I had visited Skidmore's North Woods once before, recently, but I had been walking, and I had only explored the Red trail and the meditation trail; the latter was by accident. Please note that the only activity permitted on the meditation trail is walking. Although it doesn't show on the map, there is a connector trail leading toward a few benches, just off of the red trail. Details and map are here: http://www.skidmore.edu/sustainability/northwoods/regulations.php.
Having missed both of my running workouts this week, I was keen to get out and cover some miles. I set off at an easy pace, conscious of the snow, leaves and wet rocks under my feet. I made it down the Red and onto the Blue trail, then around to the backside before I took my first break, both because my lungs were starting to get upset and because my brain was screaming at me to slow down. Perhaps I sensed what was coming, but the next quarter mile or so was treacherous. After that, I ducked down onto the Orange trail and explored that. It's absolutely amazing, how many other (unmarked) trails and woods roads are present in these woods.
The Orange trail cuts across a stream, ducks down a side trail, and then a short while later, cuts back across the same stream, this time on a series of bridges. It eventually comes to a crossroads, and then begins the climb that I had seen previously, which constitutes, far and away, the hardest climb I've seen so far on local XC trails. Over 0.4 miles, it climbs approximately 120', along a winding course and over a series of steps at the end (it switches from the Orange to the Red trail near the top). Nothing to write home about, in terms of trails, but it was interesting nonetheless. It's tame compared to the 1000' over 1 mile pitches that seem to dominate the final pushes of ADK climbs, but I've only walked up those, and they usually require pauses on the way up. I hope to be able to run up that last bit of the Orange Trail, some day, and perhaps even more difficult bits.
After that, I made my way past where I had turned off last time (onto the meditation trail, by mistake) and explored a bit around the water tower, before I managed to find the Red trail that I was looking for (the Red and Green trails are non-linear). I made it one lap around the Red trail, running almost the entire time, and back up to the water tower a second time before my knee started to hurt.
Since I was (am) still recovering a bit from the Blackhead hike, I decided to drop down to walking for the remainder of the outing. I still wanted to pick up some mileage, since I was down for the week, so I decided to walk the length of the Blue trail, which I did. I poked my head down one of the Green trail lines, but since I didn't realize it was a valid trail, I didn't go exploring, since I didn't want to trespass. The trail marker didn't look Green to my colorblind eyes; it looked like an abandoned marker. I completed my loop and headed back to the car, coming it at just over 4 miles for the day.
All in all it was a good outing, but the rock/leaf/snow combination made this a bit more difficult than what I was expecting.