So, I had to do a long run and wanted to explore the French Creek East map to see what state the vegetation was in. I'm ecstatic; it was beautiful out there. The area of the 2012 fire, outlined in pink thanks to Ed Scott's fieldwork, is mostly unusable (80-90% of the area). Some parts are crossable, not fun, but crossable. Based on this long run, I'd say 80-90% of FCE outside of the burn is beautiful forest, as nice as French Creek North if not better. The problem is the invasive wineberry that has taken hold in the burn area.
#2 was the wake-up call to how difficult that north slope would be. I crossed the trail and power line, entered the forest, and quickly entered into what my friend Luis calls the "fourth-dimension of orienteering." I was on a rocky, snow-covered hillside with no reliable features for relocation. This is where French Creek is technical, not in extremely detailed areas with micro-contours, but on sweeping hillsides which appear to be almost exactly the same everywhere. #2 reminded me how much respect I would need for # 8, 9, 10, 11.
I wasn't able to run fast today, too much snow. But with what I saw of the forest, it's calling for a long, hard effort in warmer months.
Kswede offered to come out with me. That helped a lot actually. It's tough to get out for a run like this by yourself at 16F/-9C.