Today we were running in the non-town of Topshizzum, lead by the S-C-O Double Tizzle.
Scott generously offered to lead a group of Trail Monsters around one of his favorite local trail systems, the Cathance River Nature Preserve. This was my first time running here and it made me wish I lived a little closer so I could run it more often. So these trails aren't actually new, just new to me.
I met Jamie and Jeff in Falmouth and we drove up to Topsham together where we met Scott, Kevin, Mindy, Ryan, Danielle, Chuck and Blaine. It was a bit like a bloggers convention, a few people who had never met before but had seen each others blogs. After standing around in the freezing cold for what was probably only a few minutes but felt way too long on this windy morning we set off from Mt Ararat HS on our adventure. I was quite excited about getting to see some new trails for the first time.
Scott's route took us up and over the little Mt Ararat and then through the Highland Green development before finally hitting the trails of the Cathance Preserve. These trails were a bit like the single track of Bradbury, but with the addition of a quick flowing river that added a lot to the beauty of the trail. I think it even brought a tear to Mindy's eye, or that could have been the wind chill making it feel like it was only 12 degrees.
The trail surface was technical, and would have been somewhat challenging in the best of conditions but when you throw in ice, collapsing frost crevasses and a thick covering of fallen leaves... oh, and the fact that most of us had never run here before, it made for some very challenging terrain. Although it would have been nice to stop and enjoy the view along the river it was really too cold for that, and it would have been nice to watch the water flowing as we ran alongside it this was the kind of trail that demanded constant focused attention. Especially at the quick pace we were running.
We turned at about 5.5 miles when we hit the edge of the preserve, since it's still deer hunting season around here we didn't dare venture outside the preserve. Scott lead us back on a similar route with a few variations to show us some more trail. It was all great stuff and I hope he'll slow down again for the rest of us to give us another tour, perhaps when hunting season is over so we can do some more exploring.
We ended the run with just under 10 miles in just over 1.5 hours. As much as I would have liked to hang around and chat we really started to feel the cold as soon as we stopped moving so we all went our separate ways. Blaine and Chuck went out for another 13 miles or so, and I would have liked to join them but thought I should give the marathon recovery a little more time before stepping my mileage back up. It's only been two weeks.
A question for any Garmin users/geeks:
For some reason when I import my GPS data into Google maps I don't get the whole route in one piece, it's broken up into two separate routes. When I tried importing my route from the Stone Cat marathon in came in as something like 10 separate routes and I couldn't get them to display all at once. Anyone out there know how to fix this?
View Larger Map
If you click on "View Larger Map" you'll get a full screen version of the map above, and in the left hand column there should be the option to view the other part of today's route (it looks like the results of a Google search).