Thursday, June 30, 2016

Up and Down the Rock Steps

I wanted to get some crazy repeats in today.  I know Angie could use some too.  We decided to head to the Delps Trail, for the toughest climbing around.  The plan was to go up and down maybe 4 or 5 times.  I haven't been there in like two months.

It was super hot.  I wore a sleeveless shirt and was soaked very early on.  Toward the end, my shorts got wet too.  I'm definitely not used to the humidity at this point in the year.

My biggest concern was realized when we got to the trailhead.  It was starting to get a little overgrown 2 months ago.  However, I never expected it to be as crazy as it was.  It is clear that almost no one uses the trail from the bottom.  It was a haven for ticks.  I don't think we came across any thankfully.

I had to lead, as Angie was concerned about ticks and the potential for rattlesnakes.  I was less concerned about snakes, mainly because I've still never seen one.  It would be a decent place for them to be at though.

I ran through the high grass leading the way.  I knew the running wouldn't last very long and it didn't.  Eventually, we were hiking.  Then, we got to the steepest part, the stone steps.  My legs were burning and so were my lungs.  I wasn't ready for this.

Angie came prepared with water, a vest and poles.  I brought nothing.  My plan was to drink from the spring.  We got to the spring and it was completely dry.  I was screwed, as I didn't want to go back down through the high grass until we were done.  Angie did offer some water, but I turned it down.

We mostly hiked up and up.  Around 3/4 of a mile, we hit the AT.  We had over 700 feet of gain already.  This was a solid first climb.  I ran down where I could and Angie fell behind.  That wouldn't last though.

We decided that we would shorten the course and use just the stone steps.  It is the steepest part.  It is so tough to run, so it would mostly be a hike up and down.  Still, a great workout though.

I let Angie lead now, since I was holding her back on the first one.  I was still breathing like crazy.  At some point, I fell on some slippery dirt above the spring.  I was okay though.

We stuck together for a few repeats.  Then, she dropped her pack and poles and left me in the dust.  She tries to tell me she isn't good on hills, but I know she's better than me.  I was tired and lost ground quickly.

Each repeat was getting us between 200 to 250 feet of elevation gain and barely any miles.  My legs and lungs continued to burn.  Around 1200 feet of elevation gain, I wondered how I could even do much more.

Luckily, I do have some toughness.  Eventually, Angie did lap me with how slow I was going.  She's definitely ready to go for her race.  Me, I'm surely in worse shape than last year.  I took another fall on the dirt part of the trail.  This was a little worse than the first one.  We did wear the dirt out with repeats.

I hit 2,000 feet of gain and my watch wasn't even at 3 miles yet.  That was quite crazy.  I've never done so much repeating of steep stuff like this without some rest or easier parts.  This was all tough.  I decided this repeat to continue up to the AT.  That would add more gain.

There is a somewhat flat part, so that was a nice break.  I really couldn't run back down though.  By now, I got over 2300 feet of gain though.  I was feeling a crash coming on, with no water or food, but I knew I could keep going.

I was determined now to get to 3000 feet of gain.  I went up for another regular repeat.  I told Angie I'd be done after this one.  I almost was, but I kept at it.

I needed about 250 feet for 3000 feet when I got to bottom.  I decided I would go up farther and keep at it.  I climbed and climbed and climbed.  I was so tired.  This was perfect end of race fatigue simulation for me.

My watch got me over 3K, but of course it was corrected to be short of that.  Still, I was happy with this workout.  I think Angie was hoping to run more, but she still got a good workout.  It would be hard not to.  So few miles, but so much gain.

It was great to show her the course.  However, we won't be back this summer.  That is for sure, as it is just too overgrown.  We blew through the high grass again at the end.  I was so beat and thirsty when we got back to the car.  I was glad she drove, as I didn't want to move.

Tomorrow, I'll probably take the day off.  I may run on Saturday, possibly with Angie again.  If not, I'm not sure I'll run on my own.  There is a night group run on Sunday night that I'm looking forward to.  It should be fun and we got permission from the park.

