Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle and Running the Green Hills Preserve

I got back on the mountain bike this past weekend! It has taken this long just to get to this point where I can lift my left arm high enough to keep it on the handlebars comfortably. We started out by cautiously cruising the streets of Kezar Falls on Saturday. Then on Sunday we took the bikes and Scout out on the ATV trails in Parsonsfield. This isn't the same as riding single track, but the ATV trails are wide enough for me to go around obstacles instead of over. My shoulder still can't lift the front wheel or tolerate jolting, so technical riding is out of the question for now. Even so, I was thrilled to be back on the bike in the woods. What a beautiful and happy day that was!

Monday I wanted to do a long trail run. Lately, I have been sticking to the trails near the Ossipee River for hunting season. This is a relatively narrow strip of land that abuts school property for a good portion of it. Hunting is illegal within 500 feet of a school, which leaves an even narrower strip for anyone wishing to hunt there. So hunters just don't go in there. I can run about 6 miles of single track and snowmobile trails in there, but for anything longer I have to start repeating trails. I wanted to go somewhere where I could travel!

With three accidental hunting shootings in three days here in Maine, I thought New Hampshire might be a better choice for my long run. I looked in my old battered White Mountain Guide to see what the authors might have to say regarding traveling through the woods during deer season. They advise that "hunters tend to avoid areas where it would be difficult to haul a deer out of." My own philosophy has always been that "hunters tend to avoid areas where it would be difficult to haul themselves into." With those thoughts in mind, I decided on the Green Hills Preserve of North Conway.

I started from the Chatham end of Hurricane Mountain Road and entered the single track at the high point of the road. I ran toward Pudding Pond, climbing all the peaks except Cranmore, which I forgot. This run took me up Hurricane Mountain Road from both ends, once at the start of my run and again at the end. I don't know what the grade of this road is, I would guess it's something between plenty and excessive. It's about 2 1/2 miles to the highest point from either end. I was out for about 4 and a half hours, and the only somewhat level running was in the Pudding Pond area. It was a very enjoyable run on a beautiful sunny warm day. I only saw three solo hikers and one mountain biker throughout the run, not a single hunter.

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