Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trustees of Reservations 125 challenge

I’m working on the “125 challenge” (running 125 miles within the Trustees of Reservations locations to celebrate their 125th year) and spent a good chunk of Sunday morning putting in some miles.  I plotted out six reservations that were within an hour drive and was out the door at 3:45am chasing sunrise.

Halibut Point (Rockport): Arrived just before sunrise (5:30am) and did 2 miles looping around the various crushed stone trails, I pretty much ran all of the available trails although there were some other unofficial trails along the ocean. Took in the scenic vista and checked out the Babson Farm Quarry.  The visitor’s center has a large tower (it wasn’t open at this early hour).  Unfortunately it was very cloudy so no dramatic sunrise.

Ravenswood Park (Gloucester): 6:00am, I picked out a nice 3 mile loop that took me up and over Ledge hill via the Ledge Hill trail, this is a very nice trail with a view of Gloucester harbor.  It is part of the Ravenswood trail race which is held in the fall.  I came back via Old Salem Road, a nice wide woods road where the bugs much worse than they had been on the single-track trail.

Coolidge Reservation (Manchester by the Sea):  6:55am, I did an easy 2 mile run that covered all of the trails in this reservation.  The start featured a 90’ climb to the summit of Bungalow Hill.  After that I was mostly on flat groomed trail that took me to Gray Beach, a very nice little beach.  After that I headed up to the Ocean Lawn which had some great views of the Atlantic.

Agassiz Rock (Manchester by the Sea): 7am, I visited both of the large glacial erratic’s called Big & Little Agassiz.  It was only a mile in the woods to visit both.  There was a bit of a view from the top of Beaverdam hill (Little Agassiz).  The deer flies were absolutely brutal so I did not linger.

Long Hill (Beverly):  7:35am, I knew this was going to be a tough one when the car was swarmed by deer flies before I even opened the door. Actually it wasn’t too bad, except when I stopped.  I ran the Main Loop (red dots) which was just shy of 1.5 miles including going up and over Long Hill.  I quickly checked out the fancy Sedgwick Gardens as I ran by.  I did the loop twice for my 3 miles.

Appleton Farms Grass Rides (Hamilton): 8:25am, This was my final run of the morning and I was happy to be greeted by a breeze which kept the bugs down.  It was a bit difficult to navigate as there are a lot more trails than on the official map.  I did the “Red Loop” and “Blue Loop” although I never saw any indication that either was marked with red or blue markers.  I thumbed along the map in order to stay on course.  The view from Pigeon hill was nice.  I visited a few of the “Pinnacles” which are scattered over the Farms.  I also used one of them as a back scratch to relieve some of the itching from the deer fly bites between my shoulder blades.  I looked like a scrawny bear rubbing against a tree.

Thus ended my 15 miles of running, along with 100 miles of driving.


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