01 February 2014

Zim Smith Trail - 1 Feb 2014

I went for a run today on the Zim Smith Trail.  I was hoping to find bare pavement, since the weather was warm and I know that there's a decent amount of foot traffic on this trail, even in the winter.  I didn't find what I was looking for.

The section between Oak Street and Underpass Road was snow-covered, and packed somewhat from boot and bike traffic.  The packed section was maybe an inch deep, and the unconsolidated section was maybe two inches deep. (Both are very rough estimates.)  All told there wasn't much there.  As I got closer to Underpass Road, I saw some ski tracks originating from one of the private side trails.

The Zim Smith Trail
Crossing over Underpass Road, I ran in the tire track of a truck for a while, pretending that I was on a single track trail.  That didn't last very long.  The surface degraded into a mixture of snow, ice and bare pavement.  I found a hundred or so yards of totally bare pavement over by the industrial park, before it switched back to snow and ice.

After crossing East Line, the trail was incredibly hard underfoot.  This was the result of the snowmobile traffic in this section: a half inch or so of rock hard snow.  It didn't make for very good running; in fact it hurt my knee, so I turned back.  The damage was done, though, and I stopped my run a short distance after I had crossed back over Underpass Road.

This will probably be my last run on the Zim Smith until the snow melts, though I might try it once more with different footwear.  I'm fairly certain that the problem I ran into today was the result of wearing my trail runners and the way that I was running.  They're excellent on snow and ice, providing good grip, but they're a bit jarring on hard surfaces.  I didn't soften my stride when I got to the bare pavement or the snowmobile section, either, which didn't help.

Anyway, the Zim Smith right now is fine for walking and bike riding between Underpass Road and Oak Street (roughly 1.5 miles of trail).  I don't recommend snowshoeing on it: you'll destroy your crampons.  Between Underpass Road and East Line, it's a mixed bag, and once you're across East Line you're in snowmobile territory.  You can still walk or run there, as the snowmobilers don't seem to mind, but you'll be on snow that's as hard as concrete.

Until next time, "be excellent to each other!"

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