5.23 miles - 2:35:39 (29:45 pace) 2953 feet of elevation gain

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Smith Gap AT Run

I didn't get around to running over the weekend.  Plans with Kelley fell through.  Since I'm not motivated, it took until Tuesday to run again.  I had a job interview at LL Bean and got a run in after that.

I was planning a short run, so I took no water or anything like that.  I had on shorts and short sleeves.  I wore a Buff too.  It was super humid, but not too warm, so I managed to make it through.

I didn't want any elevation, but I wanted to get on the AT.  I decided to start from Smith Gap Road.  I've hiked through the whole section around here now, but I had never run this part.  I drove up the rough gravel road and parked at the trail.

The plan was to head southbound 2 miles and turn and head back.  I remember this area being pretty smooth.  It sort of was, but still the rocks were plentiful early on.  I cruised along on the very runnable section.  It was great to get back on the AT.

The trees are now full as is the understory.  It was a cloudy and stormy type of day, so it was actually almost like a dark tunnel.  I passed the first campsite and no one was using it.  I then came upon the site I used in April.  Someone had setup their tent and was hanging clothes out to dry.  I didn't see the person as I cruised by.

I kept going, past the nearby spring.  This trail was pretty smooth and curved a bit.  I saw no people on the route.  I love that the AT is well traveled, yet areas like this still have almost no people.  That is especially true during the week and on a bad weather day.

I didn't make it out the 2 miles that I had hoped.  Some big rocks began to show up around 1.75 miles.  I then had to do some hiking, so I decided to simply turn around.

I headed back and started running when the trail cleared again.  I was really enjoying myself.  Some times, I don't enjoy trail running enough.  Today wasn't one of those days though.  The sun actually peeked through the trees for a bit.  That wouldn't last though.

Since I needed more distance, I took the spur trail to the spring.  I didn't want to drop down too much though, so I didn't find the spring.  I turned and headed back.

I could start to feel a few drops.  It was fine where I was at, but I heard thunder in the distance.  At least I wasn't far from the car and I was heading back.

I ran past the tent again.  This time, the clothes were off the line.  I never saw the person take them off though.  I never saw the person at all.  I was all alone all run.  Just the way I like it.

In no time, I was back at the car.  I needed some more distance, so I briefly ran out in the other direction.  I didn't go far though.  I still needed more when I returned to the car.  Therefore, I ran very briefly on a private road.

This wasn't a long run, but it was fun.  I need more nice and simple runs like this.  This part of the AT is pretty, even if there is nothing special about it.  I'm lucky it is so close.

I'm not sure about tomorrow, but I might go to a dirt track race in Maryland.  If I do, I'll probably run the AT there too.  Annapolis Rock is nearby and I've been wanting to go there for some time.  It is almost a three hour drive, so we shall see.

4 miles - 50:29 (12:38 pace) 68 feet of elevation gain

Friday, June 24, 2016

Back in PA

I got back home on Tuesday.  I haven't had a desire to run since then.  My lack of interest in running is continuing I guess.  All I want to do is run new trails.  However, the weather was nice, so I thought I'd head out today.

It was super comfortable sitting around, but a little hot running.  Mostly, that was because I worked a bit hard at the end.  I wore shorts and a tank top.  At least I can still run with some type of shirt on.  That won't last much longer.

I headed to Mauck Chunk Lake in Jim Thorpe.  I wanted to run and also check to see if any of the flowers were in bloom (they weren't).  I started at the lake and headed down the Switchback Trail.  Even without flowers, it is green tunnel of beauty.  It is one flat, stone trail I can enjoy.  If it was closer, I'd put in more miles there.

It was a bit over a mile until the Fireline Trail.  Eventually, I got to that and the fun started.  I ran for a bit, but didn't want to force it.  Once my breathing was quite labored, I hiked uphill.  This seemed a little tough.  Maybe it was steeper than some of Colorado.  I find that hard to believe.  Perhaps the rocks gave me some trouble.  I'm not sure.

