Thursday, October 18, 2012

Uncharted and Unrecorded

Last night's trail run involved 22 lost minutes. My phone's GPS capabilities weren't so capable in finding satellites on a clear evening. Hoping that my phone would latch onto a signal mid-run once again proved folly.

The signage and infrastructure around Blue Hen Falls seems a bit overblown. There are two small parking areas on Boston Mills Road, a trailhead, bridges and a viewing deck for what amounts to a trickle over a rock formation.

The water flow here may be the result of deer urinating upstream, but research remains inconclusive.

The trail down to the fall is part of the Buckeye Trail, just north of the Boston Store. Because of my new office location, it was closer to start my run from the Blue Hen Falls area, which turned out to be a GPS black hole despite a wide clearing overhead.

The act of checking my phone every couple of minutes to see if it found a signal grew aggravating. Instead of taking the well-worn Buckeye Trail from the falls viewing area, another path required my attention. Following the stream bed (possibly cut by deer urine), this unmarked trail led deeper into the woods.

The trail was rough and a bit spotty. It required close attention and a some exploring to stay on course, as it crossed the stream several times.

Out of nowhere appeared two concrete ruins of what looked to be a bridge foundation. The stream rounded a bend to my left and disappeared behind some trees and the other side of the bank.

Having run around this area before, there is no other evidence of a road through here, but there must have been at some point.

Passing beneath this structure and across the stream again, a strange clattering arose in the near distance.

The repetitive noises reminded me of cars crossing a set of old railroad tracks. Maybe there was a road nearby after all.

I knew by the direction of the stream that I should eventually reach Riverview Road, but I also know that there is nothing on that road that would cause a car to make the noises I heard, which had to be human in nature.

The trail was a bit difficult to find once across the stream. The clattering grew louder. Wondering around, looking for the path, the source of the sound appeared. Just beyond my line of site, where the stream had disappeared, was another, more impressive waterfall, which I later learned is Buttermilk Falls.

Sure enough, wading in the shallow stream (apparently called Spring Creek), three young men were throwing rocks against the falls, explaining the clattering. A little bit farther, the trail opened to a clearing inside the property of Boston Mills Ski Resort.

Finally, once in the parking lot of the skiing venue, my phone locked onto a satellite signal. After hitting the bathroom at the Boston Store, which was just around the corner, I entered the Buckeye Trail at the intersection of Boston Mills and Riverview roads and began climbing up toward my car.

At the bottom of a steep hollow about halfway up the total incline, a deer bolted up the other side of the ravine having heard me crackling twigs. Once out of danger, he stopped and turned to look at me.
Deer or Bigfoot?
His expression seemed say, "You think you can climb hills? Pfft."

Once back at my car, my GPS said I had only gone a mile and a half in 40-some minutes. I was shooting for between four and five miles.

Guessing the uncharted portion of my run was about two miles at most, I ventured back down toward Blue Hen Falls, but stayed on the Buckeye Trail this time, running another three-quarters of a mile before turning around.

Judging from my pace on the parts of the run that my phone actually recorded, my total distance was about four and a half miles in an hour and seven minutes.

My lungs still have a long way to go before they catch up to my legs. While my muscles felt a bit wobbly at the end of my run, there are no residual effects today.


Jess said...

Yet another FAIL for cell phones: The distract us even when running...

Trail sounds lovely, though.

Anonymous said...

My guess is the concrete ruins were a result of deer urine.