This morning I thought I'd sniff around Sheep Gulch and get a look at the south side of Hope Pass. About 1/3 of a mile in, though, I found a trail splitting off to the left. It looked interesting, so I followed it, not sure if it was going to be of the uphill or downhill variety. Turns out it simply traversed the Clear Creek valley a couple hundred feet above the Winfield road. It had more ups, downs, turns, and other trail-ish stuff than the road, and ran about 3 min per mile slower. It climbed from 10,200' to about 10,550' at its high point before dropping down to a 4WD about a half mile west of Winfield proper. It was fairly new and well-maintained until just before that junction - looks like it was constructed in the past month or so. However, it wasn't complete - it turned into a social trail for maybe a quarter to a half mile on its west end. It also dropped onto the road later than I had expected.
So I'm wondering a few things. Is this the trail I heard about? I assume so. Are there plans to change the course to take advantage of this trail? Will distance be cut off elsewhere or will the course just get a little longer? And how much slower would the race run if this trail is used? (I'd estimate 10-15 minutes)
|Sheep Gulch TH is bottom center. "Parallel trail" starts where the red line takes a sharp left, 10:30ish direction|