I continued on and after about 500 feet, I came to the top.  Some of the trail had high grass, but now I had the wider doubletrack to work with.  Last time, I took the trail to the east.  This time, I went west to explore more.

I continued to run along, since it was mostly flat.  It was slightly uphill I guess.  At 2.65 miles, I decided I would run to 3.65 miles and turn around.  This was a fairly flat mile.  I thought I heard an animal, but it turned out to be the wind.

It wasn't long and I was ready to turn around.  Instead, I went out farther.  I turned back at mile 4.  This would be a productive day.  I had been just trying to go under a 12 minute per mile pace, but now knew I'd do that.

I continued on.  I was going to just go back to the Shoreline Trail and head down.  I'd go around the lake and that would be good enough.  I pushed a bit and my pace was getting better.  I thought maybe I could even run a sub 11 pace.

I got to the Shoreline Trail.  This was a descent, but it was quite rocky and technical.  I stopped gaining ground on the clock.  Instead, I was breaking even.  It wasn't long to the bottom.

I then came out on the dam.  I had to be careful not to get stung, with all the flowers on the dam.  I cruised along, pushing things a bit.  I just wanted to cross the dam and get out of the sun.

I did that and followed the trail back.  I was along the lake and then up into the woods.  I was now on the Switchback Trail.  I was well over 6 miles and not sure if I'd get to 7 miles.  I did some calculations in my head and figured I was under an 11 minute pace now.

I passed a family walking.  I could see the end of the path.  I ran and finished at the end of it, before mile 7.  I had pushed a bit and finished with a nice time.  Most of this run was easy.  That was interesting, since I don't run for long stretches much any more.  It is usually run, hike, run, hike.

It was a solid workout and nice to be back running.  I feel like I want to run again on Sunday.  We shall see.  I'd love to get to the Pinnacle.  I haven't been there in awhile.  It might be better suited for a weekday though.

6.87 miles - 1:14:53 (10:54 pace) 816 feet of gain

Manitou Incline Run - June 19th

Today was my final interesting Colorado adventure run.  I got up early again, which was very good because I was doing the Manitou Incline.  It is an old cog railway up the side of the mountain, near Colorado Springs.  I knew it would be packed too.

I started early and it still was crazy hot by the end.  I was sweating a lot and used most of my water.  I wore shorts and short sleeves of course.

Because I knew parking would be crazy, I started in town.  The plan was to use that as a warmup.  The road running was boring and it had a bit of uphill too.  It got my lungs going.  I began to actually walk near the trailhead.

This trail is just crazy.  You can see a lot of the way up and straight up it is.  It is nearly 2,000 feet of gain in not much over a mile.  It is quite the challenge.  In the beginning, the wooden steps seemed too high and difficult to go up.

I continued up.  For the most part, I was passing people.  It was steep and tough for sure.  However, I've been on steeper stuff or at least as steep as some of the worst parks.  I've never been on something so steep for so long though.

What I thought would really get me would be the elevation, but I guess I've now adapted.  My breathing was labored, but not nearly as bad as most people.  I passed one black guy that was struggling.

I was in no rush myself, so I tried to be smart.  I rested every so often to recover.  I saw a big boulder way up and I focused on getting to it.  It seemed to take forever.  I didn't look up much, but when I did it was crazy.  People were so much higher than me.  It did help to look back too and see my progress.

The legs were burning a little early, but adapted.  The elevation didn't bother me.  The heat and the sun beating down on me were the one thing getting to me.  I didn't really get passed, but I did pass this one woman who eventually passed me back.

Some very old guy came down at one point.  I think he said he did it several thousand times.  That was awesome.  I got to the rock and achieved one goal, but still had a long trip up.  At one point I joked, "are we doing this a second time?"  No one around me laughed.

