Tag CT

new england autumn

fall

Well, the tail end of it at least. Despite Delta’s best efforts to delay my visit (& subsequent return), I caught a few late leaves while exploring some great trails.

The pic above is from the Mattabesett Trail (I think). It is a 50-mile section of the newly-formed 800+ mile long New England Trail (part of which is also known as the CT Blue Blazes Trail.) I didn’t have much time to explore (Anders was on a road ride), but what I saw, I liked! After an initial steep rocky ascent, it evened out a bit to some very runnable, beautiful singletrack. I can’t wait to explore this trail system more in the future!

We also had a few spins around Tyler Mill, both on foot and wheels. I’d really love to get out here on a “modern day mtn bike”, as the beast I’m borrowing must weight at least 10 lbs more than my Lynskey, and the front suspension has long ago stopped working. But, 2 rough wheels are better than none, and it was definitely fun to be out there. I’m not sure what I’d compare these trails to in the southeast – not as groomed, lots of trails crisscrossing, with everything from dirt road to big drops, creek crossings and more. Definitely easy to get lost out here!

Can’t leave out our other favorite place to stop – Gouveia Vineyards. Unfortunately they were sold out of their Cabernet Franc, but we indulged in some other deliciousness.

Anyways, the next trip should coincide with some white stuff on the ground – really hoping to check out this place!

real winter running


Sure, I know all about winter running in the south. but how do the folks up in the great white north do it? Well, I got a taste of it last week up in CT. I finally made it to Sleeping Giant State Park (about 20 min NW of New Haven). (Trail Map Here) I had checked out the trail map previously (tons of routes to choose from!) but this was my first visit to the park. We had about 10” of snow 2 days prior, so this southen girl was smiling ear to ear. I didn’t know what to expect as far as trail conditions, so my expectations were light – no matter what, I knew that I’d be having fun. I found the trailhead and set off on what looked like a frequently traveled snowshoe path. Looking at my map, I decided to follow the blue tail – the most scenic, but also the most difficult. :-) The shoe prints ahead dwindled until there was just one set – which definitely helped mark the path and pack down the snow a tad. The few times I stepped off trail, I sunk well above mid-calf. (At that rate, my toes would have been cold quick! The breathabe mesh of my Vasque Blu SL’s are geat for running in the south, but let too much of the dry fluffy snow in. maybe gaiters would help some? or gore-tex?)


The trail lived up to my dreams – A true Winter Wonderland! White snow, blue skies, and great views fom the giant’s knee & leg :-) I was able to get a light running pace going a few times, although it wasn’t easy – high stepping (to minimize the snow covered shoes) and keeping a balanced center of gravity (to offset potential slipping). Had one close call crossing a snow covered creek – one foot broke though some ice, but I didn’t get too wet. Although time was getting short (the sun sets so early!!), I was stubbon and kept going to the tower – a beautiful rock structure built in the 30s. Instead of taking the orange or yellow back as planned, I played it safe and took the red trail south to Mt. Carmel Road and ran back to my parking spot off Chestnut. I didn’t see a soul out there (maybe because it was midday on a Monday), but I imagine it is a popular spot with the locals year round. (On a sidenote, the Quinnipiac Trail is on my to-do list: 24 miles in its entirety!)


In general, I dressed well for the run – temps were close to 30, but the wind creeping up over the west ridge blasted me a few times. I was glad I had a backup jacket in my pack. This was my first run with the Ultimate Direction Wink pack – normally I stick with thei handheld or the tiny Nathan pack, but needed the extra room and hydration tube insulation – quite comfortale to run in as well!

Gear:
(let me know you fav winter items, as this is still new to me!)

mountain hardwear gloves & fleece hat
icebreaker wool baselayer
TNF fleece and vest
patagonia nine trails jacket
tights
smartwool socks
Vasque Blur SL shoes
Ultimate Hydration Wink pack… with banananuun (to make me think of tropical warmness!)


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