Thursday, October 2, 2014

Michigan and Ohio - DONE !!

I am a bit tardy in getting this posted but wanted to briefly mention that I was able to successfully run/hike 50 trail miles in both Michigan and Ohio a few weeks back.  This brings my 50 Project total to 47, with only North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Hawaii to go. 

Since we live so far north, it made more sense for us to motor on up to Montreal and from there across Ontario (unfortunately a rather boring ride), crossing back into the US at Port Huron, Michigan.  Toronto broke heat records for the day, September 5, and the day ended with an intense thunderstorm and deluge.  We intended on camping out most nights but opted for a motel room in Flint this night!  Chris is driven a bit batty by my tending towards serendipity (read lack of planning), but the next morning we discovered quite lovely trails at Holly Recreation Area.  We did the Lakeshore and Wilderness trails, then I ran the West Loop mountain bike trail.  Mountain bike trails usually make for very nice running trails, and this was the case with Holly's West Loop.  All told I got in about 15 miles at Holly.

We knew that the Run Woodstock event was going on in Hell, Michigan, and that was our next destination.  We were able to set up our tent amongst the crowd - as far as ultraruns go, this event was a huge party with Woodstock-esque bands ("Jimi Hendrix" playing the Star Spangled Banner, yeah!)  and a very loud, festive vibe - and the next day ran some of the well marked equestrian trails which were also part of the race course.  As the campground cleared out Sunday afternoon, quiet descended upon us and we opted to spend a second night while enjoying another few miles on the trails for a grand total of 17 according to my Suunto.

Our final day in the Wolverine State was spent running the Potawatomi Trail which is mostly a singleterack mountain bike loop.  It was pretty darn tootin'.  Being a Monday, I saw only a handful of bikers.  I also saw one of the funniest bumper stickers stuck to a sign:  "STRAVA:  Outing Cycling Douchebags Since 2008."  Heh, heh!

I have to admit not being too excited about Ohio and unfortunately was of the mindset of "I have only 43 miles to do" having already run a 7-mile leg stretcher in Mohican State Forest while driving home from Hardrock back in '05 or '06.  Serendipitously - that word again - my Smartphone told of a potential gem just outside of Toledo (TOLEDO!!??).  The trails at Oak Openings were awesome, albeit flat, but that made for some fast'ish miles.  Chris and I did the 16-mile Scout Trail on Tuesday followed by the Blue, Red, Grey and Yellow Trails on Wednesday, for a total of 26 miles and no repeated sections!  Toledo.  Who knew?

Next up was a visit - and a rest day - with Chris's cousin who lives just north of Columbus.  I got to see the house where Chris's grandparents lived and where his mother was born and grew up and meet some of his extended family.  Pretty neat... and they are all amazingly, surprisingly normal.  ;p  Along with Chris's cousin and her husband, we did a nice 3.5 mile walk in Highbanks Metropark.  The final Ohio miles were completed in nearby Alum Creek State Park's mountain bike network, about 13.5 miles of pretty sweet singletrack.  The Buckeye State was done!

We made our way back to Vermont via mostly interesting secondary highways, passing through Ohio's Amish Country, staying in a couple of state parks, and crossing the northern Adirondacks which entailed a beautiful ferry boat ride across Lake Champlain before the final couple of hours drive across Vermont.  Road trips with Chris are always a lot of fun but it was good to settle in at home once again.

We have been having some unseasonably warm weather the past 10 days or so, and the foliage is near peak and is just gorgeous.  With all the nice weather, we've been trying to get over to the White Mtns. more and have gotten a lot of trail miles in lately, including Mts. Cabot and Waumbek, Wildcats-Carters-Moriah, Franconia Ridge - Skookumchuck to Osseo, and the Baldfaces this past Wednesday which turned out to be one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done, anywhere.  Chris has also indulged my trailbagging/redlining obsession and helped immensely with car spotting and his company on sometimes not-so-maintained "trails."  (Three Ponds Trail anyone?)  Ah well, it's all great fun!  After starting with over 300 miles this spring, I am now down to less than 100 but probably won't finish anymore this year.  We'll see.  I'm thinking of throwing in the 162-mile Cohos Trail before I consider myself done.  (It's a TRAIL and it's in Northern New Hampshire, right?)  Of course, part of the beauty is that one is never truly "done."  Until next time...