Had to get a photo of the road on the way there. It was spectacular. The weather could not have been more perfect for a snowshoe race.
The race tent at the Maple Hill farm.
Snowshoers mill about. Some went for a warmup run beforehand. Since I normally use the first hour of a race to warm up, I decided to ape their behavior and I ran about 200 feet before the race.
The start was at the bottom of a hill on what I believe is the Big Tree Trail. Why it is so named is a mystery to me.
Breakheart Dan and I crowd each other for a photo at the start of the race. I figured I had better get a photo with him since his speed would take him far from me during the race. It did.
The start line! Notice that most of the racers are ahead of the start line. This should disqualify them, making me the winner of the race. Sweet.
Snowshoe races: The choice of a new generation. You got the right one, baby, uh-huh. That soda sure had a lot of bad commercials. Uh-huh.
Race director Michael Amarello gives us the necessary race instructions. We all bow our heads in reverence.
And we are off! Actually, they are off. I am still standing around taking pictures. That's the only reason I didn't win. Well, that and the fact that there were others who ran faster than me.
I continue to give people a head start after running .05 miles. I hit the wall and needed a break.
Runners loop around to take Cow Lane. There was a bit of a bottleneck here, so I took another opportunity to just stand there and take a picture. I do not regret it.
Cow Lane stretches off into the distance. I begin to think about putting away the camera and actually racing.
And we're off!
Getting tired. Only 2.4 miles to go.
Can't breathe. Feeling weak. 2 miles to go.
All is pain. 1.5 miles to go. Too tired to film anymore.
The race aftermath. It turns out that I did run after all. My first snowshoe race was a complete success. Tomorrow I will return and check out more of the trails. At my own pace. Which is slow. As it should be.
I know that my paradise will have many flowers, thanks to Mr Croak.
It is snowing and the temperature is 13 degrees as I prepare for my snowshoe long run.
I start off on Cow lane heading over the same path from the snowshoe race, and then take Beaver Brook Trail heading North.
I think this place is right next to route 130, although I do not know. I forgot my map during this run, and had to rely on my innate sense of direction. Somehow it actually worked today.
This trail looked nice, and it is nice as well. It was nice that it was nice, which is in and of itself nice.
I was plowing through virgin snow here. My time was very slow, but it is good cardiovascular training so I tried to do it as much as possible. My wife says it is good that I am so well trained, and I am sure she means cardiovascularly.
The majestic pines tower over me, although my last name means "The Tower". How dare they steal my thunder?
This might be the Brown Lane Barn. I think I went on the Self-Guided Nature Trail around here, since there were little signs telling me woodsy information. You just don't get that in the woods normally.
Having returned to Beaver Brook Trail, I hang a left towards Elkins road.
The snow drifts here were surprisingly deep. My legs and lungs were thankful for it.
This tree looks like it is flexing and saying, "The beach is that way." (Say that in your best Arnold voice).
Gained a little elevation here. Love the snow covered trees. It is in the woods while running that I truly feel alive.
Is this not beauty? Is this not sublime? Is this not a freakin' winter wonderland?
I continue on the path to route 130. Why I would want to run in the woods towards a highway is beyond me.
Good ole' Elkins road. We've had some great times together, we have. Mmm-hmmm.
Snow. Trees. Stream. Why would I ever stay indoors on a day like this. Ah, yes. Because it is very cold out.
Good ole' Elkins road. It has always been there for me in times of trial and tribulation.
I took a right here, for how could I abandon Elkins road when Elkins road would never abandon me?
I stood here for a full 15 minutes wondering how I could proceed. Am I more horse or bike? I finally decided that I run like a powerful machine, and could take either path.
I took the Old City Trail towards route 130. I looked and looked for an old city, but found nothing. It must have been eroded over the centuries into nothing.
I took this road, Shoen nuff! Hah!
I found that the wildlife was being very well managed here, and left with a feeling of satisfaction.
I figured it was about time I started heading left on the trail. My innate direction sense was actually right. I am as shocked as anyone.
I was sure glad that I wasn't cross country skiing, as that pose looks very uncomfortable.
More nice trail, this time I could run in the path of skiers. No telling how funny they must have looked.
I decided to head towards Irene drive, since Irene is Greek for "peace", and I was having a peaceful run.
I didn't want to run on no stinking French Meadow, so I took the cutoff. Take that, French Meadow!
This was great. I used to play in groves like this as a lad in Gilford, NH. I am still a lad at heart and laughed as the snow fell from the boughs and onto me, and then I cried when it went down the back of my neck. And I haven't stopped crying yet.
Went by this trail. My Spidey sense told me to avoid it, and I have come to rely on my innate powers more than I used to in the old days, back when I was a founding member of the Justice League. Either that or my blood sugar was low.
My car awaited me at the Maple Hill Farm, but I wasn't ready to head in yet, so I ra-a-aaan. I ran so far a-wa-aaa-aaay.
This could be the Eastman Meadow. Then again, it might be another unnamed part of this great land. This land was made for you and me.
A bridge? I love bridges in the woods! Almost as much as I love alliterative signs! Am I in heaven?
Now that is a BRIDGE! By the way, steps and snowshoes do not mix well.
I wanted to run on this bridge...
But I opted for the Whiting Trail instead. The best part of all: I got to run that bridge later. It was everything I thought it could be, and more besides, and that's a lot if you add it together, which I did.
The Maple Hill Ridge Trail was practically groomed. It was as if someone was cross-country skiing with a snowshoeing friend and they were both pulling sleds with children in them, who were laughing and singing carols as they went, and all was right in the world.
Don't you tell me what to do, sign!
Ahhh. Would you just look at that construction? As Sergio Aragones said, "Man bends his back that he might stand ever straighter."
A stream. In the woods. Near a bridge. Ecstasy.
I think I read a sign on this trail that said porcupines live in the trees all winter and eat bark, but now that I say it to myself it sounds like crazy-talk.
The tree to the right was so in awe of this awesome bridge and it's awesomeness that it fell over in surprise. Can't blame it.