Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Fun Day in the Woods
Scout, dog tired after his longest run ever.
Late this morning I set off in my car heading South and East in search of runnable trails. For the past week, I've been killing myself running in the soft six to eight inches of wet snow that is covering the local trails. It has been very hard work, kind of like running through sand. Today, I felt I needed a break from it. Scout rode shot gun, peering out the windshield, nose up and sniffing, tail wagging. He knew what we were after and was willing to travel for a chance at fast trails before tonight's storm. My plan was to check out the trails along my southeast route in this order; Massebesic Experimental Forest, Vaugn Woods, then Mt Aggie. If I still hadn't found runnable trails I was going to continue on into New Hampshire and veer back to the West a bit with FOMBA and Bear Brook in mind. It might turn out to be a long drive, but my trusty side kick and I were on a mission.
We hit the jack pot at our very first stop in Waterboro at The Massebesic Experimental Forest. A short recognisance jog revealed a fifty-fifty mix of frozen mud and crunchy ice. I jogged back to the car to text Kevin about where I was running, something he likes me to do so he'll know where to send the search parties. I put on my Yacktrax while Scout ate some old wet newspapers in the parking area, his idea of carbo loading. Off we went.
I hadn't run in this forest in over a year because my work doesn't take me out to the area anymore. It felt good to be back! At some of the trickier intersections I laid out branches making an arrow so I could remember how to get back to the car if I had to back track. It took a while, but I finally realized that the sticks Scout kept running past me with, were my arrows. So much for that idea.
We ran for almost three hours, hitting every ATV trail, Conservation Corps Road, and snowmobile trail we could find. The snow mobile trails were in rough shape because of the lack of snow cover but other than scratching me up with brambles, they were OK. The ATV trails were in awesome shape. For much of my run I followed tire tracks from a lone mountain biker. Some areas had seen heavy foot traffic and a few ATV trails had seen motorized winter traffic, but a lot of our route had only animal tracks and the tracks of our mountain biker guide.
Things had warmed up a bit toward the end of the run and the mud was getting pretty soft in spots. As we approached the car, we passed some guys target shooting beside the dirt road. I found it a bit un-nerving to see that they were shooting at cut outs of humans with big red Xes to mark their hearts. Scout wasn't disturbed by the gun shots, but he didn't like the looks of those guys any more than I did. We made a wide berth around them.
This was Scout's longest run ever and he did great. He's almost a year old now and he has turned into a great running friend. We've built up to this gradually and carefully. He's a bit stocky for a distance man, but don't tell him I said so. We both had great energy today and wore smiles on our faces through the entire run. What a great day!