Sunday, July 8, 2007

Isolated and Wet 7/7/7



Date: July 7, 2007
Peaks: N. Isolation and Isolation
Distance: 15.3 Miles
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
TrailWrights 72 Peaks Bagged: 64
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I slept in a little bit to try and catch up on sleep. Preparing for a 100 Mile run is hell on my body. I've topped out on weekly miles and have begun tapering. I'm now in a tailspin of crakiness (withdrawl from Endorphines), always tired and ALWAYS hungry. I woke up, threw my gear together and headed North. I wanted to do some running around Mount Adams, but the higher summits forecast was similar to that of the weekend of the Pemi-Challenge... so I opted out of that idea and convinced myself to decide along the way.

At Glen Junction my car headed towards Pinkham Notch, I still could get a TW72 peak in and get some miles in, so N. Isolation it was going to be. As I pulled into the Rocky Branch parking lot on Rte. 16, I surprised to see as many cars there as I did. Which got me thinking, a few weeks ago Albee saw 20-30 people heading too or from Owls Head... and who knows how many I'd see today by peaking backing is ever increasing. It was 10:45 and I was JUST starting my hike... gotta love a late start.

I put my headphones on and let the music flow quietly... the volume low enough that I could still hear the birds chirping and wind russtling the leaves. It wasn't overly warm, but it was humid. The first section of the Rocky branch trail from the lot to the ski trail is eroding more and more every year, its sad to see.. either from skiers or from folks walking up from the lot and not making it too far because past the ski trail... the trail is excessively overgrown. Tall grasses lined the sides of what single track I could see. Branches reached out into the trail whipping faces and becoming quite a hindrance for much fo the way from here on up.

As I ran along I ran into quite a few hikers.. as I reached the Engine Hill Bushwhack location (a little TOO noticeable now)... The trail turned into its sually rocky, rooty and saturated Mess. I took my time carefuly placing my feet as I ran toards the 1st river crossing, there I met a group of 13 people hiking in... though they obviously exceeded the group limit for Wilderness Areas, the were very careful in adhereing to Leave No Trace ethics... they were also a very nice group..

I then scurried along as fast I could on these sections from here to Davis Path. The river crossings were low and easy, I saw many more hikers along the way.. including a group of 4 teenagers with adults (perhaps boy scouts?). As I was running towards them.. we met in an over grown area and I had to jump into a bush to let them by... not sure who had the right of way here... perhaps them because they were coming slightly downhill so it's my bad for not making way.

At the area of the campsites where its easy to get confused... they now have a camping sign with arrows... I'm ever so discouraged by the hypocracy of the Forest Service... they knock down cairns, strip paint from trees, then place signs up everywhere telling us to not maintain trails or where to camp. Whatever though... It was now easier to find the way through. At Davis Path I headed right towards Glen boulder on my way to bag N. Isolation.

Just past the Dry RIver Trail Junction came the first bump. I bushwhacked to the top only to look north and see another higher bump. After a quick chuckle for all the work.. I headed back to the trail and continued running to the next bump. Here I moved along easy to follow herd paths to the a few places I thought was the high point. I bushwhacked off and around to well... the same spot each time. I looked for a canister... couldn't find one, but after an exhaustive effort, I determined I had made it to the top. So I headed back for Isolation. On the way over I met a group of 3 who were on Moosilauke when Sarah finished her 48! They asked how she was.. very nice.

On Isolation I sat with the large group I passed along the way. A very friendly groupw who may have been hiking as part of an AMC group. Their leader was a young fellow, strict about how long their break took. We all sat there and discussed running shoes, The Trailwrights list, the 48, the weather.. and life. They really were a joy to have met.

We all left at the same time as I started to bound down the trail. There was no spectacular views today of Washington, Ike or Monroe.. but we could see the Carters and places West... Pierce, Jackson and places South and East. As I ran back down trail.. I started to feel some spotted rain drops and thought nothing of it. Byt the time I got pver the second stream crossing.. the rain started to come down a little harder. I didn't seem to be getting too wet so I carried on.

As the rain stopped... and I stopped to start walking I started to get a little cold. I noticed that I was drenched from head to tow from the water that had collected on leaves and tall grass. It had stopped raining and the wind picked up and seemed to be a bit warmer. So I kept rolling along. As I crossed the last river crossing it started to rain... and even harder than before. I started to climb out of the water shed.. the rocks now slick and slimey. Going was definately slow.. I was getting angry... at myself because I had my rain jacket and paints... yet never put them on. Dummy..

As I reached the Engine Hill Bushwhack, the rained stopped again and I moved as quickly as possible along the way out. I soon ran into some adults I had recognized as being with that group of kids from earlier.. not far down the trail, I ran into the kids.. I ran upon them and started coughing, whistling.. but to no avail they would not make way. I then asked, "Hey guys, mind if I squeek by?" No response... so.. as the oportunity arose, I jumped into the trees and quickly dashed with one arm up to protect my face until I made it to the other side and around them. They stopped and made some comment.. but I didn't hear it.. it was starting to pour again.. no harder than ever and I was tired of being soaked... so.. I just kept running until I got to the parking lot. A Great hike and I enjoyed myself alot. Another TW72 done and slowly getting to the end!

As I was driving home, my cell rang and it was Kira. Kira lives in New York and is a 23 year old aspiring Tri-athlete. Her fortay is road biking. She was in NH and had just rode almost 100 Miles on her bike in this weather. I decided to meet up with her and grab some dinner and ice cream. It's always nice to finally meet a member of Team Sherpa Ultra-Running... and I hope she finds her way to the Whites from the Finger Lakes Region more often.. she seems to like it out this way as she trains for the Ironman Michigan.. Good luck Kira!!

So... now I'm off to Pawtuckaway for one last day of hard running and then I cut-back until the race. The Vermont 100 Mile Endurance run starts on Saturday, July 21st at 4am.. if you're still thinking of supporting my run, I ask you consider donating to my 100 Mile For Research by visiting www.firstgiving.com/teamsherpa

Happy Trails!