I had heard about a false summit, so I was worried as I neared the top.  I thought maybe there was more top.  However, when were finally near the top, another guy egged me on to run up it with him.  We had hiked a lot of the way together, so I ran up with him.

I rested briefly and took in the view.  Now, it was time to run down the Barr Trail.  This is a singletrack on the side of the incline.  It keeps going up to Pikes Peak.  Some hikers were on it.  I was running down it though.

It was a pretty trail.  There were a lot of flowers along it.  I enjoyed it for a bit.  However, it was just too gradual.  It switchbacked a ton and seemed like it was never going down.  I passed a guy running with his dog and a lot of hikers.  Somehow I missed an obvious turn at one point and went nowhere.

Eventually, I was back on trail.  I continued to cruise down.  These miles seemed to go on and on.  I was happy when I finally made it down.  The sun was blazing now.

I ran back through town.  I said "hi" to everyone coming up.  I was glad to be nearly done.  I stopped at my car pretty tired.  I did recover on the downhill, so if it wasn't so hot, I could've done it a second time.

I've enjoyed all the unique adventures in Colorado.  It was a fun trip for sure.  Now, I'll be back to running in good, old Pennsylvania.  At least I got to explore more trails, ones I may never see again.

6.55 miles - 1:48:29 (16:33 pace) 2213 feet of elevation gain

Great Sand Dunes NP Run - June 18th

One thing I didn't do on this trip was come up with dull runs..  I didn't run in Telluride.  However, I now was going to run at Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It is a park with the largest sand dunes in the United States.  I've certainly never run on sand dunes before.

Again, I was up super early.  That was good, as I knew the dunes would get hot.  They weren't bad, but I was out there longer than I thought I'd be.  Shorts and short sleeves worked.  I was just lacking water a bit.

I decided to just run straight through the creek with my shoes on.  I began running up the dunes, knowing it wouldn't last.  It was so hard and there was so much resistance.  I began hiking and even that was a challenge.

Eventually, I learned that it was easiest to follow others footprints.  It was early, but plenty of people were already on the dunes.  A young girl led me for a bit, before her parents called her back.

I got to a fairly high dune.  A group of guys were there.  Then, I looked at the path and made my way toward the highest dune I could see.  It was fun trying to find the best route.  Luckily, some others already made that route.

The scenery of the dunes was amazing.  It was like something out of a movie.  These women were at the high dune.  It seemed so far away.  They were my target.

It took some time, but I made it to them.  I told them I had focused on them from way down.  They were super nice and opted to take my picture.  I told them I'd stick with the scenery.  Then, one pointed out a higher dune in the distance.

I didn't plan to go any farther, but I was up for the challenge.  I headed off for it.  This part became very interesting and fun.  No one had gone past this point on the day yet.  I was an explorer of sorts, making my own tracks.

I tried to read the dunes.  I was hoping not to lose much elevation.  I wanted to stay on the ridges.  This did work for a bit, but I was getting nowhere.  I was zigzagging and not getting any closer.

My shoes were started to get full of sand and I'd have to take them off and empty them.  I did this steep climb where I was basically climbing.  I could look back and see people watching me.  They probably thought I was stupid and were probably laughing.  I sort of was laughing at myself anyway.  Some of the freshly blown sand was quite deep.

Finally after the climb, I bailed on the route and opted to head back down.  The sand was soft in spots and so compact in others than you could run on it like pavement.  Still, I couldn't run as much as I thought I would going down.  It was often too loose or too steep.

I thought getting down would be easy.  It was crazy though.  I was so far out.  I tried to aim for the best and smoothest route.  I would often fail though.  I'd get to a dune that seemed high and think it was the end.  Then when I arrived, there would be at least 5 more rows of dunes.  This seemed to repeat itself.

Following animal tracks didn't help much.  I could see the creek, the beach and the mountains.  I knew I'd never get lost, but it seemed like a never ending maze to leave the dunes.  By now, I couldn't see the other people either.

I took my shoes off after awhile.  They had too much sand.  I ran barefoot, where I could run.  It was mostly fast downhill hiking.  I was running low on water.

