October 13, 2010
Everyone is familiar with the wonderful feeling you get inside when you complete something – be it big or small. I went into the woods today for only a short time, but in doing so, I was able to complete something. And so when I drove home after the work was done, I was in a very satisfied mood.
The run was on the Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail. This trail spans the southern breadth of the park between – you guessed it – the towns of Tuxedo (on the West) and Mt Ivy (on the East). But unlike the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, whose 23.5-mile length I had run all in one day back in early September, the T-MI Trail was one that I had truly done in bits and pieces over the course of the past two months. By my count, this would be the 5th time my feet would touch ground on the Tuxedo-Mt Ivy, and as far as the project that I’m working on goes, it would be the last.
I would be knocking off two short sections of the trail that lie on either side of Seven Lakes Drive, at the southernmost tip of Lake Sebago. But the (admittedly small) problem that I faced was that there was no place nearby to park. And so, I scouted out a boat launch on the map that was about 3/4 of a mile north of the trail, and settled my car in there and got ready. I wasn’t in the mood to load on my Hydrapak today for this short run, so instead, I filled a couple of bottles on my FuelBelt, and wrapped it around my waist.
On the way down the road to the trail, I passed several groups of high school-aged girls running along the shoulder on the other side. And further along, a parked car and a middle-aged man standing alongside it looking at a stopwatch. This man was apparently ‘coach.’ It was wonderful to see a group of youngsters out here training in the beauty of the park. After about 7 minutes of jogging, I found the trail, and made a left turn into the woods.
I began the slow climb up the northern face of Halfway Mountain. I had scaled this slope only just yesterday with my friend Joe on the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail, but by comparison, this ascent was much more forgiving. After perhaps 10 minutes of steady tracking up the mountainside, I reached the junction of the blue Seven Hills Trail. Upon looking at the map, I decided not to do an about face, but rather, to follow the Seven Hills Trail to the woods road known as Woodstown Rd (they couldn’t think of a better name? LOL!), and then backtrack to Lake Sebago from there.
I have to confess, after yesterday’s experience in Torne Valley, I had snakes on my mind for most of that first section of the T-MI Trail. I approached each cluster of large rocks with a lot more caution than ever before, and I felt a sense of great relief upon reaching the woods road. It had a feeling of safety that I really needed!
The woods road was a bit rock-strewn in some spots, but it was a steady downhill all the way, so I was back to Sebago in no time. I crossed over Seven Lakes Drive and began Part Two of today’s activity. I had another 3/4-mile section of the T-MI to cover and I would be done. The first portion skirted the bottom of Lake Sebago, and as I passed, I saw a fisherman out on the lake in a little silver row boat. After leaving the lakeside, I crossed over a paved camp road, and began a moderate climb up a small mountain that, by my map, had no particular name. Over the top of this mountain I went, and down the other side, where I eventually reached a swamp at the junction of the White Bar Trail. This was it. The Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail was now in the books!!
OK, so all that was left to do was get back over the mountain, out to the road, and back up Seven Lakes Drive to the boat launch where Maxine was parked. As I reached the road, I stayed right in stride, gazed upon the beautiful blue waters smiling at me from Lake Sebago, and basked in the late-afternoon sun of this glorious Fall day in the Hudson Valley. There was no place else I would rather have been.