Sunday, May 02, 2010

Trail Trippin'

I was able to visit a few different trails to run upon this weekend.

Saturday I met Alicia in Little Falls at the Charles Lindbergh State Park. We both looked at the map available online and thought the park offered 10 or so miles to run. We thought these trails hooked up with another park, offering another 10 or so additional miles to run. Not so.

The park was quiet, not many people around. There was a campground, bathrooms, canoe rental, Pikes Creek and the Mississippi River. Plenty of woods, some prairie and a bit of history as the landing site for the Lindbergh plane and the Lindbergh home are in the park.

Only one problem..there were only a few miles of trail! We ran the available trails twice and just didn't want to do them again. We asked at the visitor center where the trail hook up was and learned that there wasn't one. The closest park was Kathio, about 35 more miles. We didn't really feel like driving that much further.

Alicia mentioned she remembered passing the Crane Wildlife Refuge before entering Little Falls. I recalled the same. Alicia followed me to the Refuge and we came across a nice trail, only 5 miles though, that was a limestone gravel type surface. The trail meandered through oak and prairie, along the Platte River. We ran the trail twice, caught up on more conversation and called it a run.

It was great fun getting together with Alicia again. It's been way to long. We had lots of catching up to do!

I headed home and took Topaz out to the Blue Hill Trail for 5 more miles so that I could get in a total of 20. I kept him on leash..and guess who I saw laying in the grass with his movie camera? Yes, the Fish and Game Officer. I offered a forced hello and ran off.

Later on in the day I dug out the book my friend, Kate Havelin has published. Minnesota Running Trails. I looked up Charles Lindbergh State Park and she states " The map makes it look like there are lots of trails, but if you check the scale, you'll see it's in feet, not miles" I guess I should have looked at her review before heading out to Charles Lindbergh!

As I was paging through Kate's book I was reminded that Elm Creek Regional Park has 30 miles of dirt trails. I used to run the asphalt trails in the park when I first began to run. I remember the 10K Autumn Woods Classic was held here..a real fun race I did a few times.

I decided that since Topaz has taken to a leash so well (after the first debacle) that I would take him out to Maple Grove to check out the dirt trails this morning.

We had a great time. The park is so beautiful. Over 5000 acres, miles of trails, woods, grasslands, a beach, a 30 acre fenced in dog park, bathrooms, water, anything you might need. The map I downloaded was easy to follow.

We ran around Mud Lake, to Goose Lake, along Rush Creek. There are plenty of rolling hills and the views are just beautiful. There weren't very many people out this morning. A few runners on the asphalt trail-I think a Grandma's Marathon training group, some bicyclists and a few people riding horseback. I didn't see anyone running the dirt trails. With plenty of water for Topaz to soak in, I was able to get another 20 miler in.

New weekend I'll run a 25, the following weekend I'll run 50M at the Superior 50K races and a few hill workouts, I should be ready for Big Horn 100.

Maybe I'll go back to Elm Creek next week to run the tubing hills! I'll have to call in advance to see if I can do so.

We are going to the Twins game on Saturday. Free baseball caps to the first 20000. I wonder how early we would have to arrive to get the caps and I bet the boys wouldn't think it was worth getting up early.


Amy L. said...

You were in my stomping grounds on Saturday. I'm from LF. I didn't do any trail running while I lived there though.
Good luck with the big races. We'll see you at the Minneapolis Marathon!

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie. This is Matt from Duluth. I, too, am interested in doing a longer run on Saturday, May 15. Your idea of a 50-miler at Lutsen sounds interesting. Would you be interested in possibly having someone join you? Have a great day.

Helen said...

Julie! YAY - Bighorn 100! Wow - I haven't had a chance to catch up on blg reading for a few weeks and I totally missed your return :)

See you up at Superior.

TMH said...

Have you gone back to a vegan diet?

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