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Unexpected Pleasures of an Easter Morning Run

Posted Apr 09 2012 9:04pm
Easter Morning
It was Easter morning and later in the day we would be hosting a brunch for my parents and and our best friends. I was still feeling the stiffness from Saturday's spring chores so I poured a cup of coffee to  help the motivation and retreated to the closet to get dressed.

Yesterday I did a trail run in Black Rock and since the time today for a run would be limited, a short road run would have to suffice.

I downed most of my coffee as I decided on the appropriate gear for a short road run.

Moodna Creek
A few moments later I was dressed and ready to go.

I was, however, flip-flopping on what route to take. Should I go down the out and back that can extend to as much as a 7.5 mile run or should I run a more scenic 4.25 loop?

Given the beauty of the morning I decided I would sacrifice the extra miles for the warm glow of the Easter morning and enjoy some local scenery.

I left the house at just after 8:00 Am and already the spring morning was highlighting the splendor of the Hudson Valley.

Hope Chapel
I hit the road and started my Garmin.

Before sufficient warm up, the road begins an early climb. It's not extraordinarily steep nor is it excessively long but the early encounter is always challenging.

I crest the hill and turn left on Clove Road crossing over the Moodna Creek and passing the Hope Chapel.

Continuing on Clove Road I climb another hill and find myself bathed in sunlight as the morning sun climbs above Schunemunk Mountain .

Otterkill Road
The vigor of the run and the clear morning air provides a jubilant energy as my watch acknowledges the passing of the first mile as I pass an open field broadcasting the fresh bouquet of Spring.

I turn left on to Otterkill Road and faced the glowing glory of the morning's rising sun.

With the first downhill the loop offers I descended into the cool shadows of Schunemunk, the depression of the Moodna Watershed contributing to the drop in both terrain and temperature.

Otterkill Trail Head
The grade levels and I wind my way through the remaining flat before emerging from the shadows at the base of Schunemunk at the Otterkill Trail Head, the Moodna Viaduct as a backdrop.

I pass the trail head as my watch chirps at the passing of the 2nd mile and I begin a small climb that crests directly under the viaduct.

Also under the viaduct is a small parking lot that's often used for trail head overflow. I noticed a guy moving away from his car wearing a trail running vest.

As I passed him I said hello and I instinctively asked if he was training for The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain . He said he was and so I stopped for a chat.

Moodna Creek
We talked about both the Bear Mountain race coming up in May and that we had both participated in the NJ Ultra Fest the weekend before. In both cases I was registered for the 50k and he for the 50 miles.

So as not to delay him any longer we reintroduced ourselves, shook hands and departed, he into the woods and me down the road.

Schunnemunk Mountain
As inspiring as it was to have coincidentally met another area local Ultra/Trail Runner I still felt somewhat shameful for having been running such a short route and on the road of all things!

Continuing my paltry road run I crossed the Moodna again and turned up Jackson Avenue to a two-tiered climb that peaks out at the most photographed vista in Orange County .

Under the Moodna Viaduct
The view from the intersection of Orrs Mills Road and Jackson Avenue is always worth admiring, it's especially breathtaking after running up the Jackson Avenue hill.

I made my final left hand turn of the morning and began a well earned descent that bottoms out under the viaduct just a half mile from home.

I push the effort up the final climb. I break up the climb by eying landmarks and driving past.

The road levels out and I lengthen my stride and push on to the finish. I cross the street at full gate and as I swerve into my driveway chest heaving.

I raise my hand to turn off the watch that I never paused when I stopped for the earlier chat. But it's OK. This morning's run wasn't about time or mileage but an unexpected meeting and the beauty of an Easter morning.


The Route
Elevation Profile


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