This morning I drove out to Effingham, NH with the vague notion that I could find a link between two of my favorite running trail systems and put together a route for some sort of epic journey for later in the summer. After a little driving around aimlessly, I eventually found the trail head for the Fire Warden's Trail up Green Mountain. Until today, I had only been to this trail head by coming over the mountain on foot. I parked and ran 30 minutes on old unmaintained roads and trails and confirmed that I could connect my "Hobbs Swamp Run" with my "Green Mountain Run". The pleasant surprise is that there is only about 1/2 mile of pavement between the two. Oh joy! I'll have to map it out to see how long of an adventure this will be. Most of these roads and trails aren't on maps, so there is a little guess work involved.
I ran back to my car and checked my watch. I had run for almost an hour at a relaxed effort. My plan for today had been 45 minutes of running followed by an uphill walk. So I immediately set off for a brisk hike up Green Mountain. It was getting cooler, cloudier and windier as the morning passed. So it was good incentive to walk FAST! I started 1/2 mile down the road from the trail head, so I walked 2 miles for about 1400 feet of elevation gain in 29:44. This trail is rocky, but not bad footing for hiking. I was trying to break 30 minutes, you should have seen me checking my watch and restraining myself from breaking into a run near the top as the seconds ticked closer and closer to 30 minutes. My walk was getting pretty close to a run as my time ran out and I was doing a good impersonation of Groucho Marx by the end. I realize how silly it would have looked if anyone else had been there. Thank goodness I was alone. Hopefully the fire warden wasn't watching from the tower.
Then, because I am finally feeling a little less stiff and tired, I let myself fly down the hill at gravity's mercy. 2 miles back to the car in just under 16 minutes with my heart rate never going over 126. Good old gravity. BJ would have been faster. I have him beat on the ups, but for some reason he can really move on the downhills. It always looks like his feet are going to go out from under him at any moment and he will go into a wild somersaulting death descent, but it never happens. I'm going to keep practicing on the sly, so someday I will be able to beat him going up AND coming down. I have a bit of an evil streak.