Thursday, February 5, 2009

It Could Have Been So Awesome

It's critical in a recovery plan to make your first run back smooth and easy—just get the blood flowing. But, I'm an idiot, so instead...

In my travels to and from my place of employment, I find myself on Route 2 in western Maine quite often. Yesterday afternoon was no exception. And, yesterday afternoon, I decided that it was time to get a run in—my first run in my recovery plan. I was still feeling mentally scarred from Sunday's body and soul crushing road miles, so I really wanted to hit the trails. So, on my way home, I drove past my usual running destination, North Road in Shelburne, and headed for Evans Notch. Route 113 through Evans Notch is closed in the winter, or as the sign says "This Road Not Maintained for Winter Travel," but it is a major snowmobile route. Because of this I knew that it would be not only well-packed but also beautiful.

I turned off the logging truck highway that is Route 2 and headed south on 113 towards the point where it is closed and gated. Then I started seeing the signs: "Road Work Ahead," "Road Work 1000 Feet," "Bridge Closed." Hmmmmmm...I wonder exactly what "Bridge Closed" means. The construction site was actually past the road gate, where I parked, so I started running down the plowed road behind the gate. The construction site quickly came into view, and I learned that "Bridge Closed" actually means "Bridge Gone." I wove through a maze of trucks, yellow steel and rock piles and found a rickety foot bridge over the stream. Finally, onto the well packed snowmobile trail. Not so much.

Since the bridge had been dismantled by Maine DOT, the snowmobile-types couldn't access the trail from this end. There was, however, a single track that has been made the dogsledding outfit that runs trips in Evans Notch. Needless to say, teams of 12 dogs, a musher and a sled, don't exactly pack things down as completely or evenly as snowmobiles. And, dogs pee more. So, my recovery run wasn't really easy or smooth, but it was beautiful. Route 113 follows the Wild River and the late-afternoon light was stunning. I ran until I reached the Hastings Campground and checked out the footbridge over the Wild River. One of the snowmobile trail signs indicated that it was 2 miles back to the road gate, but there's no way it was that far—1.75 miles at most, but I'm calling the run 3 miles: 35:35 total time. I really wasn't looking forward to the run back because it was so uneven. I almost fell a couple times. So, unfortunately, without the consistent snowmobile traffic, I can't recommend running from the Gilead end of 113 without snowshoes. Even with shoes, I think the inconsistency of the dog-made track would be rough. However, this would make a kick-ass run next winter—assuming the bridge is fixed. So, instead of being awesome yesterday, it was just potentially awesome. (I also need to look at the surrounding trails for the non-snow seasons.)

As far as the recovery part, I felt pretty much OK. I was certainly tight all over, including my arms. My hamstrings are kind of bad. I need to really focus on these over the next two weeks or so. That's how long I'm thinking it will take for these to work themselves out.


Anonymous said...

You should check out the Highwater Trail from the supsension bridge in the spring. I ran it this fall and it was pretty nice.

middle.professor said...

I've always wanted to ski 113. That bridge was out last spring (2 years ago?) due to the same storm that broke the dam from the retention pond at the base of Sunday River by Barker Lodge. It was a pain. We were camping at Hastings and coming in from Hanover (just E. of Bethel) but had to drive all the way down to Fryeburg and then up. Turned a 30 minute drive into something like 2.5 hours! But 113 is beautiful and it would be great to do a road trip there soon. What about coming in from Fryeburg - isn't there snowmobile traffic at that end?

sn0m8n said...

Kev - Highwater Trail in the spring? Hmmm, sounds dangerous...but awesome.

Jeff - The trail, i.e. the road, headed south was well traveled and well packed. I wished I was going further. That short northern piece of road that I ran must just be an access trail. According to the signs on/near the suspension bridge at my turnaround point, that trail is NH Route 19, even though I was in Maine. Had I gone across the bridge, I would have come out on Route 2 near the state line, 19N. I'm sure that heading south through the Notch, you could access a lot more. Wish I had a snowmobile map.