Saturday, June 30, 2012

Circumnavigation of the Wachusett Reservoir

This morning Jesse and I bit off a little more than we could chew. It had been his idea, two years in the making, and mine after hearing about through him, that a journey around the reservoir could be completed. Many know in the area that the local running club, CMS, puts on a race called Stu's 30k. The race uses the roads that surround the reservoir and nothing more. This 18 mile jaunt doesn't account for all the coves and many hills that one must ascend and descend to complete the route we chose.

We both had done some extensive recon on our route. At one point (many years ago) or another, we had run almost the whole route, just never in succession. The day started with a car spot at the Clinton Dam and a start/finish at Choi Lee's in Sterling. An interesting thing to note: I place my car clicker in my pack to get the liquids and fuels at the halfway point, but left my ignition key in Jesse's car.

So at 4:15am, we started off on route 140 and hit a small road section before taking to some fire roads near the West Boylston Fire/Police Station.  These trails shot us out near the Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters on 140 and to lengthy road run.

Next was trail section that paralleled route 70. This section was overgrown in a few areas but not bad. We ended up hitting a section that was impassable and decided to double back and take route 70 to the center of town. From here we took Scar Hill Rd down to the water and ran the beach section for a bit.

This section went on for awhile and I didn't mind it a bit. It was totally on the shore line of the reservoir and was really nice running by the water with the breeze cooling us down. We then hit another impasse and decided to head back into the woods, away from the water. This somehow, and I'm still puzzled by this, re-directed us back out and onto Scar Hill Road???? WTF???

We both scratched our heads and simply headed back to route 70 with our tails between our legs. This was a long stretch of road running, but Jesse got us to his old XC course on the shores behind Tahanto Regional HS. He new the area from here so we were good for awhile.

Things were going good until we hit another wall. The shore line trail seemed to end and a small stream crossing needed to be forged. We decided to double back and hit some inland fire roads to connect back to road. After some bushwhacking we finally made it back to route 70 and to the car.

After all the dead ends and doubling back, our clocks read 3:20 running time to the car. I think initially, we both figured it would take around 4 hours to complete and we where going to be way over that. We both realized this, decided to check the dam out, as I've never been there before, and headed down to the base and back up the other side. We viewed the sites and licked our wounds and then headed back to the car.

The run was over, we didn't make it. We figured we scout out the confusing sections more throughly and try it again at another time. We began unloading stuff and I couldn't find my keys. Where the hell did I put them? I'm pretty good with not losing things and I simply couldn't find my keys. Then it dawned on me. They were in Jesse's car. At the start/finish of the run.

After we called our wives, telling them that we were running late, apologizing and bribing them with ice coffee upon our arrivals back home, we somehow managed to finagle ourselves some more time in an attempt to complete the route.

The next 8 or 9 miles were a breeze. The route was clearly blazed by fire roads and I had run the section many times prior, so getting back to Jesse's car was an hour quicker than what we had told our wives (we are now half way out of the doghouse).  Things went well during the route and we ran a steady pace for much of the way. We hit the car at 4:48 total running time and were glad to be done and have completed our initial goal.

All in all it was a good training run mentally and physically. We had both begun to realize that we were not going to finish and had to give up. Only to figure out, 5 minutes later, that we had to reach the finish. It simply wasn't an option. Got thank our lovely wives for letting us play out in the woods (past my allotted family time) on a Saturday morning. Great run. Can't wait to do it again.


  1. That was a great time, and a great account of the day.

    1. For sure Jesse. Thanks for planning all this and tackling the logistics. Can't wait to lower our FKT!!!

  2. I've been trying to walk the perimeter of the res on multiple trips - lately in the snow (fun animal print tracking) - and I can't imagine trying to run the whole thing! Good for you guys....