Browse Category: Nature/Wildlife

90 Minutes of Pure White Snow

Snow on Mt. Tammany ahead

Last week’s training run took me to Mahlon Dickerson Reservation. This week’s run took me to Mt. Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap, one of my most favorite places on Earth.

My training plan called for 9 miles this week. The plan starts at 6 miles and adds 3 miles each week. I know it’s not the best idea, but I’ve become a bit of a lunatic in my plans in order to get ready for a 50K on April 21 that I really do not want to miss. So I set out for the Gap with 9 miles in mind.

However, there are always things that challenge my accomplishment of all the miles I have in my mind. For one, a nor’easter covered northern New Jersey with several inches of snow a few days before. Also, my family’s schedule has gotten pretty hectic with a toddler in the house, both my wife and I working full time (she working two careers), and both of us needing time to run. The first challenge made the trails harder to run on. The second group of challenges means my time for exercise has decreased, which means my physical conditioning has decreased. I should add one other factor here. My weight has increased. Lugging myself up a mountain is no small feat at this point.

What follows are photos (and a video) and some comments in three sections: The Way Up, The Fire Road, The Way Down.

The Way Up

The snow made for gorgeous scenery. The Red Dot trail up Mt. Tammany was packed with snow, not too hard to navigate. The views were beautiful.

Looking through the Gap down the Delaware River, one third of the way up Mt. Tammany
The view from Mt. Tammany looking over the Delaware River, Mt. Minsi (PA) and the Poconos

The Fire Road

One aspect of my family’s tight schedule is that my wife often works on the weekends. Add a snowstorm into the mix and time becomes even more limited. Due to that snow, I postponed running until Sunday, but had to wait until the afternoon when my wife got home. Well, that added another challenge. By the time I got to the Gap, there were quite a few people on the trails. That just makes it hard to run while maneuvering around folks, something that contributed to badly injuring myself in 2016.

So, when I got to the head of the Tammany Fire Road trail, I decided to see how far I could make it along that route. The trail was covered by several inches of pristine untrod snow. It was irresistible, my pathway to solitude away from the crowds.

I stomped through that snow for 45 minutes making it almost a mile and a half. My toes were getting cold even in their wool socks. My thighs were on fire from marching nonstop. So I retraced my steps back to the Blue Dot trail.

The pristine untrod Tammany Fire Road
The desecrated trod-by-Snyder Tammany Fire Road

The Way Down

The way down the Blue Dot trail was slushy and sloppy. My thighs were on fire but I had a good run down the mountain.

At the bottom I was surprised by the number of trees that had fallen in the storm along the Dunnfield Creek. It was quite a mess! Climbing over some of these obstacles was a challenge with my spent thighs.

I called it a day at 2 1/2 hours with 6 miles covered. I didn’t hit the 9 mile mark. The effort expended in the snow made up for the 3 missed miles.

View from the Blue Dot Trail looking North to the next ridge upon which the Appalachian Trail traverses
The Blue Dot Trail along Dunnfield Creek looking up toward the AT
Along the Blue Dot Trail near Dunnfield Creek
On the Blue Dot Trail with the bridge crossing Dunnfield Creek in the background

An Early Saturday Morning at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation

Is that a porta-potty on my shoulder or am I just happy to see you?

Since it has been decided by unanimous executive decision (by me, myself, and I) to prepare for the Hyner Challenge 50K as best as possible over the next two months, today was my first of 8 planned weekly “long” runs. The object of this plan is to build up my distance each week until I reach the goal of 31 miles at the race on April 21. This is the plan of a lunatic, but I won’t get into that now. Maybe I’ll address the lunacy as I move along in the plan.

If you peruse my blog posts over the past year, it quickly becomes evident that one of my favorite places to run is Mahlon Dickerson Reservation. It’s close to home. It has varied terrain. I usually do a 6 mile loop there. So it made sense to start with that loop on my return to training after my latest injury.

Below are some photos from the trail with a few more comments mixed in.

Follow this link for a video from the same morning: February 24, 2018 – The Birds.

Good running conditions today
Around mile 3

Of course, my ankle was bothersome while running. That’s my new norm. My legs where a bit tired. My aerobic capacity has declined due to inactivity. Weighing 226 pounds now doesn’t help anything.

Beaver Brook

While writing this post I learned that a beaver’s home is called a “lodge.” I guess you could say I relearned it, because when I looked it up I thought, I knew that. But that spoiled a pun I was going to make for the next 2 pictures. I was going to say, “Beaver Dam” for the first and then, “Damn Beaver” for the second. You know, because the damn thing is eating the hell out of that tree. But that bit of wit got “lodged” midstream by my reacquired knowledge.

A beaver lodge
Beaver damage

What is interesting about the next 2 pictures is that one half of the sky was covered by clouds and the other half was perfectly blue. There was a demarcation directly overhead. When I faced the direction of the clear sky, my surroundings appeared more colorfully and the blue of the sky was reflected off the wet trail. (The photo does not do it justice.). When I faced the opposite direction toward the cloudy sky, everything looked bland. If you had seen me at that point, turning 180 degrees back and forth, you would have sworn I was lost. I was simply amused by the color observations.

Facing the blue sky
Facing the cloudy sky

And then there is graffiti on a tree. These letters were either sliced long, long ago and have expanded in width, or someone carved them with a spoon. Logic says it’s the former. I hope “JW” is still remembered.

Is that a “J” or a “V”? Did someone’s Volkswagen die here?

That’s a wrap until the next batch of photos from the woods.

The Birds

When your early morning run in the woods reminds you of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

These birds were making quite the racket at 6 AM on a Saturday morning! Close to the end they suddenly get quiet all at the same time then pick the noise up again. They did this several times while I watched them. It was almost like someone was conducting them.

Photos from this morning can be seen here: February 24, 2018 – An Early Saturday Morning at Mahlon Dickerson Reservation.

Point Mountain

A few pictures from a brief hike at Point Mountain with my son. This is two months after surgery on my ankle. Just going a few hundred yards on the trail hurt pretty good. Running on trails feels so far away.