Hard’ack Loop—a tour

by nomeatbarefeet

So we wanted to give you all a small taste of the trails we run at the Hard’ack Recreation Area. There are two really positive things about these trails:

  1. They are literally right in our backyard. We walk can walk down a block and enter the western side of the trail system. (I call it the front of the trails, while Katie calls it the back.)
  2. Aside from a few straggler side trails, all of the trails are interconnected loops; this way the chances of getting lost are pretty slim. This also allows for going out for longer and longer times while staying close to home.

With that said, we have had to adapt from running the trails back in Albany.

  • There very few flat sections. Hard’ack is one big hill. The ascents and descents can be steep and very technical, though they do not last for long. Many of the sections are covered in roots, rocks (both small and boulder sized), mud, fallen trees, and so on. So there is no way to go out for a long, slow, casual trail run like we did at the Pine Bush Preserve in Albany.

We divide the Hard’ack trails into two sets: an upper and a lower. The lower is on the Eastern side of the hill and consists of a loop of flatter snowshoe trails (what Jon calls the backside of Hard’ack, but Katie calls the front side). The upper sections are all the rest of the trails on the hill itself. (This is our easy way of dividing the trails up.)

Having run almost all of the interconnecting trails in Hard’ack, we have settled on a relatively consistent loop of the upper section. This is the loop that we tend to do most often, and it usually serves as a “warm up” for any deviations that we decide to take. The loop starts on the western side of the hill and follows a (basically) clockwise loop back to the start. It weaves back and forth, with a number of switchbacks, making the loop fluctuate in and out.

So here is a visual tour of what we run. While it does not do justice to the beauty and peaceful nature of our surroundings, it will at least give you a small sense of why we love to escape from pavement and concrete—if only for an hour or two.

Two paths to take…

The steeper one (to the right) leads this plaque below.

The flatter one (to the left) goes round the rocky climb.

Here, looking back: the rocky climb with the plaque is on the left; the flatter route comes up to meet it on the right.

Looking back up the stairs.

We love this “sitting tree.” There are any number of strange interpretations that you can project into the form of this tree, which makes it fun to run by. (Sorry, but I had to interject a bit of my dissertation here.)

And back to the start. If you continued right you would start the loop again.

This was a slightly different kind of post, so thanks for looking. Hopefully you have a similar place that gives you the same release and escape.

Run wild. Run más.