Guest Blogger Eric Jorgensen
The Devil’s Backbone fits its title, and I, for one, am in love.
For miles past the entrance and warning sign is red dirt covered with wind-tamped prairie grass and the occasional yucca plant. The dirt and grass climb a boulder-laden hill until it butts against the mohawk rock formations that give this devil its backbone, and its name. The valley and hills of the Backbone are 5,620 feet above sea level and rest at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. You can almost hear Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson’s rendition of Ghost Riders in the Sky playing in the wind. Cutting up and down the hills is a trail that at some points is so heavily covered in rocks you either have to climb or turn around. For a hundred-yard strip, the trail appears to be growing scales. It is menacing and looks like a place Dante had to cross to reach the Inferno. But this is a runner’s heaven.
The Devil’s Backbone is easily the coolest named and one of themost intimidating trails I’ve seen, which I loved about it. It bolted into my pantheon of favorite places to run and inspired my new mission: To find San Francisco Marathon runners’ favorite places to train, and if possible, I will join you at them.
This bites at me, but I actually didn’t run the Devil’s Backbone, which is near Loveland, Colo. Rather, I hiked it with my brother and my grandparents. My grandpa is a genius geologist with a Forrest Gump-like resume. He looked around the Devil’s Backbone, and then proceeded to tell my brother and me exactly how it formed and how many millions of years it took to take its present form. It was like watching Mozart compose […]