Saturday, February 13, 2016

Park Ambassador

It was a cold, cold day.

Visit #1001, Saturday 13 February 16, 10:20AM-12:20PM, 4.4 miles.
Temps in the teens with a bitter north wind.

During the week I received an e-mail from "Stephen", a member of the "Run 169 Towns Society". Stephen discovered my blog while looking for information about Castle Craig. He wanted to run up to the castle but was curious as to what the road conditions were before he trekked up to Meriden.

Well, in an effort to be an ambassador for Meriden and Hubbard Park I chose today's work in the park would be to walk the road to Castle Craig and provide Stephen and you with a pictorial report on the running worthiness of the road.

So join me on my walk from the comfort of your home-POSEURS!

I barely crossed the gate at the end of the road when I recovered specimen #9 for the Season of the Missing Glove, 2015-2016 edition.

The road was immaculate at the start...this should be a cakewalk.

...all the way to the south end of Merimere Reservoir.

Then the road conditions turned hazardous.

I stopped to put on my Stabilicers.

You can see in the distance it looks like the road clears up.

It must have been a mirage...

...because the ice and snow quickly reappeared.

 Up over the top or the rise, just past Echo Point, it cleared again. Maybe there was hope for running after all.

Nah; it got worse again.

At the north end of the reservoir, I was deceived to think that would be the end of the ice and snow.
P.S., check out the bicycle track in the photo above. That's some crazy cyclist!

The road snakes left and right a few times before the real climb begins.

And now you're going up. Traction was best in the gutters, where there was a thin layer of snow over the ice.

Perhaps the fork to Castle Craig (bear left, Stephen!) and West Peak was clear due to the sun exposure.

This is the last grunt before arriving at Castle Craig.

Of course if you're running UP, you'll have to turn around and run back. I'm not sure which direction would be more treacherous.

I took the trails down, stopping at the Halfway House.

Inside, someone left a pile of branches should others want to start a quaint winter campfire.

I returned to the parking lot via the trails and the Soap Box Derby track, with my trash for the week.

 It sounds like Stephen will be in the Meriden area sometime this coming week. I'm curious whether my road report dissuades  him from attempting the run or helps him to prepare.

Update: Stephen says he's going to wait for more snow to melt.

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