|On top of the world.|
I slept in a little today, then did my morning exercises. After, while I wanted to run, I wasn't sure if I should, as my hip has been nagging me with low-level soreness. I decided a trail run would be good. Talia said she didn't mind, so I got my stuff together for a late morning trail run, which are unusual for me. I packed enough supplies for a loop around Grafton, and threw in some Yaktrax just in case I found more ice.
When I finally made it to the Town of Grafton, there was a line of cars turning into the park. Waiting there, I saw a sign that said there was a "Winter Fest" today. If I were there at my usual time, this wouldn't have been an issue, however I was not in the "fest" type mood. So, I said what the hell, and kept driving towards Petersburg.
My concerns were both the parking lot conditions (as in, does anybody plow it?) and how much snow would be on the trails. From Grafton to the trail head, at Petersburg Pass, is another 10 minutes, so this was turning into quite a drive. There are a ton of other places I could have gone if I wanted to spend 45 minutes in the car.
|Rednecks can't read? They just don't care, I think.|
I was the only one there and chose the path I usually take, knowing it was the most direct to the top of Mt. Raimer. Most of the other footprints went to the left, which I knew was an alternate route that is not as steep, but a bit longer. In fact, there were no prints once I began up the main ascent, only what could be interpreted as filled in tracks from possibly a week earlier.
This part was steep and I didn't run at all. The snow was about calf deep, and horribly uneven, most likely due to all the rocks hidden beneath. Near the top of Raimer, I bared to the right, towards Berlin Mountain. I didn't expect to make it all the way, but I thought it was worth a try to see how far I could get. Once on the Taconic Trail proper, I found a lot of ATV tracks. I ran in their ruts when I could. This saved a lot of energy, because otherwise I was wasting my efforts blazing a path, especially since I wasn't wearing snow shoes. Also, I only had a single 20oz bottle with me, and I ran out of water once before in these mountains. All that cardio climbing up makes you thirsty.
|Panorama from the top.|
At about 35 minutes in, I realized I had made it farther than any previous attempt (usually I would take side paths). I then made a deal with myself, that if I could sense the Berlin's peak at 45 minutes (my self imposed limit), I would allow another 15 minutes if necessary. I only needed 50.
The top looked familiar. From when, I don't know, but it must have been years ago. It was just a vast field of white, wind blown and crusty snow. A white desert. There were a couple large stone blocks in the middle, or in my mind, a perfect spot to take some pictures. However, I couldn't hang out long, with a bitter wind blasting me from seemingly every angle. I could feel my body heat leaving me, so I decided to leave, less I stiffen up and make the trip back interesting.
|Pictures rarely do nature justice.|
In any case, since the way back is mostly downhill, I got back in no time. I found myself sliding with each step going down, and once I became comfortable with the feeling, I enjoyed it. I actually started laughing to myself and playing like a kid, seeing how far I could go. I only landed on my ass once, in one particularly steep section.
Once back at the car, I realized a dozen other vehicles had arrived. There was a couple putting on snow shoes. A pickup backed up to the trail head, which I can only assume is where the ATV came from. Then, just as I was hopping into the car, some snowboarders came barreling out of nowhere.
I had a really fun time out there. Reaching the summit of Berlin Mountain wasn't my plan, but I guess I didn't realize how close I was to it. I think it could easily make a nice training run, if I can stomach that wasted time in the car. Also, I tried to record it with Gaia GPS on my phone, but when I got home and looked at it, the damn thing only recorded 0 ft, aka nothing. It's usually very reliable, oh well.
Here are some more pictures if you're interested...
|I climbed a tree for this one!|
Feel free to leave a question or comment about this post!