Saturday, April 28, 2007

New Stuff - more Green Ribbon Trail


Noah and I set out to run 11-12 miles. We wanted a soft surface, not too much mud (we got 2-4 inches of rain yesterday), and not too boring. After ruling out Forbidden Drive, we thought we'd give the Fort Washington section of the Wissahickon Creek a try. I've previously been in the section between Stenton and Militia Hill twice and have found the trail to be wide, gravelly and well-drained. This time, we'd go past Militia Hill to Butler, and the out and back route would be around 9 miles and then we can tag on 2 miles some place.

When we got there, we saw that any dips on the trail were covered with small ponds/large puddles of water. The Wissahickon Creek must've risen up to the trail during the heavy rain earlier. We can hurdle over some of the puddles, but it was just a matter of time before we would get wet. The section up to Militia Hill was expected -- good, soft running punctuated by intermittent triple jumps. We managed to get through without being nearly soaked. The ponds provided a fun, little adventure in an otherwise lonely section. For some reason, very few people use this trail. And perhaps the regulars know better than to run here on this today.

From Militia Hill, we crossed Route 73 and looked for the continuation of the green trail blazes along the creek. From now on, this is new stuff to us, and I was eager to see it. While the previous section had been wide and bright, this section is narrow, heavily-shaded, secluded, swampy, and muddy. It looked fun the minute I saw it. Running single-file and trading leads, Noah and I strided, or sank, right into the slippery mud and it didn't take long before our shoes were submerged and soaked. Sometimes, we ran around the trail to avoid the deeper puddles, but that only exposed us to potential poison ivy and sticky bushes. At one point, we had to cross a stream/ridge where the cross-bridge was displaced, so we literally skated down and up the mud and somehow with the help of a tiny branch, got ourselves across. Luckily for me, Noah also likes and is good at this sort of thing.

Even though the mud provided no traction at all, we breezed through the muddy two miles. I didn't want to jinx myself during the run, but now that I got home safely, I can say it -- I've observed today that I might be a better mud trail runner than I am a rocky trail runner. My ankles agree.

The trail dumped us to the campus of Germantown Academy, and we ran across the fields onto Morris Road, but from there, we couldn't find the continuation to Butler. Noticing that the sun was starting to set, we decided to head back. Along the way, we ran up to the hill in Fort Washington State Park, up the steps to the overlook to check out the view, and then jumped on the puddles all the back to the car. Since it was pretty dark, we called it a day there.

All told, we spent 1:36 on our feet including all stops and probably covered 8-10 miles. I'd do this route again and try to find the trail from Morris to Butler and see more of the park.

1 comment:

noah said...

helen didn't say it enough: that mud was seriously slippery. the part where the bridge was out was crazy - like a 60°, 2 or 3 foot drop with zero traction.
Lots of fun, though. good muddy fun.