It was another one of those typical NE Ohio mid-winter mornings: nasty roads, lots of snow overnight, and me...white-knuckle driving for 1/2 hour out to the park for a trail run. I took Marjie's 4 wheel drive to maybe have a less stressful drive to the park but it didn't matter. The roads were treacherous and an 18-wheeler had already made it's way completely into the interstate median. (he was still there 4 hours later when I was driving home) Once at the park, I sat and waited for the park worker to plow the driveway before I parked then I did what most call crazy....hit the trail with 4-6" of fresh snow, in the dark, and at about 15 degrees. Lucky, fortunate, thankful...take your pick...it was one of "those" types of mornings...the perfect kind. I was meeting my brother at 7am so I thought I'd do the Boston Run loop early and once in the woods, it was surreal. Pure. Perfect. Tracks zig-zagged back and forth across the trail from deer and the one and only owl I've ever seen in the National Park...was calling out. It was on this trail in the same location where I saw him about a year ago. I also decided to give shooting some video a try just to see how it would come out. It turned out OK but I'll let you be the judge.
Just before the end of Boston Run, I stopped and took 2 pictures. The one here on the left is without a flash. A few seconds later I took the exact same photo but with a flash. Look at everything the flash reflected off of that was in the air but couldn't be seen with the naked eye...isn't this cool?!?! Once back to the parking lot, it wasn't quite 7 so I headed over to Happy Days Lodge to burn up some time and saw 2 coyotes running through the woods. I couldn't move quick enough to snap a pic, though. That was the first time I'd ever seen them out there and they were big and had the fattest, bushiest tails. On the way back and while stepping back into the Lodge parking lot, my toe snagged a parking lot stop and BAM! Faceplant and right knee drilled into the icy asphalt. The camera took a hit, too, but like always, it just keeps on working...such a brute! That fall hurt. But, the run had to go on! We took the typical route around the Ledges, took in an "ooooohhhhhh, ahhhhhhhh" moment at the Overlook (below) and headed on over to Kendall Lake. It turns out some type of construction is going on at the Lake Trail. When entering the park area, the Lake Trail is closed to the right (west) so we took the Lake Trail clockwise around the lake with the intended goal of Salt Run Trail. Today was my brother's first trail run so I thought a good "mixer" of trails would be perfect and Salt Run is always a great place for some initiation! Just before the Salt Run entrance, we get to the barricade saying that the trail is closed. Well, just like always, I proceed around the barricade and continue. Not even 10 steps past and I hear "HEY!!!! The trail is closed!!!!" The park ranger must have been watching us circle the lake and just waiting to see if we'd ignore his signage. I yelled back "We're not on the Lake Trail!!!!" I wasn't lying because before I shouted it, we were already off piste and pushing through the woods towards Salt Run...probably another violation! We ran Salt Run but soon realized that we weren't going to make it back in time. Plus, I didn't know where we'd go once we got back to Kendall Lake because the trail exit was blocked and we didn't have time to retrace our steps back around the lake. We ended up exiting Salt Run at the marked exit to Akron-Peninsula Road, headed north to Truxell, and took it all the way back to the Kendall Lake entrance and headed back over the Pine Grove Trail. We did that then wrapped up our run by finishing the Ledges, but not before another coyote went running through the woods.
All-in-all, a great, GREAT day on the trails. My brother had a good time and discovered muscles he didn't know existed (sound familiar, anyone???). He's running his first trail event at the Fools 25K so it's good that he still decided to show up today. Here's the rest of the pics from today.
I couldn't believe how much snow fell overnight out there. Luckily, it's supposed to be in the mid-40s next week with rain so GOODBYE snow! I will miss these gorgeous runs but I will NOT miss everything else that comes with the nasty, frigid, NE Ohio winters. Give me green foliage everyday and I will not complain! Tonight, I type this from the Kalahari Indoor Water Park in Sandusky, OH....just down the street from Cedar Point. It is the largest indoor water park in the United States. Mix the chlorine along with hundreds of energy-charged kids all day plus the 4am wakeup call this morning and I'm one tired 'ol sap! I had planned to take a short jaunt tomorrow morning but that fall on the ice along with a tough run in the snow has me feeling like a rest-n-repair day is in order. Sunday morning will be just fine!
I hope to see many of you on the trails, soon! Spring will be here soon! Oh yea, not that I'm counting, but it's 105 days until the Kettle Moraine 100!
Happy, snowy trails, everyone!