Friday, April 22, 2011

Sawyer Mountain Times Three

Yesterday I ran from Rte 117 in Limington up the old washed out road to the top of Sawyer Mountain. This trail starts at about 100 feet of elevation and climbs to 1200 feet in about 1.7 miles. The trail itself is covered with rolling loose rocks with water running straight down the road. Not ideal for running, but I was tired and wanted to go slow anyway so I figured it would be OK. The wind was ferocious and I got very cold, especially my hands. My feet got soaked early on, so they felt pretty cold, too. At the summit, I paused to enjoy the view. There is a new sign on a pile of rocks that says a stone monument with a whale oil lantern used to stand there to help boats navigate in the Portland Harbor. This is fascinating because Portland Harbor is about 30 or 35 miles from there! From the summit, the harbor was just a faint flat smudge of gray on the eastern horizon. It's hard to imagine a whale oil lantern could burn where I stood and be seen from that harbor.

Using the vague topographical map I had picked up at the trail head, I found my way down the backside of the mountain using the new single track. This was very nice running. I explored the old dirt roads down at the base for a few miles out and back and then climbed back up to the summit on the same single track.

Then i ran back down the backside of the trail again, but used the old Sawyer Mountain Road this time. This road is just as bad as the one I came up to begin with. At the bottom I turned right around and climbed back up again to make three trips to the top on three different trails. I stopped to check out an old burial ground on the way back down to my car. It was kind of creepy with the darkening sky and the howling wind. A branch cracked in the wind and I jumped about a mile. I'm usually not so easily spooked, but the atmosphere was kind of eerie at the time. Thanks to my heebie-jeebies the rest of the trip down went very fast!

It was about twelve miles of good hill work in about 2:15.

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