Thursday, July 21, 2016

Frustrating Hickory Run Run

I haven't run since my trip to Ithaca.  It has been unbearably hot and humid.  It did cool down over the last few days.  My dad and I were camping at Hickory Run State Park, so I opted for a run there.

It was nice and I had shorts and a sleeveless shirt on.  That said, I was still sweating a bit in the afternoon.  I'd take this weather all summer for sure though.

I've run a lot of this park and haven't been too crazy about it.  There wasn't much cool singletrack.  That seems to be an issue for a lot of Pocono State Parks.  I decided I would try the northern end of the park.

Since my dad was there, I had him drop me off at the boulder field.  I'd then run about 10 miles back to the trailhead he was going to hike from.  That would give me something new.

Earlier in the day, I took my hammock and relaxed out on the Boulder Field.  It is quite long and very rocky obviously.  I couldn't run on it, but I moved very fast.  It took me like 8 minutes and 40 seconds to complete.

I followed what looked like a trail from it.  However, it lead to a fire ring.  I didn't quite go out far enough.  Luckily, this was an evergreen forest with no understory.  Therefore, I bushwhack my way through to the trail.  For a short bit, I was thinking I may have to backtrack.

I did come to the trail though and then started going left.  After a bit, I realized I was just looping back to the parking area of the boulder field, not going the way I wanted.  I turned back around.

This park of the Stone Trail had been boring.  It was a wide doubletrack, mostly used by snowmobiles in the winter I guess.  I got to a turn and things got much worse.  It became singletrack, but was crazy overgrown.

Some of the bushes were waist high.  I could hardly find the trail.  I mostly hiked through this part.  I became so frustrating and was yelling frequently.  This might've been a nice trail if maintained or used, but it was overgrown now.

It seemed like forever, but eventually I came to the the end of the Stone Trail.  I came out to what looked like another snowmobile trail.  This was the Fourth Run Trail.  It is almost 5 miles long.

I had a decision to make.  I could take the dirt and paved roads back to the car or try to go through this trail.  Since most trails here have disappointed me, I figured this one likely would too.  It did cross a stream several times, but who knows if anyone uses it.  I didn't want to find out they don't have to turn around after several miles.

I opted for the road, even though I didn't like that idea.  At least I knew where I was going.  It was now a dirt road.  Cars were on this though.  Most were careful, but the first one came flying by.  I crossed under the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike.  That was cool.

Around 3 miles, I got back to pavement.  I was about 7 miles into the run or so.  I followed the pavement out to the Daddy Allen group camp and another camp.  No one was there and I had this paved road to myself.  I kept checking the map.

Although this was road, it actually turned out to be the coolest part of the run.  The road went along Hickory Run, which was a beautiful waterway.  It was surrounded by blooming Mountain Laurel.  There were some cool rocks too.  It has some hills, but mostly was downhill.

After a slow start, hiking a lot, I was now running a lot.  I was making up time at least.  The first 4 miles had taken me over an hour.  Now, I was coming closer to being on pace to actually finish the run in 2 hours.

There were a bunch of cool rock waterfalls.  Then, there was an old chapel right by the main road through the park.  I headed north on that.  I figured it was uphill and it was.

I thought about taking one of the trails across the road.  I was unsure their condition though.  I played it safe and went with the road.  This was only 2 miles or so, but it seemed to take forever.  I ran some and hiked some.

I used the contours on the map to figure out where I was.  I was happy when I saw I was going uphill near the highest point.  Then, it was mostly downhill to the trailhead.

My dad was on a chair reading.  He was surprised that I was running on the road.  The trail across the street looked overgrown too.  It was probably good choice to stay off the trails.  Road running was very frustrating, but at least I got some miles in.

I'm not sure when I'll run again.  I'm working all of the next three days.  I'm off much more next week.  If it isn't too hot, I'll try to get out.  I'd love a 15-20 miler somewhere.  I need some climbing too.

10.03 miles - 2:04:00 (12:22 pace) 472 feet of elevation gain

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