New Bedford

New Bedford

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 4th Weekend at Franconia Brook

I will attempt to summarize the weekend the best I can and highlight the important stuff. A ton of stuff happened.

July 1st: Normal 6:15am wakeup. Finished packing up my food and my backpack. Meet John at HQ to check in for the weekend and mentally prepare for it. I did get some of the new pants (dark green). Pretty fancy and fit great. Headed out to the campsite at around 9, but I was starving so I stopped at Mr. W's House of Pancakes for a hefty breakfast. It was called the "Big Breakfast" and it included two eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausage links, home fries, and two pancakes. Hit the spot. Made it up to the campsite around 10:30 and set up the usual stuff. Did what I could for work by clearing out some of the freshly cut down trees (or at least parts of em). Within the first 5 minutes of work, my glasses flew off my face after tossing a log away into the woods. I started to freak right away because either I was gonna step on them or never find em. I became a bit nausea because of the blurry vision and the increased heart rate. Eventually I found em and took a huge sigh of relief. Not the way to start off the weekend. Took a break for a run. Ran up the Osseo trail and back. Took a dip at the ranger pool and stood waist deep in the water for about 4 minutes to ice the legs. Brought my PB&J and Clif Bar. Talked to some campers and found out a couple, Doug and Sabrina were getting married on top on Bondcliff on Saturday. They had never been up there before so I was actually really pumped for them. The weather was supposed to be clear and in the 70s. Also, Doug was from Keene so that was neat. I said I was running the 4 on the 4th and he knew exactly what I was talking about. He said he ran it one year and 4 miles was too much for him.
This weekend was already different with the amount people slowly filling in the campsites throughout the day. Ended up with about 35 people at the 15 or so campsites we have. Fairly relaxing night. Some of the campers backgrounds were this girl Beth that was just a thru hiker, a family/friends that were either from the Boston area or Maine, three guys fishing for the weekend and using the campsite as a base camp, a couple originally from Australia now living in the Netherlands and in the US on conferences because they are both research scientists, a couple (both do GIS work) with their daughter from Rhode Island introducing her to hiking, a dad and daughter that were from all over (Kansas, Idaho, Iowa, and some other places) and heading up to northern Michigan for the 4th of July, and then the group at the end of the campsite. John said I would have one of these groups at some point. They are called the "cooler group" and basically just chill at the campsite all day. The official definition is a group of people that make the effort to drag a cooler of alcoholic beverages the 2.7 miles to just drink and be rowdy their whole stay. This group was a step below this, but pretty dang close. They weren't too loud or annoying, but it made the weekend have a different vibe.

Summary: the run came out to 10 miles (70:33) and was very enjoyable. Nice weather and got a new record from the bridge. 17:36 for the 2.7 miles for the mostly gradual uphill trail. I was starving by about 5:30pm and made some freeze-dried food. It was delicious, beef teriyaki with rice. Easy cleanup too since you just add water and eat out of the pouch. 

July 2nd: Woke up after some weird dreams. Ate some breakfast, nothing new. Oatmeal with raisins and some applesauce. John radioed in that he was coming up with some water. He had an additionally present. A US Forest Service winter hat for more the month of August and September. Friggin sweet! Then he said I could help him out on patrol and head up to Bondcliff. He headed out his way and I rushed to get my daypack together. I was super pumped to get a hike in. I briefly wrote up a description of the internship for when I put it on my resume, which was kinda exciting. I made my way towards Bondcliff around 11ish. I had to use the waiters to cross the river. It was a success and I did not get wet at all. Perfect weather for a hike. I had 1.8 miles to hike to the Bondcliff trail then 4.4 miles to the summit. It was a suggested 3 1/2 hour hike. I managed to truck up in 2:10. Minimal stoppage, waited to eat at the summit. Unfortunately I had to wear the uniform, which consists of dark green pants and two short sleeve layers on top. Both are 50/50 polyester and cotton. Since I was clocking off 15-20 minute miles (which is a solid pace for hiking), I was sweating up a storm. Worth it though because I made it time for the reception for the wedding. It was only 8 people, but it was cool to be up there with the group. They were all chill people that reminded me of hanging out with my running buddies in Keene. Along the way up and down, I found a washcloth draped over a tree branch, a small pile of remains of a fire right off the trail (brought my work gloves so I could disperse the ashes and burnt branches), meet a French couple that my semester of French did not pay off because I blanked on everything, and meet a dog and his owner (I say it that way because the owner said he was just the dog's chaperone while he does the 48 peaks). He had just finished 26, 27, and 28. Made it back down from the summit in 2:00 and changed up after in running shorts to rinse off at the ranger pool. A few campsite groups were there, but it was cool. I stayed in the water for at least 10 minutes because I wanted to keep down the swelling of the legs and have them recover faster for Monday's race in Keene. Made some rounds to meet any new people that arrived at the campsite while I was on patrol. Many of the campsite had the same occupants, but others did not. Some new ones included a dad and his two sons fishing for the weekend, a woman and her little cousin who had not camped before, a guy and his dog that kept to themselves mostly, a couple that were younger and real cool, a father and son looking for a big day hike for the next day, and a Asian family from the Boston area that grabbed the last site for the night. I asked the younger couple, Rob and Sarah, what they were having for dinner. They responded with beans and hotdogs. Later, Rob mentioned he forgot the beans in the truck. As a caretaker, I decided to give them my extra can of refried beans because hot dogs were just not enough. They were grateful. It was the least I could do. Other things that were completed during the evening were cleaning the bathrooms (the whole 9 yards), built a fire because I was bored a man (my instincts screamed "Make a damn fire" so I did), and organized my stuff for departure tomorrow for Keene.

Summary: Took the day off from running, but I did hike almost 13 miles. I penciled it in as a cross training day and do not feel guilty at all. I did not want to overdo it and feel like crap for the race on Monday.

July 3: The day went to according to plan. Woke up right at 6am and hit the trails jogging super easy because I was still half asleep and little sore from the hike the day before. Made it down to the parking lot in 22+ minutes, which is usually a 19 minute trip. Saw John on the way down and stopped to say hi. Continued out of the parking lot onto the road. Turned around at 28 minutes and back up the campsite. Made some breakfast. I was so hungry and probably had some low blood sugar because the pretzels and nutella were amazing. People kept on rolling out between 8 and 10 in the morning. Eventually, the campsite was empty except the the dad and his two sons that were out fishing already. Two guys came in at about 9:30 and I chatted with them for a while. A couple stopped in and planned to spend the night. It was the woman's first time not car camping. After I told her that we have a bear box and toilets, she was actually dissapointed that she had all the luxuries. I then replied with that she could grab a shovel and go 200 feet off the trail to use the bathroom. She laughed and they were on their way to set up their site. I headed down to the parking lot to drop off the battery Lincoln Woods let me borrow after mine died. I was ill prepared and did not have a backup.  John returned from patrol around 11:20 and we caught up with how the weekend went. He headed out and I just chilled at the campsite until about 5. I biked down with my pack and began my journey south to Keene for the night. Made it to Keene around 8 and ate some canned ravioli to carb up for the race. The group (Tim, Ryan, Thomas, Amy, Najem, Goup and I) went to the movies at 9:30 to either see Bad Teacher or Transformers 3. Transformers 3, amazing! Enough said. Go see it.

Summary: Long day. 7+ miles in the morning. Kept it slow and easy. Had been up from 6am to 12:45am. Almost 19 hours. Slept head to toe on the futon with Najem. Slept like a baby. Ready to race.

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