09 July 2015
Dearest Spouse made an amusing comment recently. “In any other household,” she noted, “I’d be considered the fit one.” Living with Yours Truly, who is admittedly a tad obsessed with tallying miles and refusing to admit that trips around the sun must have some cumulative impact on the rate of that accumulation, and with Dearest Daughter the Younger, who has been touched by more than just a tad of that genealogical influence, she’s got a point. With her daily exercise routine (she’s at the gym far more often then I), healthy lifestyle (I’m not terrible, but she’s far better at avoiding nutritional vices), overall health (while I fret over my cholesterol and blood pressure, doctors can’t find hers), and toned (dare I say svelte?) physique, she’s the envy of anyone. Unfortunately, that stuff doesn’t show up in the newspaper like results from running Boston, so I tend to get the attention while she clearly doesn’t get the credit she deserves. So let it be known publicly, she’s significantly skewing America’s fitness curve in the right direction, and I won’t be a whit jealous to hear you compliment her on it.
But in my defense, the same thing that draws us to Acadia to hike and enjoy the forests, mountains, and coastlines of Mount Desert Island also draw me to want to be out absorbing that beauty and the smell of the pine forest as much as possible – and what better way to chalk up more tree time than to run through those forests? So for this year’s trip, I privately set myself a goal that at least part of every day’s run would be off the pavement, either on simple forest roads or the on the park’s rightly vaunted carriage road system. And to my pleasure, I went eight for eight.
So it is for the other reachable forest roads on the west side of the island. A few miles on paved roads to get there, a few miles back, and only a brief interlude in the trees…but worth every step to get there. Lurvey Springs Road is only a mile and a half of bliss on the south side of Beech Mountain, but it’s bliss worthy of the highway run needed to get back into town (though to be fair, it’s a screamingly fun downhill romp of a highway run). The road through Hio Heath gives about two miles of solitude through woods that are frankly so flat and nondescript as to be calming in their own right, letting you forget which way you’re going or how far it is till you’ll pop out in the back of the park campground, surprising the Winnebago crowd on a misty Maine morning. All these made the week’s agenda at least once.
Tuesday, our one day of no hiking, Maine cold, Maine rainy, Maine raw, so raw as to make me put on gloves in June, we assuaged our dismay at the weather by putting in highly choreographed long run. Departing from the famed Jordan Pond House, DDY headed clockwise on the “Around the Mountain” eleven mile loop, while I pushed the pace heading east to Bubble Pond before joining her route in the opposite direction, providing us with a Moment of Zen (Oh! John Stewart! We will SO miss you!) as we passed each other on the north side of Sargent Mountain where the views would have been sublime…save that Maine weather. Then, with the intent of covering a few more of the few remaining roads I’d yet traversed, I headed south to tie into the route of Sunday’s run, meaning the last of my sixteen miles, intricately planned to finish within two minutes of DDY, ended seriously uphill, agonizing, yet climbing on a new road (for me) through the valley of a rumbling brook so beautiful it was hard to care about the effort.
After all, when the forest calls, sometimes you might work hard, but sometimes, you just go with it.