I haven't figured out the meeting time just yet. Skersfan, input please?
Here are our options; please chime in on which you prefer or make an argument for either:
(1) Does everyone want to start heading that way early enough to catch some sunset, even though we'd have to then wait a while for it to get dark? Sunset is 8:30 so we'd have want to leave at 7:30pm I guess? Or earlier if you want to be half-way up the mountain for the sunset.
(2) OR to not extend the run longer than necessary, head out at 8:30, right at sunset.
My trails book isn't helpful; it says the trail is 3-5 hours, but doesn't say if that's round trip. I would guess it is. It's 9.3 miles long, then turn around and follow it back out. The book says moderate, but it seems to rate trails harder than the Summit page, so I'm guessing it will be fairly easy.
I say your trail book is very correct. I think I have the same. It rates this trail as moderate, 9.3 miles one way and 3 to 5 hours to complete. That is what my own trail book says also.
I believe that 3 to 5 hours would be for the 18.6 miles round trip. 9.3 miles by the trail book is departing from the city of Ouray to the end of the trail. So 9.3 miles is one way. So the round trip would be 18.6 miles and I think the book estimates it to take 3 to 5 hours for that round trip. I doubt they would estimate 3 to 5 hours to do 9.3 miles to the top. That means the round trip would 6 to 10 hours. Now, that would not be worth it to drive 18.6 miles in 6 to 10 hours.
(1) I think your suggestion of a departure time of 7:30pm sounds like a great time. If we set that as the departure time, if someone is running late, the group may even wait for them and still not worry about being late for the trail run. If not, then departure at 7:30pm or a little after is really ideal after a short group meeting about safety on the trail and group trail run etiquette.
Leaving at 7:30pm during day light means the group can really take their time to enjoy seeing the mountains and the trail itself as they slowly drive up. And by the time the group gets under the rocks, the sun may be about setting behind the mountains and the rays may be stunning. Even if the sun is not yet setting, if the group finds a picturesque area, I guess they can pull over and the sun would be setting about that time or in a few minutes after that. Time for some great photo shoot!!!
So my vote would be for the 7:30pm as departure time.
(2) Heading out at 8:30pm might be too late to take off. At this time, it is already getting dark or dark already, so the group would miss the chance to feast their eyes on all the beauty of the fully bloomed wild flowers, the imposing mountains and maybe even miss to see the waterfall before it gets pitch dark.
But a 7:30pm would be ideal. This run would seem like the drive up was during the day while the drive down was at night. The drive down would be great for people who have roof lights and want to shine the night away. They can blast off those leds light bars or cubes that they do not get the chance very often to light up the road with. As long as they are hopefully not blinding the driver infront of them.
But this is just my own contribution to support the 7:30pm departure time. Anybody who prefers 8:30pm can chime in.