Sunday, August 20, 2017

Quiet Weekend

Yesterday was a quiet day. Ryan headed to the Brad for a morning run while Sam and I slept in and then headed downtown for donuts at Frosty's (yum!) and exploring the Brunswick Arts Festival which was set up and down Maine Street. A good morning although both of us were tired! The rest of the day was spent at home, relaxing, which was much needed.

Yay donuts!

This morning, I was up early to get in my run but Sam had other ideas and woke up coughing and needing her inhaler (poor kid!), so I hung out with her for a while to let Ryan get a bit more sleep. I finally woke him up around 7:45 and headed out shortly after.

The plan called for a few more miles but I've definitely picked up some of Sam's germs and have a bit of a head cold, so in the end I decided on 12 miles out and back to Head of Tides, which was a bit more reasonable in terms of time and mileage but would still make it a decent week overall without overdoing it.

It was a nice sunny morning but extremely humid and even though the run was more of a meander, I finished up totally soaked - sweat was literally running down my legs into my shoes. So lovely! Ugh. Still, it was an enjoyable wander through the Cathance and I even found a new trail segment down along the river, which was fun.

Hints of fall

Damselfly (middle) on the Cardinal Flower along the river

Pretty color constrast

It was such a nice day that after lunch, we headed over to Wolfe's Neck for a short walk, just to get some air and some movement. We saw Tami right near the trailhead and she decided to join us, bringing the park's big viewing scope with her so that we could get some awesome viewing of the three juvenile osprey up on the nest and then out to some of the ledges at the end of the Casco Bay Trail where seal often hang out. None were to be seen today but it was fun nonetheless! It was low tide, so we wandered along the shoreline, looking at hermit crabs and green crabs, learning about sponges and seaweed from Tami and about the rock runnel that I found up out of the water, which was something I'd never seen before. Neat! It was a nice, mellow way to get outside for a bit this afternoon, and we all enjoyed having our own ranger tour from Tami too :)

Beautiful view

On the rocks

Looking at the hermit crabs along the shoreline

Low tide

We watched this Great Blue Heron catch a fish and then try to figure out how to eat it. It was pretty neat!

By the time we left the park, it was after 5:00 pm so we decided to head into town and go to Little Saigon, the Vietnamese restaurant Ryan has been wanting to go to. With Sam and I both still feeling stuffy, a big bowl of warm soup sounded like a good idea and it was delish! A good way to end the weekend!


Friday, August 18, 2017


I don't understand and feel heavy-hearted about the recent hatred and violence in our country, along with the president's lack of condemnation of this nastiness, but I do know that nature soothes my soul and running and hiking out the woods and the mountain clears my head, and this week, I am incredibly grateful to be able to do these things that bring me joy, when I know many others do not have a way to find their own peace.

It was good to be back in the woods on Monday morning. Ran up and over Mt. A. and out into the Cathance for a nice 6 mile loop. Stopped on the way up the road to pick a handful of super sweet, super large blackberries and enjoyed the misty morning light rising over the Heath and along the river.

Tuesday morning, I met up with my friend Lauren at 5:30 am over at the Bowdoin field house for a run out through the Commons and Coleman Farm. Lauren's boy, Ethan, was one of the kids in Sam's daycare at Building Blocks and they've been in the same class for several years. Lauren is also an awesome massage therapist and I've gotten a few very much needed massages from her in the past few months. When I found out she had taken up trail running and was now living in Brunswick, I told her I'd show one of my favorite trail systems - always fun to show a friend the trails you love!

It was a very foggy morning and the first half mile were run in murky early morning light. We had fun chatting away as we ran along and Lauren, despite her fears, did a great job keeping up a good pace and is a natural! She loves the ocean so I knew she would like the stretch out along the tidal marsh and through the pine trees at Coleman Farms. Always so lovely out there.

Of course, soon after we had just been discussing technical trails and how this run wasn't all that technical, what do I do but trip and fall and smash my knee 😂😂 Honestly, it is so typical! Ha. I will admit that it hurt a bit and it did create a lovely river of blood down my leg, but what to do but shake it off and keep on running?! 

Ha ha. We will see if Lauren ever runs with me again ;) In the end, despite the blood, it was a good 7.5 miles for the morning! 

Thursday I hit the roads for a good 8 mile run up over Mt. A and around the Highland Green loop twice. It was a nice, cool morning and the low pinkish orange orb of the sun was rising in the pastel sky at the back of the neighborhood, which is always a treat to see. I didn't set out to run any sort of pace or even really look at my watch so was happy to see I was able to at least pull off a few low 8s without too much effort. I will admit that my knee hurt a bit from Tuesday's fall but otherwise, I felt decent.

My plan for Friday was a mountain adventure run. My initial thought was to head over to the Baldface area, but rain was in the forecast for around 11:00 am and I didn't relish the thought of being up on those ledges in the rain, so I decided to pick something closer to home. I've been wanting to get up on some of the Georges Highland Path trails for a while now, so I decided today would be a good morning for it and chose the Ragged/Bald section to explore. 

