FKT: Matt Pacheco - Robert Frost Trail (MA) - 2022-12-10

Route variation
46 miles - one way
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
8h 46m 3s

An extension has now been added to the Robert Frost Trail -- orange blazes from Mountainside Trailhead on Rt47 in Hadley to Notch Visitor's Center -- which when traveling northbound at least, adds about 5 miles and 1200 ft gain to the original route. I had wanted to run the RFT earlier this year but found out the add-on was in the works and waited it out, then went for it soon after reading it was completed. Unlike all submitted efforts so far, for my attempt I decided to go northbound, starting in Hadley and finishing at Wendell State Forest. Mostly out of driving convenience and to change things up. I do believe there's more climbing when traveling north. 

Started out just before 7 a.m., temps in the mid 20's. For hydration I was carrying 2L water in a camelbak, a 1L filter bottle, and a .5L bottle with about 500 cal Tailwind. For foods I had Larabars, gels, stinger waffles, and smores pop-tarts -- a few of each. Also had a handful of salt pills. I knew winter would not be the smartest of seasons to have a go at it, but there was no snow yet, just very leafy with the occasional ice patch. In my mind the less runnable trails were made up for with cooler weather, plus I was just eager to get this in before the year's end. I did step into some deep water a few miles in which left me with one scarily cold foot for an hour or so but as far as body temperature/layering was fine for the most part. What I didn't consider is the possibility of my water freezing, which it did -- not sure when it happened but I noticed during my first break at Amethyst around mile 19. Luckily I was able to filter soon after at Pratt Corner Rd, and eventually the ice block on my back did thaw, which was a big relief.

No surprise that Bull Hill and beyond (the last ~15 miles) was where the goin's got tough. A nice break at the Toby summit and the subsequent descent had me feeling quite rejuvenated, but then the climb after crossing Rt63 was pretty brutal. Surprisingly though it was the seemingly neverending section between Pigpen ledges and Dry Hill Connector that I probably felt the lowest -- pretty easygoing with only a few miles left, but I started to feel weak and mentally exhausted. Felt much better once I got onto the road section. According to the data, total route was 44.5 miles with about 8800 ft gain.

Going into it I wasn't sure if I'd really shoot for speed or not but I think this wound up being a decent effort. There were some navigational hiccups, notably a missed turn+backtrack on Woodlot Rd that probably lost me a couple minutes. Took a few solid breaks that added up to maybe 30 mins and had the one filter stop. No totally debilitating cramps which is an issue I've been siked has been happening less and less. Wasn't afraid to take it slow whenever it felt right but did feel on the whole I was pushing it effort-wise. Trail conditions weren't exactly optimal for a fast time, but warmer temps might not have been either. Anyways, really fun route and I'm happy with the run! Will maybe try this southbound at a quicker pace someday.