Showing posts from August, 2014

Trail Runners Chapter 5: Underhill State Park

I met Steve, Jay and Matt at Underhill State Park on Thursday evening after spending the day at Grand Isle State Park (I know, I lead a difficult life). Mt Mansfield is the first immovable mass blocking your path as you approach from the west, its size and impressiveness grows as you drive through the wide Champlain Valley on the approach.  We had the perfect day for this trail run, eighty degrees, sunny and dry. I arrived a little early and spent some time talking with Jacob, the Underhill State Park Ranger.  He advised me that typical speedy trail runners can run the loop we planned in about 4 hours and the distance was longer than we read on the map.  We were talking while he dragged away some large beech limbs he had just trimmed using a method I will not divulge here.   Our planned route was the CCC Road to Maple Ridge Trail, across on the Long Trail and then descending Sunset Ridge Trail. The potentially disappointing news about the inaccuracy of our map was tempered

Trail Runners Chapter 4: New Discovery State Park

The hot, sticky humidity broke as Jay, Matt and I carpooled up to New Discovery State Park to meet Steve in his lean-to for our Groton State Forest trail running adventure.  Severe thunderstorms were passing to the south, bringing cooler air perfect for an evening run.  Steve was settled in Raven lean-to in New Discovery campground.This quiet park is exquisitely maintained with spotless toilet buildings, neatly raked campsites and completely empty fireplaces. If you are looking for a quiet retreat in a beautiful forested setting, New Discovery is the campground for you. The greater Groton area is phenomenal for a variety of outdoor pursuits, and will be featured in additional blog entries by our crew. There is so much to explore. We headed down Blake Hill Road a dirt road which conveniently starts at the gated end of the campground road where Raven is located, in campground loop B. A short way down Blake Hill Road, Big Deer Mountain trail turns off on the right...which we

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 ther

Trail Runners Chapter 2: Camel's Hump

Clear skies, low humidity, bright sun—the perfect day to run up Camel’s Hump.  Jay, Steve, Matt and I headed out after work from our various locations last Thursday and convened at the bridge on Winooski Street in Waterbury to car pool up to the Monroe Trailhead a few miles away. We hit the trail at about 6:00pm. As you can tell from my attendance list in the previous paragraph, Matt is now officially part of our state park trail running group.  At first he tagged along incognito, taking photos and running in the back as a training method for his big 100 mile trail race next month.  However, Matt quickly became hooked on the adventure of exploring new places and trails in state parks with the rest of us. Plus how could anyone say no to running up Camels Hump? I mean, just look at the photos accompanying this blog. It was amazing up there. Camels Hump State Park is one of the few undeveloped state parks in Vermont; there is no developed camping area typical of most state park