I was so thrilled when I did finally make it to the creek and compact sand.  I still couldn't run a lot.  The main beach and parking area were still far off.  I went and went and eventually got back to the people.

I saw a cute ranger coming up.  I made sure to tell her about my adventure.  Part of my reasoning is so the people watching me, didn't call search and rescue when I disappeared from their sight.

This was one of the most fun runs ever.  It was so different.  I enjoyed trying to navigate on my own.  I did fail, but I wanted to be smart.  I could've simply took a direct line to the highest dune, but that would've been a lot of work.

I'm heading to Colorado Springs before the trip is over.  The plan is to run Manitou's Incline.  It is a crazy steep climb up and old railway.  It should be another adventure.  It will be packed too.

5 miles - 2:01:06 (24:13 pace) 729 feet of elevation gain

Ouray Perimeter Trail Run - June 15th

I'm now in the San Juan Mountains.  I hope to do an awesome backcountry hike.  For now, I'm sticking to running near town.  I stayed in a hotel in Ouray last night.  It is an amazing box canyon, surrounded by mountains.  It might be my favorite town so far.

I wore shorts and short sleeves.  It can get a little hot, but I'm loving the weather.  There is definitely little humidity.

I started off from the visitor's center.  The plan was to follow the loop around town.  The signs should be good.  I signed the register and began my run.  It did not take long to realize how brutal this run would be.  There was lots of early climbing and my breathing was labored, even as I hiked up.

One good thing I've learned at higher elevations is the first mile can be a struggle.  I can feel lightheaded.  It often passes though, especially if I drink enough water.  That was beneficial to know as it was a tough start.

It wasn't long into the run that I was on a ridge overlooking the town.  It was simply stunning and the trail was fun.  I was heading toward Cascade Falls.  I saw them just before dark yesterday.  Today, they were cool from above.

After the falls, I saw a few hikers.  I then dipped down and back up again.  This was some fun singletrack.  It was still challenging though, as I was gaining a lot.  I drank more.  I passed some hikers in a narrow spot.

A bit later, I was on the southern end of town.  This had probably the best 360 mountain views of the road.  It was an open area.  I guess it was the Potato Patch.  I'm not sure.

After that, I had to cross Route 550, the way into town.  There were some nice views of town in this area too.  I followed the trail signs, but became worried when I was on what looked like a jeep road.

This section was the least fun.  It was woods type roads around a power plant.  I didn't enjoy it at all.  I was thrilled though to see a sign showing I was going the correct way.

It took awhile, but eventually I was on a bridge.  It overlooks Box Canyon Falls and a lot of people were hiking there.  Then, I was surprised by one of the coolest parts of the run.  I had to go through a narrow, short tunnel.  It went through rock and I'm not sure it was 6 feet high.  I had to duck a bit to be comfortable.

After this, I was back on a road type area.  I continued to follow this tough switchback.  Then, I was back on trail, but still going up.  This was quite the climb and I was beat.  I was low on water too.  The run seemed farther than advertised.

These views from here were higher than others.  They were the best views of the city for sure.  Then, the trail switchbacked some more.  A bridge went over another waterfall.

I continued to be blown away by the run.  So much to see in such a short loop.  As far as town runs go, this would be hard to beat.

Eventually, I came down.  I wasn't quite sure where to go.  I think the correct way was into an RV park and then cross the creek.  However, I wasn't sure you could cross down that way.  I crossed on a road right in front of me.  I think either way was roads to the finish.

I was done after a tough 6 miles.  This was a fun and challenging run for sure.  I'm so glad I did it.  It was a great way to see Ouray.

I'll likely hike next, but I could run in Telluride.  I would like to, but I'm not sure on the logistics yet.  Time will tell what I'll decide.  I will be in Telluride.  Whether I run or not is the question.

