While vacationing in Conway, NH, between trips to the beach on the Saco River and to local train stations with my family, the plan was to run a Moat Mountain traverse of sorts. I was planning on running up South Moat, across Middle Moat and down Red Ridge to the base of North Moat and then back up North and across the ridge to the car. The second morning's plans were to run up Champney Falls Trail to the summit of Mt. Chocorua. Instead I wimped out when I heard lightning and pouring rain overnight and decided on changing my Moats traverse to Monday morning and doing the Chocorua run on Sunday morning. It turned out that the rain and storms were even worse Monday, so I bagged the Moats run anyways. There's always the next time I'm up there, it's a great run and involves a lot of open ridge running which i really enjoy.
The Champney Falls Trail starts from the Kancamagus Highway and rises 2,250' to the summit of Mt. Chocorua (3,500') over the 3.8 mile trail. Along the way is the Champney Falls loop trail that during higher water is very nice, this wasn't a particularly high water time even though it had rained hard overnight. The climb is moderate the whole way to the summit with a few scrambles at the top over boulders and open rock slabs.
I started the climb up the trail around 6:15 and made my way past the falls and through some of the rocky switchbacks.
|Rooty section of trail|
|Champney Falls area|
|Looking up a section of river near the falls, water level was pretty low|
Continuing the climb up the trail from the falls, I soon hit some switchbacks where the terrain got a little steeper and footing made the run a little slower. Before I knew it, I was getting to the Piper Trail which you take to reach the summit. The running from here to treeline was pretty easy, but changed as soon as I reached the slab covered summit
|Sharp footing in some areas|
|Wet rocks made for slow going|
|Topping out above treeline, first blue sky sighting of the day|
|Looking through the clouds at the sharp summit cone|
|Some undercast clouds made the trip well worth it|
|Shiny pond in the distance, possibly Whitton Pond|
|Inov8 295s on the summit|
|Looking at the Moats ridge|
|Above treeline cairns|
|Wet angled slabs|
The rest of the trip was spent introducing my five month old daughter to her aunts, uncles, and cousins for the first time and swimming with Matthew in the Saco. We didn't pick the best weekend for weather, but made the best of the sunshine when it was out. We hope to get up North one more time before the weather turns colder.
Wapack Trail Run
I haven't returned to the Wapack Trail since running the 50 mile race in May, race report here, and I felt it was time to pay a visit to my favorite local training run. I typically run a 17-18 mile out & back here a few times a year from the Mt. Watatic parking lot in Ashburnham, MA to Windblown Ski Area. This is an opposite direction run of the Wapack Trail Race, typically held on Labor Day weekend every year. I have run the race once in 2010 and suffered miserably with an IT band injury, causing me to walk a lot of the second half of the race. I do hope to return someday that I am not away on Labor Day weekend and put in a better run than in 2010. The plan was to run an out and back from Mt. Watatic at a moderate pace and try to concentrate on climbing some of the steeper hills well.
|Looking over Binney Pond from the Binney Pond Overlook to Mt. Watatic's summit, shortly before sunrise|
|Mt. Monadnock view (15 miles East of here) from New Ipswich Mtn.|
|Nice sky colors|
|Purple mountains in the distance|
|Looking up at Barrett Peak, second to last climb before the turnaround point|
|Sun starting to rise near the top of Barrett Peak|
|Red sunlight coming through the trees|
|Mt. Monadnock view|
|Looking towards the ridgeline that I would be running shortly after|
|Rocky grassy slab running at one of the many clearings|
|Binney Pond and Mt. Watatic in the daylight|
|Looking at the backside of Mt. Watatic with Mt. Wachusett poking above its shoulder|
Next up, I hope to sign up for the Kismet Cliff Run's Beast of the East Half Marathon on 9/22 which is 13-14 miles and 4000' of climbing on the Northern end of the Moat Mountain ridge. After that will be spent running longer distances (26-30m) in preparation for the TARC Fall Classic 50k in mid-October. It is a 10k loop trail race that offers 10k, half marathon, marathon, and 50k distances and is run by the best trail running club in the area. TARC always puts on a good race and I can't wait to check out the trails of Great Brook Farm in Carlisle, MA where the race is held.