Trail Runners Chapter 3: Perry Hill Trails, C.C. Putnam State Forest

The smell of damp earth with falling summer rain takes me right back to childhood adventures camping in state parks with my family. Every summer we spent three weeks at our favorite state parks. We went on these extended camping adventures no matter the weather. My favorite childhood memories are those damp, rainy camping days and nights. Jumping in a lake in warm rain, standing on top of a mountain peak in a sea of clouds, watching my sleeping bag spin around in a commercial dryer, that time the novel I was reading expanded to four times its original size. Don’t cancel your family camping trip because of rain; instead adjust your plans as we did.

Weather interfered with our plans to run up Mt Mansfield from Underhill State Park this week. Watch for that adventure in a future blog, meanwhile we decided to head for a fun network of trails on C. C. Putnam State Forest in Waterbury, minutes away from Little River State Park. This section of C. C. Putnam is known as Perry Hill as there are several parcels of C. C. Putnam State Forest in the area.

These trails are in a forested area with stands of older white pines and sections of mixed hardwoods so they offer some protection from rain, and the rich clay soil provides nice stable footing even when wet. This area is very popular for mountain biking, but there are usually no bikes on the trails during the rain, so it is a peaceful and reasonably dry place to go for a trail running adventure when the rocks on Mt Mansfield are wet and slippery.

If you are camping in the rain as Steve was when we did this run, you could leave your non-running friends and family members at Little River State Park for a couple hours while you make a few loops on this hilly, single track network as we did. There are many nature programs, waterfront activities and beautiful places to walk and bike to keep your companions busy making memories while you have a new adventure of your own. 

We ran for about two hours and made about three different loops, always enjoying new scenery throughout the entire run. Single track is fun because you really feel that you are zipping along, popping up over hills and rocks and zooming through twisting down hills. It was cloudy, foggy, misty and beautiful while we were racing around in the forest. We arrived back at our cars on River Road feeling pleasantly tired and reflected on our adventure over cans of a popular fine pilsner provided by Matt. You know you are having a great time when you stand out in the rain to drink a beer and laugh with friends. 

View Perry Hill Trail Run Page 

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