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Dec 8 update – here is the map so far. On the upper right corner is a list of the roads. I cross off the number when that road has been completed. Most are short, and done in one route.

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Before I get to the feature segment from Friday, let me say that the central part of the township isn’t exactly flat.

This is for you Orange Theory people. I was definitely in the red at the burnt orange section.

This is for you Orange Theory people. I was definitely in the red at the burnt orange section.

Airport road is sure to spike ANYONE’s heart rate, on foot, on bicycle, or on one of these goats.

These have to be the goats that were in the cemetery when we first visited the house.

These have to be the goats that were in the cemetery when we first visited the house.

Seriously, Central Pennsylvania is hilly. You cannot find a flat spot unless you’re two feet from a river, and even then there’s something like a 1% grade.

Last Friday’s run on the Better Know a Township tour took me to the top of the Trevorton mountain on 890. We dropped off my car at the intersection of Irish Valley and Renn, and then Meg took me to the township line.

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That sign with the truck says 7% grade downhill. I had this odd sense running down the mountain, that it was almost like cheating. But I still had to put one put in front of the other. Had I been dropped off with a bicycle, I would do no effort to get to the bottom. Even so, I felt like this was a weird run. I went down without going up.

Yeah, well, I spoke to myself too soon. The run through Irish Valley, up Renn, across Cherry, down Poplar: it was only 5.7 miles, but it was the work of a flat 10.

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I have yet to figure out how to take a photo of a climb that gives proper perspective on what it looks like. This picture is terribly insufficient. I suppose the elevation profiles from GPS have to tell the tale. I walked most of this. I was thrilled to do this mile in 18 minutes. I was surprised to do this mile, and the next one in under 20 each. They were rough.

This segment of the township wasn’t only steep, but also quite different in average housing than the last couple days. I did see one or two newer, more expensive homes, but the majority of the terrain was classic farm, reminiscent of Snyder County.

 

Here's something new - MATCHING abandoned tricks

 

It becomes clear, running these mountainside roads, why provincialism is still so strong here. It has only been a few generations of people who’ve been able to travel over the mountains easily. Even if you don’t like driving over mountains, you don’t personally do the work. You press down on a pedal, and an internal combustion engine carries you where you want to go. If you have to do it yourself, or get a horse to pull you, those 5 miles to the next town may as well be 50. This region was settled in a time of horses and buggies. Community boundaries were established clearly. I constantly try to push boundaries of “local” among people I know in Central PA. But since becoming a runner, I definitely have gained perspective on how we got so isolated. It was a matter of simple geography. (Perhaps the correct word here is topography.)

These elevation profiles are hard to relate to on a screen, especially when the scale can change. I’ve seen versions of these were the left side numbers are in increments of 50. The one way up there on the page is in units of 100. The one below? Units of 500 – FIVE HUNDRED.
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Progress Update

Runs done: 6

Total miles: 23.79

Unique non-repeated miles: 19.73

Other Highlights

Running along Airport Road, heading home, I saw a very large building that for a moment, I thought was United Lutheran. (It wasn’t, I wasn’t close enough yet.) It may be a church, or a business of some kind. There were many cars there on a Monday morning. It was too far for me to discern any signage.

Seven Points Road is quite well-traveled.

I hate low-res blurry cell phone photos, but I am not going to carry my Sony Alpha on runs. This is as good as I can get with a Samsung Galaxy III mini. I have never seen a photo from my phone that I like. The iPad is 100 times better, but I’m not running with that either.

Hopefully this week I can close out the south end segments I have planned. I still don’t have all the potential runs mapped out. I need to get some 8 and 10 mile segments plotted. I think if I stay steady, this should easily be done by January 5th.

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2 thoughts on “BKAT: Mountain Stage on the Tour de Township

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