Monday, May 12, 2008

Camden Hills State Park

Yesterday, D and I headed up to Camden Hills State Park for a long run. We've hiked in the park a number of times, and we had wanted to run there for quite some time. For obvious reasons, it hadn't quite come together yet, but yesterday it all worked out. Camden Hills offers a good mix of dirt roads, mellow trails and serious hiking trails that make it a great place for a long run, and we hit each of those three categories yesterday. Our plan was to go for a run, but we knew that due to the steepness of the trails and the roughness of the terrain that we would also be hiking in places. Overall, we probably ran about 80% of the trails.

We started on the Snowmobile trail at the north end of the park, which is really a dirt road. It's mostly uphill as it reaches into the heart of the park, but it was a relatively mellow way to start out. After a short downhill section, we hit the Slope Trail, which climbs about 800 feet in 1.5 miles to the summit of Mt. Megunticook. This was by far the steepest section of trail we encountered, and it was where we did most of out hiking. There was a brief reprieve in the middle, where the trail traversed the slope, allowing us to run, but it was only a couple hundreds yards long. The rest was all up, up, up. When we hit the summit, we headed left toward Ocean Outlook, which is about a 1/2 mile to the east of the summit of Megunticook and offers great views. From here we headed down from Ocean Outlook to the Jack Williams Trail, which traverse beneath the leadge of Mt. Megunticook. This trail was fairly flat and made for great running. Not great running in the sense it was a flat road, but that would have been boring. It was a fairly rugged trail, and trail running is where it's at. We eventually junctioned with Ridge Trail, which was rough, rooty and fairly steep. It was definitely tough going at this point in the run as we had been out for about 1:30. After the Ridge Trail, things mellowed out quite a bit on Zeke's Trail, which was flat to downhill and grassy. Very smooth. Next, we headed left on the Sky Blue Trail, which was out favorite of the run. It's only about 1.5 miles long, but worth the trip alone. There's nothing stunning about it, but it's a great trail for running. Because of it's location in the park, it seems to get less use than many of the other trails, but it's not to be missed. We finished up back on the Snowmobile Trail for the downhill cruise back to the car. Well, there really wasn't much cruising at this point, since we were both pretty tired.

We ended up running/hiking for 2:13:00, a total of 11 miles. That works out to just over 12:00 per mile, which is pretty solid for the terrain. Definitely a long time to be out there. That being said, it was a good training run, and a confidence booster heading towards the Pineland Farms 25k of Death. Here are the rest of the photos.

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