6.64 miles - 1:55:41 (17:25 pace) 2597 feet of elevation gain

Delicate Arch - Arches National Park - June 13th

I made a lot of progress driving on Sunday.  I am now all the way out in Moab, Utah.  I'm add Arches National Park.  This was a run I was looking forward to as much as any on the trip.  I've never run on slickrock before.

I wore shorts and short sleeves.  Everything ending up being good.  I was a little worried, because it was windy and looked like a storm when I started.

A storm woke me up super early.  That was good though, as I beat the crowds to the park.  I counted over 100 cars waiting to enter as I was leaving.  It was crazy.  When I arrived I went straight to the Delicate Arch parking lot.  I wanted to run before the crowds.  There were already about 15 cars there.

The trail is a little normal to start.  It's beautiful orange slickrock and canyons all around.  It is definitely nothing like I've ever seen before.  I was enjoying the run very early on.  I knew it was almost all uphill on the way out.

I passed people but there was plenty of room.  It was cool to get to the slickrock.  I ran some, but mostly hiked as it was uphill.  There were rock cairns to point the way.  I nearly missed a turn once.

I cruised along, running where I could.  I passed plenty of hikers.  Then, I was running along a cool ledge.  The slickrock was so fun to run on and jump around.  It was gorgeous too.

After the ridge, I came Delicate Arch.  It is the symbol of Utah and just stunning.  It is a huge arch.  Of course I didn't have it to myself, but it was still great.

I didn't have many miles run, so I decided to go off trail and run some of the nearby slickrock.  That was crazy fun.  It was up and down and around.  I could run there all day.  I could still see where I was at too.  A family must've seen me, as they hiked toward me.  I told them I was just messing around and I pointed them the right way.

I knew running back would be awesome and it was.  I was cruising downhill, jumping and leaping where I could.  It was getting crowded coming up.  I was booking and almost out of control.

Then, it happened.  I had jumped plenty here, but this time, I jumped from too high.  I landed on my left heel.  It was searing pain.  I bruised my foot pretty badly.  It didn't seem broken, but I wasn't sure.

I hobbled back in.  I still ran, but ran funny.  I hoped I didn't ruin my trip.  It was good to be done and take my shoe off.  I had a nice bruise already.

I struggled walking around the other arches.  I hope this doesn't slow my trip too much.  I am planning some easy stuff for a bit, so that should help.

I'm not sure when I'll run again.  It will likely be somewhere in the San Juans.  I'm looking forward to those mountains more than any other part of the trip.  They should be amazing.

3.9 miles - 51:00 (13:04 pace) 608 feet of elevation gain

Twin Lakes Colorado Run - June 11th

I am now in the mountains.  I just went through Leadville in the morning.  It is an awesome town, part upscale, part rugged.  I could definitely live there.  The higher peaks like Mount Elbert still have a good amount of snow.

I found an awesome free camping spot near Twin Lakes, south of Leadville.  It is below Mount Elbert, but above the beautiful lakes.  I set up camp and eventually got around to an afternoon run.

I wore short and short sleeves.  The weather was decent.  It looked like it might storm again on this trip, but I wasn't planning to go high.  I could bail when I wanted.

I didn't have a good trail map, but it looked like the trail went around the lakes.  I had found an old mining area and trailhead.  I followed the trail out.  I was above the lake slightly and it was a stunning view of the snow capped mountains.

I followed what I thought would be the trail around the lake.  I guess it was just a trail to nowhere, to take photos.  I was sort of on a beach type terrain after that.  I just kept running, but realized the trail was gone.

This was tough running and it was sandy and kind of muddy.  I didn't want to ruin any plants, but I didn't want to turn back either.  I picked my way around some little streams.  I tried to follow what I thought was a trail out, but it wasn't.

Eventually, I headed back toward the beachy area.  I could see people fishing off in the distance.  I knew they had to drive there, so I worked my way over.  Eventually, I got there and got some funny looks.

I ran back to the trailhead on the road.  I had not gone very far, so I decided to run on the road a bit and see if I could find the trail around the lake.  I went out a bit, but never had any luck with that.

