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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, April 28, 2008

Northern End of the Wapack Trail

On Saturday I decided to run the northern section of the Wapack Trail as a warm-up for the Seven Sisters Race next weekend. The Wapack Trail is about 21 miles end to end, starting in Asburnham, MA to the south and ending in Greenfield, NH in the north.
I did an out and back from Mountain Rd in Greenfield to Rt 101A in Temple, crossing over North Pack and Pack Monadnock Mountains...twice. The trail signs indicated a 5.4 mile one way trip but some of the online Wapack Trail info indicated this might be closer to 5 miles.
I planned an early start and was on the trail by 7am. Weather was great, although a little chilly at the start (mid 30's). I wore a 40 ounce Camel Back pack and carried a cell phone (for safety and pictures). The plan was to run as much of the trail as possible although this got a little challenging only after about a mile on the trail. The trail is marked by yellow triangles but it wasn't always easy picking up the trail, especially when running. There was some pretty steep ledge heading up to the summit of North Pack so running wasn't always an option but the view of Mount Monadnock at the summit was worth the climb. After a brief pause to snap a photo, I headed south towards Pack Monadnock. Most of trail to Pack Monadnock was runnable so I continued on at a comfortable trail pace being careful with my footing. I summited Pack Monadnock, looked briefly for the trail and headed done to Rt 101a. This part of the trail had some steep sections which made running difficult at times, including some serious ledge right near the bottom where the trail crosses the auto road at the entrance of Miller State Park. I continued down all the way to Rt 101a, turned around and headed back into the park. I stopped briefly to eat a PowerBar and checked my 1/2 way time (1:36). The elevation gain so far was just under 1800 ft of climbing and I was a little tired but generally felt pretty good and was happy with the effort so far. Although the return trip started with a steep climb up the ledge from the auto road, it was generally a much easier run then the way out. I also passed several large groups of hikers on my return trip, but most were nice enough and moved to the side to let me run by. I'm glad I went with the 40 oz Camel Back, because I sucked it dry after about 2 1/2 hours of running. Thankfully the run back was MUCH quicker, finishing the return leg in about 1:02. Return elevation gain was roughly 1600 ft of climbing.
I have no idea how this will compare with Seven Sisters but I had a good time and was pleased with my effort. I ran somewhere between 10 and 10.8 miles, took 2 hrs and 38 minutes and climbed nearly 3,400 ft. Not a bad days work.