Since I moved out to Ithaca I’ve always wanted to get out to the finger lakes national forest, but didn’t get there until my run today. As reported, it was very muddy. I decided to just plow through and accept the muddy, wet shoes. I almost got my shoe stuck a couple of times, but overall this was a very lovely run and course! Also, the directions were great!
I really wanted to get in a challenge course on my long run Sunday. I was debating between Ludlowville or Blueberry Patch. I saw that @amy-dawson was at Blueberry Patch yesterday, so I asked her about the trail conditions. She gave me the best advice: ‘embrace the muck!’
It wasn’t long before I had to take Amy’s advice. A few times I thought my right shoe was going to get sucked off my foot. Then I was afraid I would slip and land on my butt in a pile of muck.
A bug flew up my nose at which point I decided I’d rather eat a bug then have it go up my nose. Would it burrow into my brain?
I saw fish in the pond along the Interloken Trail off of Burnt Hill Rd.
I also snapped some pictures of the beavers’ work to share with my Dad.
I was scaring up the toads as I ran by. Most of them were pond side, but a few hopped across the trail into the pond. I hoped that I wouldn’t accidentally kick a toad as it hopped in front of me. I didn’t.
After taking the pictures, I forgot my embrace the muck mantra and started tiptoeing around the mess. I have no idea what I was thinking but was soon back to tromping through the mud.
The last quarter of the trail was pretty tough for me. I was tired as I haven’t been running trails. I made it through without losing a shoe or falling on my butt; so I’m calling it a win.
I made it back to my car. The rotten small black flies didn’t give me much opportunity to decide what to do about this:
And apparently, I left my camera on after taking pictures at the pond and took a series (223 to be exact) of photos and videos.
Here is the conversation with my family after I decided what to do about the muck.
All and all, I really enjoyed this course!
Has anyone run this course or nearby areas recently? I’m curious about how muddy it is now!
I ran on the Interlokan Trail for my final training run for the Thom B on Wednesday. It is really drying out finally. There was literally only one muddy spot in the three sections that I ran on. Beautiful.
Thank you for the intel, Tom! I think I might try to get out there on Thursday!!
I ran the course on Saturday (5/20) morning, first time ever for me. I’m happy to report that although there were many, many muddy spots, things have dried out considerably (compared to pix that were posted a couple weeks ago), and I was able to run around (rather than through) virtually all of them, with little trouble. So I managed about a 10:15 mpm average pace, considerably faster than I’d anticipated. Opening and closing the gates (about 4 total, I think) at the pasture edges was a little tricky, but I got the hang of it after the first couple. Hopefully Saturday’s afternoon rain didn’t deteriorate things too badly.
Thank you, John. for my Thursday attempt!
This was my first time running on most of these trails. The only section I had run before was the Finger Lakes/North Country Trail part. One reason I really enjoy the Challenge is that it gets me out on new runs. Given the recent dry weather, the trail was mostly dry with only a few muddy patches, not mostly muddy with a few dry patches that previous posters experienced! This is a beautiful run, although, not wanting to repeat my face plant at Thom B last weekend, I spent a fair amount of time looking carefully at the ground! Crossing the cow pasture was a little nerve wracking as the cows were very interested in my canine companion, even on a very short leash. I picked her up and walked slowly through the herd so as not to get them too stirred up. We were out early enough that there was lots of birdsong; Ovenbirds and Eastern Wood Peewees in particular, and Bobalinks in the big meadow. With about 2 miles to go, Nora came flying by in the other direction, a big smile on her face. That woman can run!
Back at the car a tick check revealed one on the dog, none on me. Get out there before the trails get more overgrown. Conditions are great now!
FYI, saw this post on the Finger Lakes Trail: Hikers & Friends Facebook page. Please be extra careful to close the gates behind you and don’t let the cows out!
Hi, hikers! Gentle reminder that if you’re hiking the Interloken Trail to please close the gates behind you so cows in the pasture don’t get out! My husband grazes his cows in the Finger Lakes Forest over the summer and heard today some cattle got loose because a gate on the trail wasn’t secured. Believe they are back in the pasture now so fortunately there are no accidents or missing cows. Cattle typically graze from May to October in the fields so please be extra careful!
Anne and I ran Blueberry Patch this morning. This is a beautiful course, we both really enjoyed it, and even though it rained last night it wasn’t all that muddy. Didn’t see any cows but did see a turtle, several orange newts, heard lots of birds including a Veery, also heard lots of frogs (singing?) and saw lots of evidence of horses. This is my favorite place in the trail, at about mile 7 1/4. You emerge from the woods, cross a road and go through a gate, and this open field with vista beyond is suddenly in front of you.
I ran today’s group run at the Blueberry Patch course with a hope and trepidation. Hope that it would be a nice run in the woods and meadows with friends. Trepidation that it would be very muddy, hilly, and difficult. I’ve run Finger Lakes 50s on these trails twice; once in (I believe) 2018—the year when it was epically rainy. Hope had the full hand today, with temps in the low 60s, lots of flowers and greeny-green woods, and only mild mud. I ran in a friendly, fluid group that hung together, joined another group, and spread apart again. The last mile or two I was with a woman named Esmerelda(?) - I may have heard her name a little wrong. We took a picture in the last field with the nice view.
After the run, @adamengst and me and @Gretchen continued our carpool into Trumansburg for an inpromtu brunch at Creekside Café. Ambience was nice, coffee wasn’t hot enough, breakfast tacos were super yummy. We ventured across the street afterwards to Gimme and hung out on their fire escape patio, where we enjoyed the newt murals and basked in the sunshine.
