Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend runs in the Valley...

This past weekend I ran a couple of amazing trail/mountain runs in the North Conway and Bartlett NH area. Since I was camping up in Crawford Notch, along the Saco River, I hooked up with Kevin Tilton who was generous enough to lead me into 2 of my most memorable runs I have ever had!

On Saturday morning, I met up with Kevin in Bartlett Village and we headed about 8 miles down Bear Notch road to some trails and an old gravel road which he has run many times in the past. The initial gravel road was great running for a bit and then the real fun started... As Kevin and I were running along and reliving some glory days, a small black bear darted right in front of us across the path from a thick set of trees and ran down into some thick bushes and growth on the other side. We stopped for a brief moment and waited as he thought there may be a good chance that there was a mom or dad around...but fortunately there wasn't. After a minute or so, we continued on cautiously for a while and hit some really cool trails that led through a couple of areas where we actually had to wade up over our waists in rivers/streams and mud. It was messy to say the least...but still we pushed on until we came up onto the gravel road again. The horse flies were starting to get bad and were swarming and biting us as we ran faster and faster to get away from them...then we came up around a corner and landed right in front of a big male moose standing in the middle of the gravel road about 50 meters or so ahead. It was definitely the coolest thing I have seen on a run or hike ever. The moose just stood there staring at us for a good 10-15 seconds or so and then turned and started to trot down the road. He went around numerous corners as we followed. He wouldn't deviate from the road and kept on trotting down until he'd go around a corner...then we'd come around and he'd be stopped and looking back. It felt like we were chasing him. Eventually he went around a corner and then as we came around, the road split in two and we didn't see him down the route we picked. All in all it was a good 5 min + that we ran behind him. The excitement just got more intense from there, as about an hour or so later, we were running up a trail that leads back to the gravel road and came across a family of moose (3 in all). They were heading up over a clearing off of the trail and the last 2 stood and stared at us as we stopped in awe of now having seen 4 moose and 1 bear in a 2 hour run. They were even closer to us than the first one we saw but didn't hang around nearly as long. In all, we ran for 2:05:00 and Kevin mapped out the route on his Garmin which indicated it to be about 14 miles, but with some of the deviations we took, and the elevation changes, the distance seems to be a bit conservative in his estimates.

On Sunday, I met Kevin again in North Conway about an hour earlier than we ran on Saturday, and we headed up Hurricane Mt. Road to Mt. Kearsarge where we met Paul Kirsh. The three of us ran up to the top of Kearsarge North in 46:45 (that is starting from 600 feet and going up to 3268 feet in just 3.1 miles). We hung out at the top at a fire tower and took in the absolutely spectacular views of the valley. I took a few short videos of the area with my cell phone (I need to get a smaller camera to take with me on these runs)... We then proceeded down the other side on a trail that hadn't been maintained in quite some time...there were a lot of blowdowns along the way which slowed things down to a walk and climb at points. That trail took us down to a small pond we could see from the summit. From there, the trails opened up and took us back around to where we parked. Total run on Sunday was 1:55:00.

Cell phone pictures here...

Cell Phone Video 1: Summit panoramic view.

Cell Phone Video 2: Panoramic view from inside the fire tower.

Cell Phone Video 3: Views from the deck of the fire tower.

1 comment:

  1. amazing photos...I was checking out some of the other blogs on here... and found a link to Chi-running from the guy who was working for New Balance...what do you think?