Friday, August 2, 2013

Hiking, A Float Down the Merrimack and the Bear Brook Marathon

Upon returning from Germany, I've dedicated my summer to getting outdoors as often as I can. After Amber and my hike with Michael Wade, I have had several other fun outdoor excursions. The following Wednesday, my childhood friend, Barry, and I headed back up north to do the Lafayette-Little Haystack Loop. For a peak that typically brings with it some pretty lousy weather, I have been getting very lucky this year on top of it. We had a great day of hiking and catching up. I still have not gone left at the fork in the road on Falling Waters Trail to "Shining Rock". I am usually tired enough after the nearly three miles of straight up that I opt for the summit. I posited this option to Barry but he, like me, wanted no part of it. We will have to save it for another day. He and I are pretty evenly matched hikers so most distances don't feel like a lot of effort just more of a good workout while enjoying the beauty of the Whites.

 The following Wednesday brought  a very different type of adventure with my cousin, Joey. 
Danny: What do you want to do today?
Joey: I'm up for anything
Danny: Wanna buy some inner tubes and float down the Merrimack River?
Joey: Sounds like fun.  
That's the cool thing about Joey, he really is up for almost anything.
Danny: Hey Joey, wanna drive to Cincinnati and run a marathon?
Joey: I haven't run in several months but sure thing.
Danny: Hey Joey, wanna spontaneously fly down to Atlanta for Hotoberfest?
Joey: Sure thing.
Danny: Hey Joey, wanna pick me up at midnight in Boston?
Joey: Errrr. Not so much. [but then he does it]

And so it goes.
And so we went to the store to buy inner tubes but apparently they don't sell adult sized inner tubes very many places and rather than try to fit our bodies into child sized rubber ducky inner tubes we ended up going to the camping section and buying inflatable camping mattresses. We packed ourselves some fruit, wore our running gear(because we had to somehow get back to the car after) and proceeded to float down the Merrimack River. Despite suffering  from a pretty bad sunburn, it was well worth the trip. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to see the less industrial side of the Merrimack at a slow meandering pace. Just bring bug spray for the walk to the river and sunscreen while on the river 

 That weekend I spontaneously decided that I would run the Bear Brook Marathon.
The Bear Brook marathon is put on by aR's Ryan Welts and he sure made it a day to remember. My buddy Rich had been training for this race for a while and I decided to run it with him for moral support. To get a good summary of the race, see Michael Wade's blog. To get a good idea about a secret stash of blueberries read on.
Rich and I ran pretty much the whole race within 400 yards of each other and found some pretty cool areas that we will have to explore more. There looked to be a good amount of boulder-able rocks in one section of the run and as we came upon mile 21, we found a HUGE field of ready-to be picked blueberries. And they were ready to be picked by us. Then. During the marathon. Yes we, in fact, did stop and pick several handfuls of the delicious treats before continuing on. Ryan is a sneaky devil hailing the marathon as slightly longer(26.7 miles) but then adding on ANOTHER 1/2 mile after the fact. So we ended up running a 27.2 mile marathon(or ultramarathon). The blueberries did make it worth it. 
I would definitely recommend this marathon again not only because it was a cool venue with a great group of people but also because it was offroad which allowed me to recover considerably faster than a typical road marathon. I actually went for a six mile run with Amber the next day and felt fine. Which is unusual for me running with Amber. She was probably just taking it easy on me.  

Rich and Danny at the finish of the marathon
Rich coming in strong-Danny pulling up the caboose

Danny and Barry at the Summit of Lafayette

Amber and Danny on Guyot

As if that wasn't enough fun outdoors for one weekend, that following Wednesday, I met up with Myles and a few of his friends(I'd like to think mine now too) for the Presidential Traverse. The Presidential Traverse is a beast! You immediately start by ascending over 4,000 feet in under 4 miles to get to Madison(we went from Valley Way). As if that's not bad enough, it's all small to mid-sized boulders that you have to scramble up, over and around. Descend down to Madison hut then back up to Adams then Jefferson, Clay, Washington. After a pit stop at Washington, we continued on with Monroe, Eisenhower and Pierce. Over 9,000 feet of elevation gain for the 20+ miles of hiking. Our feet were certainly sore for the rest of the day. But to use the term Michael Wade coined, we probably had nearly 8 lpms (laughs per mile).
Brett, Myles, Chris and Danny

Up Next: Oh, a little thing called TOP NOTCH TRIATHLON tomorrow morning for Amber, Deidre and our friend Sarah Morris doing her first EVER triathlon! Amber has the women's course record but she's going for the MEN'S! Watch out Chris Freeman!  

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