I enjoyed my morning, and my shower and nap!
When do blueberries come in season? That was a question asked by our carpool (@tonya, @adamengst, and I) this morning on the way to the Blueberry Patch Campground for the Challenge Course group run. While we didn’t find any blueberries, there were many multifloral roses in full bloom along the sunnier sections of trail, which have one of my favorite fragrances in this world. Mmmm.
I didn’t know my way around these trails so I was grateful to stay with Jody and Damian Clemons. Actually, Damian was kind enough to stay with us - often running ahead for a time, and then doubling back to make sure we were going the right way.
The view down to the Seneca Lake Valley from the field with the tree was spectacular. My phone doesn’t have the right lens to do it justice so I just got a selfie of the three of us with the cool tree.
We were careful to shut and lock the gates behind us to not let the cows out!
After getting back and departing Blueberry Patch, Tonya, Adam, and I took a side trip into T-burg for breakfast sandwiches and tacos at the Creekside Cafe. I hadn’t dined there before and my sandwich was very tasty. Then we ventured across the street to Gimme Coffee for a mocha latte and some easy rest time on their fire escape patio area overlooking the creek and mural below which included paintings of a few red newts.
I enjoyed finishing up the challenge with a lovey run/walk/hike with @raenb0. We saw a snake and a toad and didn’t let the cows out.
Happy Fathers Day! A “gift” today from my wife and kids was the chance to get out for a long run. I started around 5:15 on the first of three circuits of Blueberry Patch, timing the start so I could start loop 3 with the FLRC group. We’re so close to the solstice I didn’t need a headlamp at the beginning. I felt really good through 2.5 loops and the group’s energy kept me moving along for the last 4 miles. The post-run watermelon tasted as good as it always does after 4-5 sweaty hours — like a cool crunchy slice of heaven but sweeter.
Had a lovely day run/hiking this course with the indefatigable @heathercobb3! Perfect weather, good company and no bugs made this a wonderful day in the woods. And we didn’t even get eaten by alligators (but I was pretty sure they were lurking in those swamps…)
It was great to run with you Gretchen.
Same here. Also great to put faces with names we see on the Challenge Leaderboard!
@jennarice and I carpooled to the Finger Lakes National Forest, where neither of us had ever been to run before (I had been to spectate FL50s), this morning. With the help of the outstanding RunGo directions, we hardly needed to do any navigation - our only real wrong turn came when a woman on horseback started trying to chat with us just as we were looking for the first turn off Burnt Hill Road.
The mud is not so bad anymore on most of the trails, but there’s still a section between milepoints 3 and 4 where the trail alternates between muddy and dry surface - a lot of the mud there also looked like it had recently been churned up, presumably by FL50s yesterday.
I was VERY proud of myself as we went into the back half thinking how I had managed not to fall on any of the trail courses this year, and then I fell twice in the last mile But since my first year in the challenge I fell more like 2x/course I’m very happy to take 2x total!
With this I am done with the challenge and just in time since I am going on a research trip for work from Thursday through August 2. But in the last days after I get back, I may have plans…
I did it! Last course Done!
And as I suspected, I saved the hardest one for last!
Man that was tough but I loved it!
If I ever needed proof I am not quite ready for trail Racing this is it
I figured it would be muddy, and I am not quite ready to sacrifice my new shoes to the mud gods yet
So I grabbed a retired pair of shoes and put my spikes on for the first time.
I absolutely adored these trails!
It was not my first time on them, but when I was on them last time it was a very different experience
Last year I rode these trails on horseback for an endurance race in the fingerlakes forest, and it was one of the best experiences of my life! And it was so nice to revisit the trails, even if I wasn’t on horseback cantering through the woods again.
As I ran the trails today, and hit the hills, I did miss riding though
But on foot, I am have gained a new respect for both Horses and People running these trails! Very technical, muddy, and trip hazards galore, but it is so great for ankle mobility, actually hips too, Well everything really
To move at speed, pay attention to terrain, and preplan steps and pathways, minimizing brushing up on plants (stupid ticks!) it is so very engaging.
I completed the course in once piece and tickfree
The verdict of my spikes though,
They were well worth it for the muddy sections technical parts of the trail.
On driveways/stones/road they are very loud and a bit unstable, but they are made more for winter
With the way the lungs are situated and fact I wear my shoes more on the outside of the ball of my foot, I felt a bit unstable and it did change my gait when I wasn’t in mud or trail, but overall I still think they were worth wearing for this adventure. The other thing I would note for anyone interested in these, is the do push down on the toe box, and that can be a little uncomfortable.
They did also help keep my trail gaiters in place so that is a plus
I have to say, Thank you for all of you who put this challenge together! It has been so much fun and such great motivation to learn new trails!
But I am not done with the courses just yet ^_~ Still have to get Matt through them all
Beautiful morning for Blueberry Patch. This was Simon’s last course in his personal challenge of completing 7 courses this year, matching his age of 7. He wanted to do this course instead of Black Diamond because it looked like a more exciting trail adventure. My husband Ian came along too, just for fun and more peace of mind in case someone got hurt. Ian’s big into cycling and hiking, but almost never runs. (He had already done a 2-hour bike ride at 5am, but was still up for joining us!) We all enjoyed the course, the mud was minimal, the scenery was lovely, and Simon happily jogged along pretty much the whole time, enjoying every little RunGo prompt. At around mile 6, we bumped into @caitlin-loehr hiking with some friends. I failed to take photos in the woodsy sections of the trail, but here are some nice grassy ones.