I had a nice long run from Lincoln Woods on Friday. The plan was to do a nice "lollipop" loop that I used to do frequently. It involves running down the flat fast old railroad bed of Lincoln Woods Trail, turning left onto Franconia Brook Trail, then left onto Lincoln Brook Trail with it's more rugged terrain and 4 major water crossings.
On Friday, the water was high and I had some trouble negotiating the crossings, especially the first one. There are ways around these crossings, but I hate to cheat. I was able to do my famous chimpanzee walk on all fours across the shallowest area of rapids. This way I never have more than one appendage off the rocks and brook bottom at any one time. If you're going to do something like this alone, you have to play it safe, even if it means getting wet with ice cold snow melt from the mountains.
At the end of this trail, at Thirteen Falls Tent Site I normally turn right onto the nice smooth and runnable Franconia Brook trail, completing the loop and then returning on Lincoln Woods Trail to complete the run. I have done this run more times than I can count. The last time was about two years ago. Well, Friday I found that the far end of Lincoln Brook Trail is more or less non-existent now. Hikers like a destination and want to get there as quick as they can. The only destination out on this loop is Owls Head. So Lincoln Brook Trail now ends at Owls Head, about half way through the trail. It becomes a bush whack from there. It's true, the far end of Lincoln brook Trail is the long way to nowhere. Only a trail runner or a mountain biker would be interested in running on a trail that went somewhere you could go easier on other trails.
I was disappointed, but after I struggled for about a mile past Owls Head, I had to admit that I'd be better off running back the way I had come...complete with water crossings. I enjoyed the return trip and it went fast. I even had enough energy to take a side trip to Franconia Falls. This is best avoided in the summer, the rocks are normally covered with ugly people in swim suits and you can smell the sunscreen from a mile away. But this time of year it is safe. I lounged on the rocks (no swim suit or sunscreen for me) and soaked my feet. Then I finished the last quick 3 miles back to Lincoln Woods.