From the Back of the Pack
I might always be in the back of the running pack, but I'm addicted to it! When I miss more than a day it affects my energy, attitude, and the rest of life in general! I have had a lot of "character" building runs in the deep snow, extreme nose hair freezing cold, ankle high rain, and gale force winds over the past twenty five years and find some of those days to be the most peaceful rewarding outings of all! I'm one of those runners who is slow and steady, but goes forever and ever without ever getting tired.
June 28, 2009: Power Lines Adventure
Today two more unsuspecting Duluthians, Amy and Dave were introduced to the infamous "Power Lines"!
Amy and I planned to go about 4 miles into the hills heading in from Mission Creek, Dave's total planned mileage was 10 and Jonas planned 20 miles total. The men began their journey to the numerous ascents at Zapp's.
Our plan was to meet somewhere in the hills and take a few pictures of the guys power running the steep inclines and then run back. Poor Amy was at my directionally challenged mercy as we began our voyage to the hills. After parking at Mission Creek, we started the short jaunt onto the snowmobile trail towards the Munger trail. The footing was good on that portion of the trail and the ground was bone dry.
Upon reaching the Munger trail we headed right and planned to run until we noticed the arrows pointing into the trail within 1/4 mile or less of our turn. After running for over 10 minutes, and reaching the Buffalo house, we both kinda thought we'd missed the arrows and turned back...thus adding the first extra mileage to our run. Amy had remembered seeing the power lines back aways as I was looking for the arrows so we backtracked until we spied some arrows into the woods. With some hesitancy we began our trek into the forest despite the "No Trespassing" signs because they were the only arrows we saw pointing into the woods. After a few minutes of "bushwhacking" through what appeared to be an extremely overgrown trail we thought maybe we should head back out and see if there were any alternate arrows closer to the actual power lines. Nope, nothing there so back into the densely covered ground foliage of the forest we went trusting Laambeaux to lead the way through. Our adventure included crawling under fallen trees, over branches, and more until we reached....the Power lines!
A right turn onto the power lines and we were on our way to reach the top of some of the hills prior to the arrival of the speedy guys...or so we thought...both of us began to think...how are we going to recognize this small rustic opening into the woods we just came out of to get back to the car??? So....we ran back to the opening, both took out our cameras and took some pictures of it for a sense of security!
On our way yet again, we enjoyed the scenic beauty of the area and the fact that all the trails had been dry thus far. When we got to the first intimidating downhill....I decided that the dog must be free or I may end up as a casualty of the incline. After carefully making our way down the thankfully dry hill, we continued our adventure run until the first gigantic uphill where we ran/walked to the top. Amy did an awesome job for her first really rustic running!!!
With all the timing planned out in advance, we figured we had a few minutes to kill before the men showed up so we dropped a few things at the top of the massive hill and continued on for awhile. Stinky virtually impassible mud appeared in a few places on the trail past the massive hill, luckily all on the flats rather than the hills so we could somewhat preserve our shoes.
As we headed back towards the monster of a hill, we smiled when we saw two sweaty, out of breath males emerge from the crest of the natural challenge. Both appeared to have run the entire incline...!! Because we had missed their initial climb, they were good sports and went part way back down to "reenact" the run for the photo opportunity. We asked them if they liked crawling under the two downed trees on the trail to the power lines and neither remembered doing that and just figured they were concentrating so hard on the trail that they didn't notice them.
After our brief encounter, the guys headed further onto the power lines so Dave was able to be properly introduced to them, and Amy and I headed back towards the car.
As we traversed the crunchy uneven mud, we initially passed our intended opening in the woods to the trail, luckily catching our error prior to venturing further onto the trail.
Cautiously running back through the "bush whacking" trail again, we went under the two trees, got off the "trail" once, then the pooch safely lead us back to the Munger.
Picking up the pace a bit on the Munger, we were almost to the left turn to the car when Amy noticed some arrows on the trail leading into a very nice dirt trail....hmmmmm...we figured out why the men didn't crawl under any trees!! Sorry to whoever's property we trespassed on!!!
Into the car and off to 131st we went to reunite Amy and Dave. We had parted ways at 3:00 on the big hill and expected Dave to appear sometime between 4:00 and 4:15...as we waited, walked, waited, picked over 100 ticks off the pooch, walked...we began to worry...we got our phones out just in case something had happened and there were no bars! Upon walking out towards the road in the hopes of getting some cell service, we came upon a 4 wheeler and asked the man if he was going up the trail very far explaining we were concerned about a possible lost runner. As he was telling us his plan was just a short jaunt, a tall skinny runner in red was sprinting down the trail towards us!
Dave had taken the SHT back and had gotten lost for at least two miles after asking different people how to get back to 131st! His run ended up at 12 miles or so instead of 10, ours was at least a couple of miles long if not more...and Jonas...his was 20...he knows his way around the woods!
It was a blast, nice weather, fun trails, great company...I can't wait to do it again!!!
|The entry back into the bush whacking trail|
|Jonas initiating Dave into the power lines|
Yup, that is the old entrance to the Powerlines - hasn't been used in many years since they built the new trail. Just shows you how long paint used to mark trail races can stick around!
I still miss the Roughrider race (Fall NMTC), but will get my fill a taste of the powerlines in just over a week.
I just got home from a run on the ski trails at MAgney. The loop used for the NMTC race 3 weeks ago has been totally cleared of the trees. I could see tire tracks from a vehicle in the mud, and they chain sawed away all the down trees on that loop. The grass is long, though. Maybe they will cut the grass soon?
The city used to mow at least twice a summer, may have only done it once last year ( I was out at Piedmont the day they mowed - the guy was wearing an NMTC shirt!). The trick is they need to wait until the trails are dry enough to handle the heavy equipment.
On that note - the crews are probably out there clearing trail for the Half Voyageur and Voyageur races. If you think running the powelines is tough, imaging mowing them!!! Thanks NMTC volunteers!!