We had planned to mark the Bradbury Bruiser race course on Saturday this past weekend, but it was discovered on Friday afternoon that Saturday was Youth Deer Day in Maine. Since hunting is permitted in parts of Bradbury Mt. State Park we thought it would be best to reschedule the course marking to Sunday. The thought of 10-16 year old boys, who have been playing Halo 3 for the past few weeks, out in the woods with real guns and permission to shoot any deer they might see seemed too risky a situation to subject our volunteers to. Somewhat frustrated by the forced change in plans I ended up running a 5k race in Biddeford on Saturday morning, but won't get into that here since it was a road race.
Later in the day on Saturday I decided that it was just too nice a day not to be at my favorite weekend destination, so I suited up in blaze orange, grabbed a rake and a few hundred surveyor flags and headed off to Pownal to tackle the "O"-Trail. I knew that this trail was going to need the most work out of any in the park, it's a new trail and hard to follow in the best of conditions, but when covered in leaves it disappears. Stephen was the first to describe this trail as gnarly, we have since submitted a formal petition to Merriam Webster to have a photo of the "O"-Trail added to the dictionary next to the word. In three hours I raked about 1.75 miles of trail, and now there is no question about where the trail goes. I was glad that I got a head start on marking the course, and luckily never encountered any gun toting children.
Early Sunday morning I was back at the park and met Stephen, Jamie, Blaine and Randy to run the course in it's entirety. Phil caught up to us about 1.5 miles into the run, apparently he likes chasing us. One interesting thing we discovered early on in the run is that stepping off the trail for a bathroom break can have the unfortunate effect of taking you on a short-cut to a spot further up the course in plain view of everyone else. Of even more interest was the discussion of Dumbledore's sexual orientation and how that lead to the conclusion that we are doomed as a species.
As we ran we were relieved to find that despite all the fallen leaves most of the trail was very easy to follow and wouldn't require as much attention as the "O"-Trail. I can't speak for everyone else but I think it's safe to say that we all had a fun run and are looking forward to the race this weekend.
Immediately upon finishing our run we were greeted by Kelly who had brought breakfast sandwiches for everyone, perfect. After scoffing breakfast and a quick change of clothes we met Jeff and divided up the race course for marking. With arrow signs, flags, caution tape and rakes we split up and hit the trails again to make sure that on race day there won't be any question about where to go. That's not to suggest that you won't need to pay attention during the race, because all the rocks and roots are still there, but at least no one needs to worry about getting lost.
Thanks to Stephen, Jamie, Blaine, Phil, Jeff and Kelly for all your hard work, all the runners at the race will appreciate it as well as every other park user who goes out there in the next few weeks.