I was feeling happy this morning and when I'm happy I take to the woods! Late this morning I tucked my Stabilicers under my arm and ran about 3/4 of a mile down the road to the Osippee River Snowmobile Trails. The snowmobile trails are hard packed and icy in spots but my Stabilicers kept me on my feet! The pair I own are probably 20 years old. I'm not kidding. They are the heavy, full soled, Velcro fastened originals. I think they easily have another ten years of use left in them!
I ran all the way to Apple Acres on trails and then crossed Durgintown Road and continued toward the Hiram Hills. I tried to make this into a loop run during the Fall but the trail across Durgintown Road was wet and overgrown without snow cover. Today it was perfect running! I made my way up to Tower Hill and then over to Peaked Mountain. There is a tall cinder block chimney at the top of Peaked that I found puzzling. Just past the chimney there is a great view of Cornish and South Hiram, where I had been running earlier.
So far things were looking good for a loop. But I knew I needed to start turning West and then South if I wanted to end up somewhere near home. But the trail did what it wanted, and kept sending me East toward Hiram Village. Just as I was beginning to think I would have to return the same way I had come I came to a 4-way trail intersection, complete with those little orange signs with handwritten directions in Sharpie Marker. The signs said cryptic things like "Oak Hill" and "Barne's" and "Unicell works here" and not anything useful like "Kezar Falls" or "Porter." A sign pointing back the way I had come told me I had travelled 13 miles from the schools. If it was true I was making good time, about 10:30 pace which is awesome on these hilly snow covered trails. I went with my gut instinct and veered off to my left.
After many more hilly icy miles I came out on a private dirt road with a road sign that said "Husky Haven." I knew where I was! Things were looking good, I was headed home! The trail went back into the woods. The loop ALMOST turned out perfectly, but I made an error in judgement at the last intersection I came to and was spit out onto pavement three miles from home. If I had chosen the other direction I believe I would have come out about a half mile from home. Anyway, those last three miles were the only ones where I wasn't feeling great. I was out of food and water and was bonking bad. I told myself that if someone I knew drove by I would flag them down and take a ride home. I was really feeling light-headed and hungry! Not a single car passed by.
I passed a co-workers home and thought I should stop and ask to use the phone to call for a ride home. True, I hardly knew the co-worker and she was at work anyway. But I knew her husband was retired and probably home. I pictured myself knocking on the door and saying, "Hi I know your wife...sort of. See, I just ran through the woods for 4 hours and I'm exhausted. Can I use your phone? And do you have anything to eat? Like a donut or a piece of birthday cake? Maybe a can of coke? A Snickers bar or some jelly beans? Candy Corn, fudge, brownies or ice cream? A tablespoon of sugar even?" I amused myself with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head all the rest of the way home. I normally don't eat that kind of stuff, but it sure seemed tempting to me at the time. When I got home I had an orange, a skim milk based recovery drink, oatmeal with raisins and nuts, and some bread. Ahhhhhh, it was good.
It looks like about 25 miles according to snowmobile maps. But they really aren't very accurate at all. I ran 4 hours and 32 minutes. The last three road miles in my famished state were by far the slowest of the day. What a great loop! I'll try to do it again next week and remember to bring more calories with me!