Today was another picture perfect April day. With the temperature in the high 60's and not a cloud in the sky, I had a vision of doing a relaxing hour trail run on my lunch break. I spent some time throughout the morning concocting a zig-zag course through Rome Point. It's not that large of an area (230 acres), and for years I ignored running it, instead using it on days when I wanted to hike and bring my binoculars. This winter, I began incorporating it into longer runs. But a few weeks ago, I ran it with a coworker who grew up in the area, and he showed me a couple of very interesting side trails that made longer runs possible without a lot of repeating my steps.
I smiled pulling into the parking lot, as there were only a couple of cars there. Sometimes it can be mobbed. It is a favorite walking spot for humans and their unleashed best friends. Today, I would have limited interruptions. I ran down the main trail and then entered the woods to the left. Leaves are opening everywhere. It seemed like a good day for snakes on the trail. On Monday, Dan and I spooked a large garter snake here. It looked like it had it's head raised in the air as it slithered off in disgust. I'm not going to lie - it was rather spooky. But there would be no snakes today. Just really great trail conditions. No more standing water or mud. I reached the point in a fast time (a minute faster than last week). I might have stopped and lingered, but there was a guy with a fancy scope checking out the seals, and I didn't want to disturb (or interact) with him. I backtracked for a quarter of a mile and then hit one of the new trails - an awesome single track through a cedar grove, mature woods, and around interesting rock croppings. It links up with another single track trail on the south side of the preserve. I can't tell you how fun these trails are. The footing is excellent (not many roots, rocks, or wet sections), decent elevation gains and losses, and scenic, twisty trails that keep you distracted.
Eventually, the trail ends at the beach. Being on Narragansett Bay and not exposed to pounding waves, the beach here is rocky (all shapes and sizes) and full of old shells (lady slippers mostly). Knowing my RI water rights, I decided to hug the high tide line and run south towards the Jamestown Bridge. The tricky footing definitely slows the pace, but I like the challenge. I jumped a couple of tidal streams that I'm not sure are passable at a higher tide. To my surprise, I encountered another runner going in the opposite direction. It's nice to see a fellow trail runner out here! I soon turned around before the bridge and retraced my steps.
I re-entered the woods and hit the single track trails again, but this time from the other way. One of the nice things about trails is that they are completely different running in the opposite direction. I don't think you can say the same about roads. I took one more new single track that weaves through a cedar forest along the water's edge, and then returned up the main trail. I finished my hour run in 58:58. I'll call it 8 miles, and plan to definitely do it again soon.