Wissahickon Four Corners Run

Finally finished (or started, depending how you look at it) the ‘Four Corners’ of Fairmount Park’s Wissahickon trail system.  The Four Corners are loosely defined as (starting in the northwest in a clockwise fashion):

  1. The Tree House
  2. Northwestern Ave. Stables
  3. Rittenhouse Town
  4. Kelpius’ Hermit Cave

I’ll say that aesthetically those are the four corners, but true geographic corners  are really defined by slightly less notable landmarks, namely:

  1. Where the ‘Meadow Loop’ trail of the Andorra Natural Area starts heading north/northeast (by the house in the corner @ ~ 900 block of Northwestern Ave).  Note: black connector trail is closed for restoration so you’ll need to follow the Meadow Loop to the blue trail which will take you to the Tree House on the red trail (if you want more mileage / quality running you could finish out the red trail before heading to the next corner).
  2. The corner of Germantown & Northwestern Aves (there is occasionally a water tap/hose on the sidewalk in front of Bruno’s Restuarant; I asked at the stables they said they had no public water access).
  3. The Sunoco on Wissahickon Ave. / W. Rittenhouse St.
  4. And finally, the 100 Stairs that lead up to Freeland Ave (I usually bear right at the top and onto the dirt trails, which lead to the Hermit’s Cave).

If you include most of the Cresheim Creek Trail and continue to bear left or right (depending whether you’re going clockwise/counter) and stay on all outer/upper trails the total will be in the 21-24 mile range, I think ~22.5 miles sounds about right for my loop, my GPS was a bit wonky and read 24.4 miles but I think that was long (compared to half loops that I’d done previously).

My upper loop took about 2 hours and then the lower loop almost 3 hours.  If you exclude my stop at Sunoco it still wasn’t particularly fast.  I found the final 2 hours pretty challenging.  I am signed up for the Dam Full Marathon (formerly the R. B. Winter Trail Challenge) in Bald Eagle State Forest in the middle of September so hopefully I can get in at least one more long run before then.

Here’s the Garmin data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/566541184

 

Wissahickon Four Corners Google Earth

Wissahickon Four Corners on Google Earth

 

Moving efficiently over ground

G & I ran the past two days.  I suppose run is a general term.  He has a lot of experience in moving efficiently over varied terrain, as evidenced by his 180 day “yo-yo” from Mexico to Canada and back on the Continental Divide Trail.  So obviously running with him for hours at a time is less about pure speed then about endurance and a desire to see new trails.

Saturday we drove out to French Creek and had the park mostly to ourselves (with George).   It was about 13 miles in 4 hours over some very crusty foot deep snow and some postholing for good measure.  The park itself seems to have mostly mellow climbs, and certainly a few different large loops are possible.  And we walked across a large cold frozen windy lake where people were ice fishing and ice skating. We’ll likely go back once more of the snow has melted.

Yesterday, Sunday, we drove up to the north end of Pennypack and decided to “run it out” to the terminus on the Delaware River behind the Holmesburg penitentiary.  It is in fact a surprisingly nice waterfront park there on the Delaware.  Not counting some trail offshoots, I believe it was approximately 10 or 11 miles to the Delaware river from Pine Rd. #1 parking area.  There are a few double and single track trails (horse trails) in Pennypack, though again with the snow it was a bit difficult to correctly stay on the offshoots, similar to the Wissahickon where many head out toward neighborhood access trails.

According to maps we’ve seen, there is a theoretical 15.5 mile loop that includes only 3 or 4 miles of pavement.  It would be nice to have a .gpx of this loop the next time we head out.  It ended up being about 21 miles in 4.5 hours (probably closer to 4 hours of actual moving time) and some slogging through wet snow as we attempted to veer on to barely discernible single track in a few places.

All in all some nice footwork moving over varied terrain this weekend.

Mighty Delaware

Mighty Delaware

G&Dela

G&Dela