I was up and out of the house just as the sky was turning light around 5:40 and the drive only took me a little over an hour with a stop for gas. Nice to be on the roads with no traffic :) I parked in the nice lot off of Rt. 17, got suited up and headed out onto the trails a minute before 7:00 am. 

The trail meandered through some nice woods with some rocky, rooty but still runnable, albeit slowly, terrain and then climbed up to some ledges with nice views down to Mirror Lake.

The sky was overcast, but honestly, the light shining through the clouds made it all the more beautiful.

The trail ascends to near the radio (?) tower atop the Camden Snow Bowl on Ragged Mountain, and I took a wrong turn on one of the paths that went over to the tower before figuring out that the Georges Highland Path actually hugged the backside of the summit, offering some sweeping views out into the distance as it wound along ledges and through patches of blueberries. I of course stopped to pick a few handfuls :) The contrast of the blue berries, the greenish-white lichen and the changing blueberry plant leaves was beautiful.

The trail ducked back into the woods and I came across a trail sign for the Hosmer Brook Trail which leads down to the base of the Snow Bowl. I will come back to explore those trails another day, for sure, but for today, I continued on. Soon after, I hit the junction with the Thorndike Brook Trail, another access point, and then Buzzard's Ledge, with some nice views out toward Camden.

The late summer/early autumn berries and plants were putting on a lovely show, with some nice patches of mountain cranberry mixed in with and around the blueberries, bunchberries and the blue bead lily beads out on display.

The trail descended steeply to Barnestown Road and crossed it with little fanfare to wander through the woods a ways before hooking up with the trail proper up Bald Mountain. This was a short, steep but rewarding jaunt, with lovely ledges and great views. 

My watch read 5.75 miles when I turned around and I could tell, from looking out into the distance, that the rains were headed our way. I was surprised to come across about a half a dozen people climbing Bald and then another 8 people between Barnestown Road and Rt. 17 on my way back, all hiking up toward Ragged in different spots. It is good to see the trail getting some use, but I had expected things to be more quiet on a day forecasted to be rainy!

I stopped a few times here and there on the return trip to soak in the views, pick a few more blueberries, add some water to my bladder from the softbottle I was carrying in one of my front pockets and to take a few more photos, but mostly I ran as much as I could and hiked as fast as I could when I couldn't run :)

I ended up with 11.4 miles for the morning in a little over 3 hours moving time. I felt a bit more tired than I would have liked, and I suspect I've picked up a bit of Sam's cold as I was feeling quite sniffly out there, but overall, I felt solid on the climbs and my typical cautious self on the descents ;) This was not a fast 'run' but I am happy to have gotten in some good climbing while out exploring new-to-me trails, taking in some gorgeous views on some rugged but truly lovely trails and clearing my head and finding some peace. And I beat the rain by about 10 minutes, so that is all good too :)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

NJ Fun

The drive to NJ on Thursday night went fairly smoothly but 5 hours of driving is still a lot, and getting up early for my run and finally going to bed around midnight once we got all settled in at the hotel, made for a long day.

Friday morning, we got up without an alarm and down to breakfast to meet up with Irene and Dana around 8:30. The plan was for them to take Sam in the car over to Meg and Chris's place and Ryan and I would run there via the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Although it was flat as a pancake, mostly concrete and complete with a lot of odd right angles as the path wound around big buildings along the edge of the river, it was also a really neat way to see the city and get in a run that involved mostly running on pedestrian-only walkways through little green spaces, past a few parks and along the edges of some pretty fantastic waterfront apartments, plus a few industrial spaces. Neither of us was feeling very peppy so we took our time and stopped to take touristy photos and enjoy the views. There was a nice breeze and we got in a good 8 miles for the morning.

The rest of the day was spent walking through the city to lunch at Bareburger, helping Meg make the cake for Gavin's birthday party and walking down down to the pier along the Hudson River to enjoy some yummy food truck food for dinner. There may have been just a wee bit of chaos thrown in ;) but it fun to see the cousins together!

My legs were ready for a break on Saturday morning, so there was no running, but with Gavin's birthday party at the Turtleback Zoo, there was still a fair bit of walking involved! It was a nice, overcast day and we spent about 4 1/2 hours at the zoo, exploring and seeing the animals, having lunch and cake and celebrating Gavin's 4h birthday. Lots of fun!

Then it was back to the apartment to open presents, and of course, eat more :) 

I must admit to being fairly exhausted by the time this morning rolled around, so I did not get up and out the door for a run before we took off for home and made the 7 hour drive back to Maine. Such is life. But no matter, it's a recovery week anyway, so I am not too concerned :)

Overall, a great, crazy weekend with the family and so glad we had the chance to see everyone!