations along the North Pagosa Boulevard corridor and more details will be available next spring.

The Forest Service is currently seeking public comments in the initial public scoping phase of the proposed Turkey Springs Travel Management Plan. This proposed travel management plan covers recreational trails in the Turkey Springs area to the west of Pagosa Lakes to U.S. 160 and the First Fork Road of the Piedra River, north to Monument Park. The purpose of the plan is to develop a long-term trail use and trail type management plan in Turkey Springs.

For more information, watch The SUN or contact the Pagosa Ranger District office.