Saturday, May 8, 2010

If a tree falls in the woods . . .

If a tree falls in the woods, and a runner and his dog hear it, does it make a sound?  Yes it does.  Pepper and I heard a tree falling at the Ledges trail today.  It's quite impressive to hear a big tree falling but not see it.  The rain from last night and the high winds today conspired to bring it down.

We first ran the Boston Run Trail, then crossed below SR 303 to try out the Ledges Trail.  These were virgin trails for us and I am very impressed (Pepper may or may not be impressed - she loves all trails).  Both were magnificent.  The Ledges Trail more so.  The photos below are from the Ledges Trail.  I have been following Brian, a fellow member of my running club and have been dying to try out the trail where his awesome photos were taken as seen here.  So, today we did it.  We are fortunate to have such a wonderful national park within 15 a minute drive.  It was a cool 50 deg F.  The rain started at 5 PM, just as we were finishing.

OK, I mentioned the weather conditions, now lets get down to the ground.  Let me just say, it ain't fun!  Both trails are old, man-made and in the woods.  My preference would have been to leave them natural after cutting the trees and brush.  Yes, they may get muddy, but why import the stone?  It's just not natural.  At least half are "paved" with gravel.  Much of this gravel is river run stone - you know the kind, smooth with rounded edges that was excavated from a creek.  It's not the worst to run on, but not comfy either.  This type of surface tends to slow even a slow runner down.  Some of the gravel was crushed limestone - the worst surface to run on.  The other half of the run was on dirt or mud, sand, bigger stones that you could get a whole foot on, grass, leaf litter and a tiny bit of moss (the caviar of running surfaces).  These parts were the diamonds in the rough.  After a rain, well trodden soil gets cushy and is a dream to run on.

My compatriot, BarefootJosh, is a little worried about a gravel section in an upcoming race he has.  I understand.  It's not easy.  You will sacrifice time running a race barefoot on gravel surfaces.  But in order to win the BareFoot division, it must be tolerated.  It can be done!

Here are the photos:


  1. I was at Sand Run when a big tree fell onto the limestone path (I was on the trail above it). Had I been a bit faster and rounded a bend a few seconds faster, I would have actually seen the thing fall. Impressive indeed.

  2. Great photos John. Looks like nice scenery to run through.