Sufferfest on Mount Colden: The Knee Knows

“There are landmines. Landmines everywhere.” Since falling and breaking my wrist last summer, 14 miles into a 15-mile Catskills run, this has been my mantra.

Colden Trail

Whether it’s the recovery portion of an interval workout, or the last mile out of the woods, it’s that last bit — you’ve done the big peaks, gone over the big rock ledges without drama. That last bit where I think, it’s all over but the shouting, and I fail to pay attention and BAM, a catastrophic fall.

After running in the Catskills over Memorial Day, I’ve laid low. When my esteemed editor asked if I might have any more tricks up my sleeve, I replied, right hip is really tight and right knee is acting up. NG. The summer has pretty much been a conservative approach, close to home.

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Escarpment Trail Run Escapade

Memorial Day. No Indianapolis 500 for me, we don’t own a television. At 6 AM, I set out for a raid in the Catskills. I wanted to reprise a run I did 15 years ago as training for the Escarpment Trail Run.

Windham High Peak
Somewhere on Windham High Peak

Setting out from the western terminus of the Escarpment Trail on Route 23, I planned to go over Windham and Blackhead, the first two peaks in the race. Then turn right, go over Black Dome, drop in to Big Hollow, and return to my car going over Windham again. It’s a bit over 19 miles, longer than the actual Escarpment race.

Clouds and low fog covered the mountains as I drove up Route 23 from the Thruway. By 9 AM, I was moving.

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Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest Hike

Since my last trip to Lake Placid in March, I’ve stayed close to home. But recently, being fully vaxxed and in need of a change in scenery, I headed northwest. There’s a last segment of the Shawangunks that I’ve not explored, southwest of Sam’s Point.

Diving off Route 17 on to Roosa Gap Road, I picked my way up to Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest. The roads here are narrow, with blind rises and blind curves. For a change, I was content to drive below the speed limit.

Parking at the trail head, I set out. On a rough trail, In the first kilometer, I descended a rough trail to a valley floor. At the bottom, running through a dry stream bed littered with glacial rubble, I ran into the Long Path and took a hard right.

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