Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cliff Walk in Newport, RI

My school is on spring break this week.  Technically we have school this Monday and Tuesday to make up for having so many snow days this winter, but I was able to use two of my personal days and keep my full spring break intact.  So Stevie and I are roadtripping around New England this week.

First stop: Newport, RI, a.k.a. the place where I experienced one of the best runs of my life. When you run every single day, the boring, lousy runs tend to outweigh the rave runs, so a day like today is an exciting one.

Our bed and breakfast is just a few blocks from the start of the Cliff Walk.

The 3.5 mile long Cliff Walk, as you can see on the sign, was developed during Newport's Gilded Age, when America's millionaires lined the coast with their incredible mansions.  The path was restored in the 1970's and designated a national historic walking trail in 1976.

The majority of the first part looks like this:

The start of the Cliff Walk from Memorial Avenue

Paved and tame with sweeping ocean views on one side, with quick snatches of views through the fences of the famous mansions on the other.

If you're just a hapless runner without any local knowledge, out for an 8 mile morning jaunt, what you'll quickly discover is that portions of the Cliff Walk are closed for repair due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The "end of the line" by the Breakers Mansion.

When I came to a fence blocking the path, I paused briefly to decide what to do.  In that moment's hesitation, a German tourist looked at my predicament and said, "end of the line!"  I started my watch again, hopped onto the jagged rocks to bypass the fence, and called over my shoulder, "Mal schauen, wie weit ich noch kommen kann!"

The path was rather treacherous at points, sometimes disappearing altogether in the rocks and boulders lining the shore.  There was mud, there were puddles, there were feeble attempts at restoration, there were tunnels, and there was an awful lot of loose and uneven footing.  There were points when I wasn't so much running as I was leaping from boulder to boulder.  But the trail tested my agility and kept me alert in ways I rarely experience as a runner - just enough to keep me engaged but not so bad I was hating it.  It really was a perfect run.  I was kind of sad when the trail ended and I found myself on stately Bellevue Avenue headed back towards town.

8 miles total this morning.  The weather was perfect, the majority of the run was challenging and rewarding, the views were grand, and it was all followed immediately by an elaborate breakfast.  Like I said, one of the best runs of my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...