Saturday, December 18, 2010

Great winter trail run

Today’s run was a real blast.  Alyssa Godesky came to visit us, and we (Gill, myself and Alyssa) headed into the mountains.  The route we chose is a little over 21 miles, with about 2700 feet of gain and loss.  It begins on Brown’s Gap Road, which climbs from the valley for a 5.5 miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It then drops from the ridge to the Shenandoah Valley on Madison Run Road for another 5 miles.  The fun part was turning around and heading all the way back.
Check out the route HERE:

The run climbs for 5.5 miles, descends for 5, climbs again for 5 and descends again for 5.5.  It is all on runnable forest roads, which were covered in snow.  The climbs were hard because the snow slowed my momentum, but the downs were a real blast and quite fast, because the snow allowed safer footing and a soft landing.  Te snow was not frozen and not melted, and it was still as soft as powder.
Except for having too many clothes on and feeling some leg fatigue from earlier workouts this week, I felt great.  I did not eat or drink enough: I should have brought some solid or salty foods, since the cold gels got old very quickly.  I burn more calories in the winter, and ended up with hunger pains during the last 5 miles.  The climbs, as I mentioned, were quite tough, and I was sweating heavily on the way up.

The views were spectacular: with the leaves gone, Blackrock Gap and the Furnace trail were clearly visible from Madison Run Road.  The snow revealed how many and which animals were roaming the mountains: deer, of course, foxes, coyotes and/or roaming dogs, rabbits, wild turkeys and quite a few smaller bears.  Alyssa finally saw her FIRST bear!
This run is fantastic because it crosses several trails, including the Appalachian Trail, the Doyle trail, the Furnace trail, the Austin Mountain trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It can therefore be connected to several loops, and the possibilities are limitless.
William H. Howard hidden tombstone
Madison Run Rd
A bear paw print

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