I'm getting a bit used to the elevation now.  I felt okay at over 9,000 feet.  It also certainly helped that I wasn't running up a mountain at all.  This run was relatively flat.

Eventually, I made it back to the trailhead.  This was a very short run.  It was frustrating, but at least the backdrop of the mountains was still stunning.

I'd like to hike Mount Elbert tomorrow.  We will see, as it has so much snow and I think has a lot of gain to it.  I could run or hike in Maroon Bells, but I might bypass that.  I'd love to run at Hannging Lake if it isn't too crowded when I get there.

3.56 miles - 47:23 (13:19 pace) 169 feet of elevation gain

Cub Lake (RMNP) Run - June 8th

I am in and around Rocky Mountain National Park for the next few days.  I stopped to pick up a backpacking permit and asked for the ranger to suggest a run.  Cub Lake was a relatively easy one.  I'm still worried about the elevation.

It was tough to even find parking, on a weekday morning.  The lot was full, but I realized I could park along the road.  I did that and was off.  The trail first crosses over a bridge.  The stream is stunning.  Some guys were fly fishing and Long's Peak was in the background.  It was a perfect Rocky Mountain moment.

The weather was pretty nice, but of course I was hot.  I had on shorts and short sleeves.  I wore my vest to hydrate.

The trail was neat.  It is in the woods, but right along the edge of the meadow.  You can often see animals in there.  I saw some mule deer I think.  I ran along nice and easy.  It started off quite flat.

I did have to pass people from time to time.  The trail wasn't too overcrowded though.  It is also wide enough in most spots for at least two people.

I did tire as I got out farther.  There were some technical parts, but compared to back home, it is smooth.  I cruised along.  I had to slow some when it gradually gained elevation.  I also struggled a little with the elevation I was at.

Toward the lake, it got steeper and I just hiked.  It was great to get to the lake.  The lake wasn't the prettiest, as it was covered with plants.  However, there was a decent view of the mountain.  I found a nice rock to sit on briefly and take it all in.  I ate a Clif Bar too.

After a bit, I turned to head back.  I made note on my watch and let hikers know how far they were from the lake.  They appreciated it.  This area seems to have been hit by a wildfire.

Going back was downhill at first and then flat.  I was able to run most of the way.  It was fun in this direction.  It was getting later in the morning and a bit hot.  I passed a lot of the people I saw earlier.

Eventually, I came out to the trailhead and was done.  It was a nice, solid run and just what I was looking for.  It was pretty easy with some decent scenery.  I hope to see more later on during my travels.

I even ate lunch on a picnic table near my car.  Long's Peak was in the background.  I'm not sure when I'll run again.  I'm backpacking in RMNP first.  I'll probably run somewhere in the Leadville area.  On to the mountains.

5.1 miles - 1:14:36 (14:38 pace) 699 feet of elevation gain

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Saturday)

I'm heading out to Colorado for several weeks.  Should be plenty of good running and hiking in the mountains and many other unique places.  On the way out, I decided to go to another National Park and run.  I went to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.  I've been nearby and never even realized it existed.  Of course, that was before I was a trail runner too.

I wasn't sure how to dress.  It was raining off and on early in the morning.  I went with a shell and that was a bit much.  It was so humid.  I survived this short run though.

I'm not really sure why this is a National Park.  I guess it has a lot of history.  The canal used to run through there and is now a towpath.  They have a historic town, Boston Mills.  It is a neat area, even if not amazing.

I wanted to try to get some waterfalls.  Really, I just wanted some different trail running.  I wanted it short too.  A bunch of people were running the towpath, including a few with a lot of effort.  Road runners no doubt.  I took it easy.

I tried to find the trail off of the towpath.  It took some time until I had some luck.  It looked like they started behind this old house.  I was unsure if that was a park building or not.  I followed what I thought was a trail.  It had streamers.  It turns out it wasn't the correct trail.  Maybe this was from the 100 miler that goes through the area.

