Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Coming down is the hardest part

On my list of athletic goals is to tackle as many state summits as possible. I think for now that pretty much means New England and New York and I'll take it from there. But I hiked up Mt. Greylock last fall and am looking for more.
After a disappointing attempt at Four Gaps up in Warren and a mechanical DNF on Sunday morning I decided to knock off Vermont's Mt. Mansfield in the afternoon.
Coming from the north side I drove up over the pretty crazy smugglers gap road (Scenic route 108). The cliffs and mountains that rise up above the road are pretty amazing and distracting. The boulders that determine the road's windy course are equally impressive but turn out to be more of a hazard while you're driving too fast and trying to look up at the gnarly crags.
Down on the Stowe side of the gap I parked at the hard to find trail head for the Long Trail and started on up. In my mind this is my perfect idea of a challenging hike; Very few flat sections, lots of rocks to work up and plenty of hand over foot sections. But in reality I had no pop in my legs and it turned out to be a very slippery, quick, not so fun walk up the mountain. I covered the 2.7 miles, and what must have been a couple thousand feet, in just about an hour. The top was covered in clouds. I caught a couple passing views of the valleys below, some fluids and half a powerbar and turned around.
I recently got a pair of GoLite Sun Dragon trailer runners that look pretty bitchin. The aggressive lug was reason enough to buy them. They're actually really great for trail running. But they really suck on rocks. Particularly really wet rocks. It's like having half a dozen slippery little spikes under your foot. Soooo not the right shoes for my hike. The whole hike was pretty much on rocks. Rained on, cloudy, misty, damp rocks.
Cautiously back down to the car in a little under 40 minutes. I thought that a round trip a bit under 1:50 was a good way to top off an otherwise disappointing athletic weekend. My ITB's and quads are still a little sore due to all the eccentric loading from coming down the mountain. But it's great to have another mountain crossed off the list.

No comments: