The challenging terrain of this run is what usually sets it apart from others (and is part of the appeal), but on this day it was the season that stood out the most. A late-fall chill called for long-sleeve shirts and gloves, with a stiff breeze making us move on quickly from all the scenic overlooks. I'm sure on some summer days the heat would be brutal, but this time we needed to keep moving just to stay warm. Also, since most of the leaves had already come down the footing was especially tricky and you never knew what would be underfoot with any given step. Nevertheless, we were determined to give this run a try.
While no part of the run posed too much of a challenge, and we only slowed to a hiking pace up the steepest sections, we still took our time and prioritized not rolling ankles over a fast pace. As a result, the trip ended up taking a lot longer than we thought it would. My pausing every few minutes to try to take pictures with the lightweight camera I was carrying probably didn't help. The fallen leaves were particularly treacherous, even when dry. I slipped once on a ledge early on and scraped up a leg, and many stretches required extremely slow going just to make sure our feet didn't end up jammed into hidden crevices.
In the end, I'd have to say neither of us feels particularly compelled to sign up for the 2014 Seven Sisters trail race. While we love trail running and don't shy away from tough courses or routes, this one just seems like it would be unpleasant. We've each got weak ankles and I bet it's a rare race around here that has more ankle-busting terrain than this one. Still, people seem to really love it. I'm sure if we actually did it we'd sing a different tune, but for the moment we're content to let others take the slots and risk the ankle rolls. I'm also sure that by next May I'll probably be first in line to race =)
in the Notch (lots of recent road improvements here)
Jen heads up the talus slope on the west side of Bare Mtn.
the view from Mt. Hitchcock (mostly cloaked in cloudshadow at the moment)
Jen rounds one of the middle Seven Sisters
looking west from the last of the Seven Sisters (one of my favorite views in the range)
dropping down into Taylor Notch
the view from Mt. Holyoke
descending the final mile
Titan's Pizza (just off the trail near the turnaround, but well worth a look)