I turned and headed back.  I went down and old road past the house.  Finally, I realized that this wasn't it either.  I looked at the house more carefully and saw it was part of the park.

I went behind the house and found the trail.  At first, it was an open field.  It had a few camping spots.  I cruised along in the muggy conditions.  Then, it was on to the woods.

This part was beautiful.  It was smooth and beautiful.  These are some nice woods.  The trail was super easy, but I hiked a lot anyway.  I did a bit of a climb.  I followed the trail as it snaked around.

I decided when I was on the ridge that I wouldn't go downhill.  I didn't have enough time for the falls, so I went toward a pond.  I decided to turn before getting to it too.  I headed back.

Now, I knew where I was going.  Coming back was uneventful.  I got back drenched in sweat.  I was happy to be done though.  I got my National Parks Passport book stamped.

This park was nice.  It wasn't worth the drive out there, but it is a nice side trip.  Now, it is on to the big mountains of Colorado.  I hope I can run a bunch, but I have to be careful when it comes to elevation.

4.41 miles - 53:16 (12:05 pace) 235 feet of elevation gain

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Promised Land Loop

It has been HOT and HUMID all week.  No surprise then that I haven't run.  I decided I should get out there before leaving for Colorado.  I want to go to the Catskills, but couldn't muster the energy to drive there.  I looked at new places, but all were too far.  I decided on a place I've been to, but not often, Promised Land State Park

It was a little hot, but much better up in the Poconos.  I didn't have any chafing cream and wound up not needing it.  My shorts and sleeveless shirt were wet by the end, but that was expected.  At least they have a beach there, where I dipped my legs afterward.

I parked in the main lot, as I've done before.  I decided that I want to run across the road.  I wasn't thinking of much more than 3 miles at this point.  I got a bit lost coming up to the place too.

I started off by crossing the road.  I was looking for the Bear Pen Hollow Trail.  The first trail was all stone.  That was frustrating.  I then found the Bear Pen Hollow Trail.  That had some cool parts, like an evergreen section.

However, most of this trail sucked, like many of the trails I've been on.  It was a doubletrack, made for snowmobiling.  The grass was quite high and I worried about ticks.  I continued along.

I then turned off to the Lower Lake Trail.  This said it went through the Rhododendron Area.  I thought they might be in bloom.  More accurate would be the Fern Area.  I kept wondering when I'd see any.

I eventually just came to the road and camping around.  Turns out when I looked at the map, I was looking at a no hunting area.  The Rhododendron Area was merely a name of the campground.  I passed a few more campgrounds on the paved road.  I had to suddenly go to the bathroom bad.  Luckily, I had run by one a minute earlier.  I turned and headed back.

After a brief stop, it was back on the pavement.  After going around the lake, I got to the Village Trail.  By now, I was at mile 4 or so.  I took this trail for a bit.  This was another hot and boring woods road.

I then turned on to the Bald Eagle Trail.  This was more of the same.  When I looked off into the woods, it looked pretty.  However, I was following, wide, flat grass.  At least it was fast.

I got to the road and crossed over.  There was a Rhododendron Trail now.  I thought maybe I'd have more luck seeing the plants there.  It was just more ferns though.  Of course it was more tall grass and woods road too.  I continued to be disappointed.  I wanted some singletrack.

At least I got done kind of quickly.  I think I pulled a tick off of me at one point.  I finally came to a little bridge and then was back at my car.  I was done with 6 miles.

It wasn't a good day, but I was done.  It was more frustrating trails at this part.  It is a shame because the park is really nice.  I just wish it had singletrack.  I doubt I'll ever come back here.

Tomorrow, I may or may not run.  I'd like to get to the Catskills, but I doubt it.  More likely if I do run, it will be in Jim Thorpe.  Not sure if I'll run on Saturday, but I plan on leaving for Colorado then.

6.18 miles - 1:12:14 (11:41 pace) 204 feet of elevation gain