Saturday, August 14, 2021
Start/End: Royalston Falls parking lot
After getting up at 5am and leaving the house by 5:30am, I was at the trailhead by 6:50am and started running around 7:05am. Even that early in the morning, the bugs and humidity were terrible. Even at a 3 MPH hiking speed, the bugs would swarm my eyes, ears, mouth, and nose, so I pushed myself to run much more often than I naturally would have, given that I was hoping for a relaxed trail run. I maintained a 10-12 min/mile pace for most of the trail, except where it became too steep or I was unable to find the trail and had to bushwhack through logging slash. I filtered water at many different natural water sources, but my water filter was nearing the end of its life and took a lot of hand strength to squeeze water and I was aggressively pursued by mosquitoes for the entire time. I often paced while filtering, just to keep them out of my eyes.
I was drenched in sweat, dripping puddles wherever I went. There was a brief downpour in the late morning and otherwise, there was no respite from the 75-90 degree heat and 90%+ humidity. Remaining hydrated was very hard, especially while trying to avoid the bugs. My calves started cramping early, around mile 9 or 10, and they continued to do so for the rest of the run. I was flagging hard by the time I arrived at the Tully Lake Campground around mile 14; I was so glad to find the small camp store open and I bought 4 smaller Gatorades, drank 1-1/2 and packed up the rest. I also sat down for perhaps 20-30 minutes, as they had a picnic table and no bugs bothered me while I was there, which was a small mercy. If it would have been possible to get a hitch back to my car from Tully Lake, I would have, but since it wasn’t, I just continued to push forward and suffer.
Over the course of the day, I received at least 50 mosquito and fly bites. Despite drinking 6 liters of electrolyte drink over the run, I was horribly dehydrated. It took me more than 12 hours to have my body processing fluid normally again and at least 10 hours before my leg and arm muscles stopped cramping when I tried to use them. Overall, it was a sufferfest, and I’m interested to return when the bugs have died and the weather is cooler, armed with one of the FKT GPS tracks. I’ve done the trail 3 times and still am not sure the ‘correct’ route.