16 December 2013

Port Orleans Resort, Disney World - 7 Dec 2013

Rewind to earlier this month:

My family had the pleasure of going down to Disney World for a vacation in early December.   I managed to sneak in a run, after my youngest child decided to wake up at 4:30 and then refuse to go back to sleep.  She usually likes hopping in the stroller and going for a run with me, so my spouse and I hoped that she would be game.  A mile or so in, however, she told me that she wanted to go back to the room.  So, back we went, and then I managed to sneak out again, this time without the stroller.  Needless to say I was slightly faster without it, though I missed having someone to talk to.


This blog post pretty much sums up the running paths at Port Orleans: http://blog.touringplans.com/2013/11/25/disney-world-running-resorts-port-orleans/

The only thing I feel like I should emphasize is that the surface is concrete and very hard, and full of pock marks, which didn't change the surface from a running perspective.  The pock marks in it are probably there to ensure traction when the path is wet, and to that end, they seemed to work well enough.  Everything was a bit damp with morning dew, but I really only felt myself slipping once, and that seemed to be due to the random landscaping liquid I had run through (pesticide, I think; it smelled like cloves).

On our first run, we only saw a couple of people out and about, but by the time I went out again, the sun was up, and there were dozens of people out.  There were a handful of people walking or running for exercise, but the majority of them were walking around with the drinking troughs provided with the meal plan, headed to breakfast, or dragging their luggage behind them on their way to catch their ride back home.

Well, that's about it for the run.  The kids enjoyed Disney well enough: our youngest loved meeting the princesses and other characters, and our oldest thoroughly enjoyed the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.  As far as rides go, they really liked the flying carpet ride and Spaceship Earth.

Next stop... a frozen mountaintop.

15 December 2013

Zim Smith Trail - 15 Dec 2013

Ok, one more post and then we'll start going backwards.  This was my run today:

Looking back

It was 14ยบ F, windy and snowing a light powdery snow that quickly swallowed my tracks.  The mouth area of my balaclava would get soaked from condensation when I pulled it up and then freeze solid when I pulled it back down again.  I'm not complaining, though.  I got out, did what I set out to do (5 miles) and headed back in to the warmth.

I made it over to Shenantaha Creek Park today (from Oak Street), and explored a bit around through there.  At the end of the gravel road I came across a small trail heading off in to the trees.  I followed it for a short while and then headed back.  Next time around I should have a little more leeway to explore it more.

That's all.  Back in to the TARDIS, all of you.

14 December 2013

Saratoga Sand Plains - 12 Dec 2013

The past few weeks have been quite stressful, and despite my best efforts the stress is starting to catch up with me.  Yesterday I decided to go for a quick (1 mile) run on my lunch break to try and get that stress under control.  It didn't really work, since I'm still stressed out, but I did get a chance to finish exploring the portion of the Sand Plains adjacent to Route 50.  The yellow (horse) trail is a 0.8 mile loop that takes the walker or runner around a mostly open field.  There's another loop possible to the south, which is about 0.9 miles; a runner can link the two of these together in a figure 8 or a big loop, if they so desire.

I don't think I've done a report on the Sand Plains yet, but they seem to be primarily the remains of old farms that are being allowed to return to wild growth.  There are a few trails available, and at least two trail heads with parking.  I've only parked off of Route 50, but there's a small parking lot off of Scout Road, too.  This land sits adjacent to the Camp Saratoga land, with the train tracks dividing the two.  I saw the tracks on my run this week, along the yellow trail.

This is what the view from the Route 50 lot looked like this week:
Saratoga Sand Plains

When you first walk in to the Sand Plains, you get a choice of right or left.  It basically works out to a loop, with a few junctions thrown in along the way.  If you go left, and walk to the first T, then look back, this is what you'll see.
Saratoga Sand Plains

If you go right at that junction, you'll end up on a spur trail that in theory goes over to Scout Road (though I haven't confirmed it yet).  If you go left, you'll immediately come to another junction, which is where the two loops come together (the squishy part of the figure 8).  Looking back from that junction, you see this:
No Horses

One final note of caution.  There are a few times during the year, generally between May and July, when you won't be able to move very fast along the trail, due to the plethora of tiny blue butterflies underfoot.
Karner Blue Butterflies

Karner Blue Butterflies
The Karner Blues were everywhere that day in July.  It was a challenge to walk without stepping on them, and a delight to be in their company.

That's about it.  I have several more reports to write, all older than this, so this blog is going to run backwards for a short while.  It'll be like we're in the TARDIS.  Except I'm not quite sure that I'm bigger on the inside...