Here we go, Leg 5! Oh yeah!
It took a while, but we got back at the trail this weekend. It was a beautiful Father’s Day morning – perfect cool temps, low humidity and three guys ready to rock. We cut back on our initial plan of doing 10 miles to a still very respectable 6 miler today, figuring we’d take it easy since we’ve been in pre-marathon training/post Cape Cod Ragnar doldrums. Nevertheless, we kicked some serious can on a very nice chunk of the Metacomet today. Hold it, did I say very nice? I think this was the best bit yet (with some serious exceptions).
We dropped a car down on Ledge Street in Plainville where the trail goes back into the woods. It looks like they really don’t want people parking here, but we found a little pull-off and didn’t find a present from the local police force when we got back. Headed back up to Mike Tyson/Fifty Cent’s place, and when we got there we prepped for our jaunt with some wild turkeys that must’ve gotten kicked out of Fitty’s party the previous night. As soon as we stepped off the pavement I saw our three-leaved nemesis. Everywhere. Knee-high and absolutely unavoidable. I wish I bought stock in Tecnu (and I really hope it works!).
A quick run down to Route 6, a dangerous blind corner/busy road crossing and we were off (don’t attempt at rush hour). The first section was great. I was feeling a bit out of sorts after not hitting the trail for so long and just kinda loafing about in early summer mode, but I quickly snapped out of it at the first outcropping. It was all worth it – gorgeous views, good friends and no worries. We came upon one of several radio towers. After my run last week in Wethersfield I started to realize how distinguishing a landmark these have become and tried to locate myself by the others I could see in the distance. If not for the towers, don’t all ridge lines look pretty much the same? I guess it’s a skill I’ll never need to learn unless I live to see them all torn down to accommodate our jet packs and hover cars (any day now, right?).
Only a mile and a half in and we couldn’t really get going due to the great stuff to look at. First the towers, then Will Warren’s Den. Poor Will Warren – I could partially appreciate his plight, but maybe not his reaction. He was flogged for skipping church (on what could have been an equally glorious Sunday morning as this….), but then decided to burn down Farmington and ran off to this mosquito infested black hole of a cave. Hmmm. Maybe he should’ve thought that one out a bit.
At the top of Rattlesnake Mountain we had the best view yet – about 220 degrees of view, none of which we had seen before. We could clearly see the path ahead and we were all really pumped. Sweet. I can’t overstate how beautiful this location was – screw those Hudson River School painters, they missed the true beauty by about 80 miles.
Coming down from Rattlesnake, we saw some great rock climbing areas. I thought we were going to lose Rob there for a minute – I could almost see the magnetic pull of the rock. He said the words “free solo” and I think if either me or Dave acknowledged it, he would’ve been on his way up.
We found our chi and started cruising along pretty good until we got to a nice outcropping called “Pinnacle Rock”. Sound familiar? I think we’ve seen more “Pinnacle Rocks” on the trail than there are “Metacomet Drives” in the snooty new developments popping up abutting the trail. Anyhow, near Pinnacle (Plainville edition), I saw the most awesome Chestnut tree. It reminded me of all the chestnut trees we saw in Germany during Octoberfest last year. I am tempted to make the trip in the fall and grab some chestnuts and try to grow one in my backyard.
Rob had a little wipeout, but it was nowhere near Dave’s ankle crusher last time. At least I got a picture of the immediate aftermath. (He said it was the early morning dappled sunlight on the ground that threw him off his pace, but I know it was the checkered socks – jealous!)
We heard I-84/Route 72 below us, and we knew we were going to be dropping down to road level again soon. Bummer. There goes the serenity. We popped out on a wicked busy road and hoofed it down to really scary Crooked Street to get over I-84. Nothing like running on a blind corner of a 4 lane road with virtually no shoulder to wake you up! Isn’t there a cell phone law in this state? I think approximately 60% of the drivers were on the phone. All of them think they are so sly about it, but I can see how easy it is for cops to pick them off – duh! If your hand is against your ear, and you are not Uhura from Star Trek or in the secret service, you’re probably on the phone!
The 2 mile run back to the car on the road was quite an experience. All uphill, either a lot of traffic or very tight little road. Glad we start Leg 6 back on the trail! I’m starting to really enjoy these runs – the familiarity of the trap rock terrain, the timing of the nice easy flat areas interspersed with quad-crushing power climbs, the spacing of the outcroppings to appreciate the view… I anticipate more of the same – is it too much to ask? We’ll see.