… I am not a trail runner.
Now, having said that, I did find myself at a resort in Michigan this past weekend, and there were trails.
As we had decided to drive all 850 miles to get there (and then the same back – yes, with 2 young kids), when we arrived it had been a couple of days since my last run (I hadn’t even run on National Running Day), the first thing I did upon arrival was put on my running clothes. I was planning on a longer run this next morning, so stuck to the trail which encircled the whole resort.
Despite some sandy portions which slowed me down a little, the path was very pleasant.
However as you came around the back of the “mountain” (I put it in quotes because it’s more of a hill really, but the resort is called “Crystal Mountain” and it has skiing in the winter so I guess that counts for something), the trail changed dramatically and became much more technical and hilly (but still not as technical as the trail that made me realize I’m not a trail runner.
(There were harder parts than this, but these are the only photos I took for some reason).
On to the next day. I got up early and planned to do at least 14 miles. The resort trail had a link through to the Betsie River Pathway so the plan was to run through that. Somehow before leaving I had tried to research the pathway, and had come to an incorrect conclusion about it being more of a converted rail path type trail, but I have no idea where I could have seen that so plan had been to run out for a few miles, turn and head back. I initially got confused as the cut through sent me through to this:
but it also looked like I should be heading straight into the woods. I took the “road” anyway, and it eventually branched to the left (the direction I thought I ought to be going) so I followed it round to here:
When I got further down this path I spotted a “Pathway” sign leading off into the woods, so I followed it in.
Eventually I came to what looked like a trailhead with a map and a “1” marker, and arrows pointing to various other numbered points on the trail. I had come from the direction marked “5” and so I headed through what looked like was intended as the “main entrance” to the trail. It was very pleasant and took in a variety of scenery, including this:
Now, somewhere along the line I ended up at a marker that pointed back to “5”. I was getting thinking I might start heading back, so I followed it. However, when I got to the “5” marker post I had no idea where I was in relation to the resort. I did get my phone out and looked at Google maps to see, and I was close, but I could not find a path that would get me back. I believe I was almost 9 miles into my run by now so I wasn’t too worried about heading directly back to the resort anyway, but equally I knew I didn’t want to go all the way back retracing my whole route as that would have been too far. I ran on, and finally found my way back to marker “1” and I knew I could retrace my steps from there.
When I got back to the point where I had been on the roadway near the start, I started to think that I had probably been through there a few times during the run. I ended up with 14 miles which was perfect, but I still had no idea where I had really run. I didn’t have a way to upload the activity from my Garmin until I got home, and then it started to make some sense. However, without those marker points I would have been totally lost.