14 March 2014

Moreau Lake State Park - 9 Mar 2014

I decided to check out Moreau Lake State Park last weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found.  I have been driving down Spier Falls Road every so often, trying to pick out the trailheads.  The main parking area is just east of the apex of the road, on a single lane dirt and gravel road that winds its way over to a small parking area.  It is not plowed in the winter.  I did a quick hike off of here last August, but I haven't really explored the area yet.

There are at least two other trailheads along Spier Falls Road; but I have yet to check out the trail from there.  Both of them looked plowed, and they probably provide decent snowshoeing.  I say probably because there's a lot of bare boot activity over by the main entrance, so it's hard for me to say without checking it out myself.

At any rate, last weekend I went in the main entrance, and I was very surprised at what I found.  The parking lot near the booth is plowed, and it was packed full of cars.  People were there to walk their dog, to walk across the lake, to XC ski, and to snowshoe.  I didn't expect it to be that busy.

The road that leads from the booth over to the Nature Center was plowed, providing a somewhat clear surface just shy of a mile for walking and running.  There was some ice on it, but it was runnable, with or without YakTrax.

(It's amazing how much easier it is for me to run over ice than it is to walk, with or without traction devices.  I don't fully understand it, though I assume it has to do with the force of my strike and the fact that I midfoot strike when I run and heel strike when I walk.  Has anyone else experienced this?)

I did a quick out and back, and then grabbed my snowshoes for a run over the trails.  I located the Red Oak Trail, which starts right across the street from the parking area, and put on my snowshoes.  The snow was in rough shape, and I found myself in danger of losing my footing along a few slope traverses and downhills.  The combination of warm weather, rain, and the fact that most of the trail users seemed to not be using snowshoes explained the poor condition of the trail.

I saw two other parties while I was playing in the snow.  The first was a group of four people whom I saw heading up as I was heading back to my car (and whom I had set as a target to catch up to).  The second... wow.  As I neared the top of a rise in the trail, I heard a whooshing noise and looked up to see someone skiing down through the trees.  They were off trail, looking for fresh snow, but it was amazing that they were able to exert as much control as they did.  One screw up and they would have run in to a tree, but they made quick work of the descent and were soon out of sight.

As I made my way along, I crossed three completely open brooks, as well as several downslopes that were completely iced over or eroded down to the mud.  It was certainly challenging, and I wished that I had brought my poles for the extra support, but I made it through without falling.  The steepest and sketchiest stretch was along the Moreau Overlook trail, and I ended up bushwhacking a bit to get around the ice slope.  Once I got down to the lake, I started making my way around the edge of it, following trails and tracks, until I made my way over to the road near where I had started.  I contemplated running across the lake.  There were several other parties out there, so I knew it would probably hold me, but I didn't have anything on me to dig a hole in the ice to check for certain.  The ice fishers might not have appreciated me thudding past, either.

Bluebird day at the lake
Bluebird Day at Moreau Lake

I sat down on a nearby bench to take off my snowshoes (what a novel concept), and headed back to my car.  As I mentioned, I didn't fall at all... until I was walking around my car to get in the driver's seat, and my feet slipped out from under me.  I landed with a thud on my rear. Ouch.

I look forward to exploring this park some more in the future.  It looks like a good place to train.

Until next time, be excellent to each other!

1 comment:

  1. It's a great park. Tim goes camping there in the Fall a lot because there are hardly any other campers. They even have a cabin or 2 they rent out. The beach is nice in summer, plus it's a great place to teach the kids to kayak/ canoe.