Bottoming out at the end of the Turkey Hill Trail is reminiscent of Yoda's home planet in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Photo by Joel Shilliday.
"You're going to run a trail race in Vermont? You better go find some hills to run on!" This from a friend upon hearing our plans for the Vermont 50-Mile Relay in September.
This friend has not run back in Tuckahoe State Park. Don't get me wrong--there are no mountains, it's not Whites-to-Smokies or any such comparison. But if you are used to running on the flat roads of the Eastern Shore, your quads are in for a surprise. And if there has been any rain at all, after a mud-stomp at Tuckahoe, you may not be able to look at your running shoes the same way again.
This Sunday, 4/13, we've got some new folks interested in, and potentially adding their names to complete the 10-mile challenge during 2008. Rise Up Runners readers may be familiar with the Mug Challenge (during April only, void where prohibited, read on a few posts below). Those to complete the Tuckahoe 10-Mile Challenge during 2008 are setting themselves a place at the Beer-be-que this winter, as well as other goodies. Funny how these carrots keep getting dangled, don't you think?
We are currently working with a race director and fellow trail runner to make an official race day, for those looking to take the challenge in more race-like conditions. But the challenge is out there all year.
Will we complete the loop this Sunday? Only time and trail conditions can tell. The first time I tried to circle the loop with Landy Cook, we would have needed a canoe, or a swamp boat, to have made it TO the crossing, much less forded the creek.
That's part of the fun back there--you have to be open to what the day offers. On any given day, there are some distinct probabilities: your shoes are most probably going to get muddy. You are going to run up and down some fun hills. You are going to run on singletrack trails and wider walking trails. You are going to see and hear wildlife. You are going to see horse poop (try not to step in it). And if you don't know the trails, there are probably times and stretches of trails where you will wonder where the hell you are (looking at a map before or after for reference can be helpful for orienting yourself).
But if you're like me, and the other Rise Ups and other runners who have discovered Tuckahoe for themselves, you are going to have a blast. For me, running through the mud and woods stokes the soul. When I get loose out there, I feel about like Joel's dog must have in the photo below.
The plan as it stands for this Sunday 4/13, is to meet at the parking lot behind Coffee East, behind the Masonic building, off Washington Street (backs up to the Farmer's Market). The tentative time to leave Easton is 9:30 a.m., though there may be others looking to make trips out there during the day. Step up and take the Tuckahoe Challenge. And if you can't swing it this Sunday, stay tuned for others.