Sunday, April 26, 2009

Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail

This is the 9th anniversary of the infamous death run of 2000, where Sue Johnston, Greg Loomis, Deb and Steve Pero trekked from Mount Monadnock to Mount Sunapee, a run/hike of about 54 miles. This was training for the upcoming Massanutten 100 Trail race and was intended to tire us beyond fatigue to better prepare us for the event that year.

This trail named the MSGT or Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail goes from the summit of Mount Monadnock to the summit of Mount Sunapee, but in order to get to the summit, one needs to climb to the top of one and then hike or run down the other, thus the 49 mile long trail becomes approx 54 miles.
This death run was thusly named due to the freezing rain that occurred during and without getting into many details, we reached the summit of Mount Sunapee all nearly frozen solid, soaking wet and tired. Deb's hair was frozen to her head! The wind up on Sunapee almost blew us off the mountain....We were shivering so uncontrollably, we were getting ready to break into the summit house just to get out of the weather. Sue eventually found the right trail down and we sprinted down with everything we had, with whoops and yells when we saw the small red Golf in the ski area parking lot.

Last year we did this run and it was a great run, photos from that adventure can be found here.

This year Deb and I decided that we would not run the whole 54 miles, but would run the 35 mile out and back northern section from the little town of Washington to the summit of Mount Sunapee and back. Because we start a tad north of Washington, driving to the trailhead to avoid some roads, the distance is 31 miles. Anyway, without going into a lot of text here, consider this a blogtorial as pictures tell the story.

Long story short, today was the first day over 80's not been more than about 50 degrees since Winter, which was only a few weeks ago ;-) Just last week's running of the DRB 50K trail race was around 50 degrees. That and the fact that an ice storm in December had the majority of the surrounding trees laying across the trail, made it next to impossible to traverse without stopping every 50 feet to hop over, crawl under and get scratched by trees and branches.

It took us 4 hours to go about 11 miles, making it to Lucia's Outlook. We made the decision to turn around there due to the heat and the fact that there just ain't no water to be had out there. We were both carrying about 80 ounces of water, but it just wasn't enough. The return trip (more downhill) only took 3:40 for a 7 hour and 40 minute 22 mile workout. It was a great heat training run with long climbs for Deb with MMT coming up in three weeks, so it was still good. With that I will proceed with the blogtorial:

Tucker getting a drink from the lake before we begin

Nice view from the summit of Lovewell Mountain, our first climb

Yet another pretty view, but....

The ugliness begins...this is the trail we came upon on the other side of Lovewell...

Deb trying to get through some tree mess....see the blaze?

Doesn't this look like fun?

Just in case....

Here we go again!

Ha! Even Tucker doesn't know how to get through this one!

Now, don't get me wasn't all bad...

Nice, ey?

New Hampshire at it's best...

Green and sunlight, Deb was loving it and seeing painting possibilities everywhere!

Oh and being New Hampshire, of course there was snow...85 degrees and snow underfoot!

Tucker was having a tough time with the heat...but whenever we came to a snowpile, he just rolled in it and we let him so that he could cool down.

This is Lovewell again, just before plunging back down to the car and cold Cokes. We paused for a break after the long climb up here.


So that's it....that was our day. We never were known for our smarts and going out to run 31 miles on a very difficult trail on the first really hot day of the year just proves it ;-)
But there are some nice things about running on trails with your best friend (no, not Tucker) on a warm summerlike day.

'til next time....

Steve & Deb (yes, and Tucker)


Dan said...

Wow, the trails are a mess. I hope Wapack is a little better. Running Bogie's race in 2 weeks. Love the Tucker vid clip.

Trail Pixie said...

What a day you had out there! You folks are ready for your 100! Heat, trail debris patience..all part of a New England training program, oui? Tucker video clip is a riot! I think I would have join in the snowy fun; it was HOT at Muddy Moose today, too!

All that moss makes me ant to reach for my permanent green light.

ultrastevep said...

Dan, Wapack isn't bad at all. I've run most of the trail already and other than a few blowdowns, it's pretty clear because the Friends of the Wapack have been going out with chainsaws the past couple of weeks to be sure it's clear.
I am working the finish and delivering drop bags to the aid stations, so I'll see you out there somewhere, if not at the finish.

Trail Pixie, We had a wonderful training day! Parts were fun, some wasn't....but all good preparation.
I would have died at the Muddy Moose with the heat...
See you out there somewhere,


RunSueRun said...

Aah, the Death Run, an adventure by which to compare all future adventures ("That was bad but not as bad as the MGST Death Run!!"). Can hardly believe it was 9 years ago. Nice that you're finally getting some warm weather back there. :)

Jeff said...

Nice report and pics! I guess I'm not the only one affected by the heat. Sunday I set out to do a Wapack Trail full out and back, but only made it from the Watatic parking lot to Temple Mt. and back. The trail is nearly 100% cleared of ice damage, but even when the leaves come out it's going to be much less shady than it used to be.

Mike said...

Steve - looks like a great weekend! Thanks for sharing. You're truly a billionaire in life my friend. Love the dog video - my choc lab Jackson is jealous. Though he did spend the weekend at the beach while I was running in Wisconsin.

See you in a couple weeks!

olga said...

It's a beautiful day out there for you guys! The trails are stunning!

I am a runner. "We are what we repeatedly do" said...

Ahhhhh so many good memories! I miss you guys. You should move to VA. See you in 18 days! Deb- you are gonna rock MMT

Peter Lubbers said...

Wow, sounds like an awesome training run. Great views!

trailgrrl said...

Great pics...I have hiked/run sections of this trail..I want to do the full trail this summer...would be good training for MMD as Garry said it was TOUGH last after reading this I have renewed interest in venturing out there...great to meet you this past weekend at Wapack...heard wonderful things about your wife Deb from Dan and KZ : )