Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drudge In Da Woodz

I decided to pass on the Pooh Hill snowshoe race yesterday. The long drive to New Hampshire and two broken snowshoes made it an easy decision. My only regret was missing out on the post-race visit to a local brew pub with the Tuesday Night Turtles. I opted instead for a solo long run in Lynn Woods. It was only twenty degrees when I left my house to make the short drive to the woods but the sun was shining brightly without a cloud in the sky. The trails were still covered with a blanket of snow but I hoped it would be solid enough to make running not too much of a chore.

Climbing Stone Tower Hill

I mapped out a new route using the Lynn Woods trail map I downloaded from the internet. I included some trails on the north-east side of Walden Pond that I have never run before. I wasn’t sure of the total distance but figured it would take me about 3.5 hours to complete the workout. I started out on the fire roads and they were well packed from the Lynn Woods crew doing their nightly snowshoe runs. I enjoyed the easy running while it lasted as most of my run would be on the less traveled single-track trails.

Running along Undercliff Path

One of the rare bare spots.

It was early morning and the woods were very quiet. The only sounds I heard were the crunching of the snow under my feet, the chirping of birds and the relaxing sound of several babbling brooks. The first two hours were very enjoyable and I still had not sighted another human being. If fact I never did. I did spot a young white-tailed deer very close by but my crunching footsteps scared it away. I saw several different animal tracks during my run but not being much of an outdoorsman couldn’t identify them. It’s time to study up on animal tracking.

One of my favorite sights and sounds when alone in the woods.

View from Birch Pond Trail

After three hours of running, mostly in soft snow, my lower back started to bother me. It felt good when I stopped to take pictures but hurt as soon I started running again. I was ready to call it a day but still wanted to explore the new trails I planned for my route. It was hillier than I expected and not well marked. I had a difficult time finding the infrequent blazes painted on the trees and staying on trail. I was less than a half mile from where I parked when I got off trail. I back-tracked a few times but couldn’t find the trail that would bring me back to my track. I wasn’t really lost, just temporarily misplaced!

After wandering around the woods for 15 minutes I was about to bushwhack my way out. Suddenly I found the trail I was looking for. I walked passed it a few times previously and I’m not sure how I kept missing it. I guess it was sort of difficult to sport with snow on the ground. Everything looked the same to me. I ended up spending over 4.5 hours in the woods. The soft snow made for hard work by good fun. Not all of it was spent running (I stopped to take 53 photographs and three videos), but it felt good to put some serious time on my feet.

Several more photos of my run can be found here.


  1. You make the woodz look so poetic. Great compositions (from the art teacher in me). I am looking forward to getting together with the Gang and TNT...

  2. So awesome. I never think to venture into the woods to run in the snow. DO you use yaktraks or shoe screws? Hmmm...might just try this next weekend as I want to measure a course for the fat-ass I want to host in April...

  3. Dan, do you use traction devices for trail running on snow? It was a tossup for me today between trail running and snow shoeing and chose snow shoeing as I can be a tad clumsy at times and didn't want to kill myself out there all by myself. ;-)

    Funny that you didn't see anyone, saw a lone deer and got a little lost as that all happened to me today as well.

    Love the babbling brook video, I agree, one of the prettiest sounds out there in the woods besides the call of a Veery for me.

  4. We seemed to have exchanged philosophies. Now I run without walking, and you take 50+ pictures per run. Well, as long as we're having fun! Missed you at the TARC run. Be sure to join us this coming Sunday at 8am sharp.

  5. Emily, I'll be at Exeter on the 6th. We'll have to join TNT post-race. Only one blonde bombshell for you this time!

    Julie & Kim. If the snow is soft and deep I use snowshoes, if it's icy I use Kahtoola microspikes, if it's hard-packed snow I use my screw shoes. I think Yaks would work on ice and hard snow too.

    Steve, I would have done the TARC run but after spending 5 hours away from home yesterday I thought it best to do the family thing today. I'll try to make it next time. How was it?

  6. It was a lot of fun. We went out for a 6 mile loop while waiting for Lil' Roy and KZ, and then with them we all went for a 12 mile loop. The trails there are great, but the course for the DRB is very confusing.


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