Sunday, May 9, 2021
Start: Shutesbury Rd 2, Pelham
End: Rt-32/Royalston Falls parking area
Elevation gain: 7688′
I was awake at 4am, and on the road driving to Royalston Falls by 4:30am. I arrived at the trailhead a bit before 6am to meet up with a trail running friend. We left my car in the parking area and drove down to Shutesbury Rd 2, heading out from the trailhead around 6:45-7am. She needed to do a 5 hour run, so she ran with me for the first 2.5 hours and then turned around. It was lovely to run with another person, and I found myself knocking out more than 12 miles in that 2.5 hours. I knew that I was going faster than I normally would, and it might bite me later but I just cruised and enjoyed time outside with a new friend.
Part of that distraction lead me to not keep up with my hydration quite as well as I should have. This started as a small problem that quickly ballooned into a severe headache and me mentally crashing around mile 29. Thankfully, this section of the MA NET had a lot of water sources, so it was easier to dig myself out of that hole. I drank continually for a few hours and added some salt pills to the mix and that seemed to bring me back to a better place.
The next to last section, the 5-1/2 miles where the NET was redirected from a dirt road/old woods road walk to a winding, steep, washed out up-and-down section, took an eternity. The sun had set and the light was slowly fading and the pointless ups and downs exhausted and endlessly frustrated me. It will be the final crux of the route, second only to the Seven Sisters section. I know that it will be a challenge close to my 110-mile finish, but I’ve done it once when I was running on empty so I can do it again.
I’d considered going the full 0.7mi from Rt-32 out to the MA/NH border, but decided against it when I’d already hit 50 miles before getting to Rt-32. It was 9pm on a Sunday night and I was tired, so I called it good enough at the last NET section sign.