Monday, June 30, 2008

Middlesex Fells Reservation - Reservoir Trail Run

I’ve been getting a little bored with running trails in Breakheart Reservation every weekend so I decided to try a new location for my Monday morning run. I’ve been thinking about doing a run at the Middlesex Fells for a long time so I figured today would be a good day to explore.
As I arrived at the Sheepfold parking lot the sun had broken though the overcast sky. I could feel the heat and the humidity rising as I prepared for my run. I’m not a big fan of either and I wanted to get into the woods as soon as I could to escape the blazing sun. Since this was my first run in the Fells I reviewed a trail map to select a trail. The Skyline is the longest and most difficult trail in the Fells. I have been thinking about running this trail for a long time. Today would not be a good time to try it. I ran a total of 3 hours on trails the past two days and my legs were feeling bit heavy. I needed to find a trail less challenging and shorter in distance. I decided to try the
Reservoir Trail. This trail encircles the north, middle and south reservoirs that supply drinking water for the city of Winchester. According to my trail map it is a moderate to difficult trail, 5.2 miles long.

It was really warming up and I needed to get a move on. I was already feeling the effects of the heat and humidity and I had not even run a step. I exited the parking lot and headed down a grassy slope all the while the sun beat down on me. At the bottom of the slope I could see a opening with a trail running parallel to me. I turned onto the trail and immediately feel the cool air in the shade cover. I ran down the flat hard-packed trail looking for the trail markers.

The Reservoir Trail is very well marked with orange blazes and I had no difficulty following the trail. It is mostly double track trail with a moderate amount of rocks and roots. The trail is pretty flat and the climbs and descents are more of a rolling nature with no steep, long hills. There were a lot of muddy sections on the trail due to the heavy rains of late.

I had expected to have some great view of the water as I made my way around the three reservoirs. Unfortunately, the trail never got very near to the water. I was disappointed that I only got an occasion, obstructed view though the trees. One thing I was happy about was all the shade. The trail is almost completely under tree cover making it a great trail to run on hot, sunny days.

My run was uneventful except for a brief encounter with a few unleashed dogs. Of course their owners told my to “just run by, they wont bother you” but the dogs seemed to be a little “runner weary” so I walked past instead. I made my way back to the parking lot in about an hour. My
Garmin Forerunner 205 clocked the distance at 5.6 miles, slightly longer than the trail map indicated. I have to say I did not enjoy this trail very much. The terrain was not varied enough and did not provide any interesting sites along the way. It was fine for the easy recovery run I was out for but I would not do it if I wanted to challenge myself. Fortunately, there are many other trails at the Middlesex Fells. I will return here someday soon to discovery what they have to offer.

Stay Cool…..

View of Reservoir Trail

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