Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lake McMurtry East Side

Dana, Jake, and I spent the weekend at Lake McMurtry, but not where the LMTR 50K/25K/12K is. We camped on the EAST side and ran the trailz there--somewhere I have never been, which is odd--since I claim to be a trail guru.

I don't think these trailz are color-coded--other than on this map. While the west side trailz make a perfect 25K (we set the course up to get the whole 15.5 miles), the east side trailz add up to almost a perfect HALF MARATHON. Hmmm....

We are really enjoying our camping trailer. The heater works, and the A/C works as well. The old Ford does a great job pulling the trailer around--we got a whopping 9.3 MPG going out,. and 11 MPG coming back.

We tackled the south course on Saturday, although Jake and I ran 1.5 in the utter darkness with a small handheld LED light Friday night. I couldn't wait. The trailz were super smooth, soft, rockless, but rooty single track.

This dying tree begged for a picture, and I obliged.

Lotsa red dirt. Occasionally, the trail would cross an open area, and later in the day, the sun started to beat down on us a little. Hate to complain, since it was only maybe 73°.

Despite running sort of around the southern end of the lake, we never really got close enough for Jake to swim, but he did find a couple of creeks with enough water for a dip. Muddy puppy.

As on the west side, there are lots of prickly pear cacti.

Reminiscent of Huntsville State Park (Sunmart, Rocky Raccoon) there are a few wooden bridges to cross, but no alligators.

The trailz closet to the lake were fairly flat with just a few gentle ups and downs. On the return trip, we were a bit further up on the hill, and with the usual switchbacks that mountain bikers seem to like, we had a bit more climbing. The advertised mileage of 6.5 miles was a bit short by our Garmins.

The steeper hills and warming temps slowed TaturCakes and Jake down. I had to promise Jake a swim before we were through.

No Jake--that's not where you're swimming. This was some nasty water, and we would have needed a rope to pull him out.

With more walking than running in the final push, we made it out with close to 8 miles to show for it--which included the distance from our camp to the trail head to and from.

We grilled some steaks and baked potatoes and had a lunch for a king. Then, we made a trip into town. Jake has a hard time getting into the truck, and we have to help him (basically lift his heavy butt up.) We really tried everything to coax him up, and may have given him a complex, because when we got back, he would not walk up the steps into the camper. So, we lifted him up for that. I let him out later to pee, and he scampered out, but would not come back in. I got out the leash, and he got all excited like he does when he gets to go for a run, and was jumping around being the silly dog he is, but still would have no part of coming back inside. He wanted to go for a run or a walk, so I walked him. The tail was wagging and he was pulling wanting to run--not at all like a dog too tired to walk up two steps. So, we went for a walk/jog--taking it easy. Still, he would not come up the steps. We continued to operate a lift service for him, and wondered if he would be good to go the next day.

The question of whether he would/could/should run was heartily answered by him the next morning. He was pumped and stoked to go, acting like he was full of piss and vinegar--tail flying, and pulling on the leash.

Today's route was shorter according to the map. Jake got a swim about a mile into the run, and he ran like the energizer bunny from that point on. Dana ran better, and if we had put our Garmins on auto-pause, we probably would have averaged under 15 m/m. But with pee stops and picture stops, is was a good hiking pace at best.

We really liked the north trailz. The map showed a series of loops, and in my thinking, if we made all right turns, we would run all of the trail system. But instead of the two loops connected by out-and-back sections, there were 4-5 loops. I was confused by this, but still felt that all right turns would get us there.

The north trailz had more variety--a few meadows, straight sections, twisty-turny sections, a few rocky spots, and a lot more steep ups and downs.

We also had more wooden bridges.

The mountain bike club that built and maintains these trailz are to be commended. Besides constructing bridges over the drainages, they had areas where they had paved wash-outs with stone, and built berms to help with erosion.

In places, it seemed the trailz specifically sought out these rocky outcroppings, but still, even with the twisty undulating routes, it is an easier course than Turkey Mountain.

It was cooler today--or maybe it was because we set out an hour earlier.

Jake enjoys another swim. I need to video him--he moans and groans when he swims--like "oooohhh--that feels soooo good!"

The return trip was closer to the lake, and I figured Jake could get another swim in. It was a little more jungle-like, which gave the course even more character.

Trail running does not get much better than this.

While it was not as warm as yesterday, the sun was doing it's job. I got just a tad of sunburn, but hey--I'm super-white.

A tailing Jake is a thirsty Jake. We were carrying water for him--so no, our poor puppy never went without.

Along the bottom area near the lake, we ran through a section of reeds. This was co cool. Jake wanted to swim here, but we said no. Finally, we came to a rocky shore, and were gonna let Jake go hit the water, and Dana grabbed his collar just in time!!

He would have stepped right on this beauty. This girl was sunning herself right across the trail leading to the water, and made no effort at all to move. I came within 12 inches of her taking this picture, and she did that slight coil thing, and I quickly retreated. We thought it might have been a water moccasin, but upon seeing the tail, I doubted it. I could not tell if it had round eyes or slitted eyes, but in this picture shows round and it's tail was skinny to a long point. A moccasin has a blunt tail.

So Jake finished off his water, and was denied a third swim for the day.

We got home and were unloading the camper--and Jake was in and out and in and out, up and down the steps many times. He has some explaining to do.

We loved these trailz--I like them better that the west side, although those are fun as well. It's a great half marathon trail run. Hmmm....

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